Political Science and International Relations research student profiles

Current research students within the Political Science and International Relations Research Programme are listed below in alphabetical order. The title of their dissertation and supervisor[s] is included.

International Relations PhD students

David Belgrave

Thesis Title: 'New Zealand’s Strategic Understanding of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China during the Cold War'. Supervisors: Rob Ayson and David Capie

David Belgrave is a graduate of the University of Auckland (BA Hons), Massey University Albany (MPhil) and the Australian National University (MSA).

David has six years’ experience working as a history researcher at Massey University Albany. He has co-authored and project managed several multi-disciplinary reports. His work included areas such as cross-cultural research; land alienation; public works takings; resource, environmental and historic place management; environmental law; oral history; the Treaty of Waitangi; and the Maori Land Court.

David has broad research interests, but is primarily interested in high-intensity conflict and the Cold War. He also has specific interests in nuclear strategy, intelligence collection and analysis, surveillance, and the politics of the environment.

Jake Lin

Thesis Title: Beyond Inequality: Labor Conditions and Capital Ownership in Urban China. Supervisors: Xiaoming Huang and Jason Young.

I started my PhD research project after I completed my Master of International Relations at Victoria.

My research interest includes: labor politics, inequality and contemporary capitalism, comparative politics in Pacific Asia.

Caroline McDonald

Thesis Title: Self-government in free association: Cook Islands, Niue and New Zealand perspectives. Supervisors: Jon Fraenkel and Tony Angelo.

Caroline is interested in whether the free-association of the Cook Islands with New Zealand, and of Niue with New Zealand, which emerged in a decolonisation context, meet today's relationship needs, and whether the limits to the flexibility of free association have been reached.

Caroline has come to Victoria Univeristy from a career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Political Science PhD students

Mohamad Zaki Al Anshori

Thesis Topic: 'The Rise of Islam and Indonesian Contemporary Foreign Policy'. Supervisors: Rob Ayson and David Capie.

Vernon Bennett

Thesis Title: 'Defence Planning in Small States'. Supervisors: David Capie and Rob Ayson.

Christine Bogle

Thesis Title: 'Transitions to democracy in four Asia-Pacific Monarchies at the turn of the twenty-first century'. Supervisors: Jon Fraenkel and Jack Vowles.

Christine is exploring the transition process and consolidation outlook of four monarchies (Tonga, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal) that have been engaged in democratisation processes in the second half of the twentieth century and into the current century.

Christine is a former diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has served in a number of overseas countries.

Jean-Christopher (JC) Somers

Thesis Title: 'Discourses of Male Yough and Deviance in New Zealand: 1950-1965 and 1990-2005'. Supervisors: Pat Moloney and Alison Kirkman (Sociology)

Micheal Warren

Thesis Title: Politics and sport don’t mix – or do they? National Identity and New Zealand’s participation in the Olympic Games. Supervisors: Jon Johansson and Stephen Levine
Micheal is exploring how New Zealand’s Olympic experience has contributed to New Zealand’s National Identity.  Micheal recently completed his Masters in Political Science focussing on presidential leadership and comparing President Barack Obama to President Ronald Reagan.

International Relations Master of Arts students

Political Science Master of Arts students

Brian Anderton

Thesis Title: 'The Indigenisation of the Honours system: Moving from Imperial to Localised Honours'. Supervisor: Stephen Levine

This thesis shall look at the process of indigenisation of the honours system in the Commonwealth Realms, with particular focus on New Zealand. This will provide an overview of the honours system in these realms, allowing me to compare and contrast their respective strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, I hope to create a better understanding of the structure and efficacy of the New Zealand Royal Honours.

Recently submitted International Relations PhD students

Nick Henry

Thesis Title: 'Global Civil Society and International Engagement of Non-state Organisations from Burma and the Philippines'. Supervisors: Robert Deuchars and David Capie

Thi Binh Khong

Thesis Title: 'Vietnam in International Institutions'. Supervisors: David Capie and Ben Thirkell-White

Recently submitted Political Science PhD students

Sosefo Havea

Thesis Title: 'An Examination of the Fisheries Treaty between Pacific States and the USA'. Supervisor: David Capie

Xavier Forde

Thesis Title: 'Agnostic Insights and Contemporary Democratic Theory'. Supervisors: Robert Deuchars and Elizabeth McLeay

Andrew Ivory

Thesis Title: 'Ethical under anarchy: New Zealand's Official Development Assistance Programme'. Supervisors: Xavier Marquez and Ramon Das (Philosophy)

Recently submitted International Relations MA students

Justin Fris

Thesis Title: 'New Zealand's Defence Diplomacy in Asia'. Supervisor: David Capie

Pip Bennett

Thesis Title: 'Evaluating the Success of Gender Mainstreaming in New Zealand Official Development Assistance since 2000'. Supervisors:Megan MacKenzie and Ben Thirkell-White

Matthew Castle

Thesis Title: 'Forging Australasian regionalism? Between 'Ever Closer Union' and 'The ASEAN Way'. The Dynamics of interregionalism in the Asia-Pacific'. Supervisors: John Leslie and David Capie

Mark Chadwick

Thesis Title: 'Post-conflict reconstruction in Bosnia'. Supervisor: Megan MacKenzie

James Douglas

Thesis Title: 'Chinese naval modernization and strategy change following the 2009 Impecable incident'. Supervisor: Marc Lanteigne

Yang Gao

Thesis Title: 'China and the Politics of Energy Security'. Supervisor: Xiaoming Huang

Belinda Gardner

Thesis Title: 'The Arms Trade Treaty as an Emerging Global Norm'. Supervisor: David Capie

Bradley Gibbons

Thesis Title: 'Small Arms abd Armed Violence in Papua New Guinea: Developing a Demand-reduction Agenda'. Supervisor: David Capie

I completed my BA in political science and media and communication along with my BA (Hons) in diplomacy and international relations at the University of Canterbury. I have joined Victoria University to undertake my MA in international relations to take advantage of the resources available in my field of research.

Kristina Grabovska

Thesis Title: 'Labour migration in the Gulf Cooperation Council States: Comparative Analysis of the Labour Nationalization Policies'. Supervisor: Kate McMillan

Richard Jones

Thesis Title: 'Loose credit and low wages: a re-examination of US postwar economic history in light of the recent recession'. Supervisor: Ben Thirkell-White

Simon Le Quesne

Thesis Title: 'Mixing Business with Politics? The Role and Influence of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum'. Supervisor: David Capie

Simon now works at the Australian High Commission.

Lucy Mitchell

Thesis Title: 'The Pride Project: Assessing the regional approach to basic education delivery'. Supervisor: Ben Thirkell-White

Dylan Page

Thesis Title: 'Women in the Bougainville peace process'. Supervisors: Kate McMillan and Megan MacKenzie

Gavin Romayne

Thesis Title: 'The Extent of Compliance with the NZ-China Free Trade Agreement by Local Authorities in China'. Supervisors: Xiaoming Huang and Ben Thirkell-White

Lucy Tyndall

Thesis Title: 'Energy Security in New Zealand Politics: Risk Perceptions and Political Agendas'. Supervisor: David Capie

Lucy is now working for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (formerly Ministry of Economic Development) in the Resources Group. Her work invovles the hot topics petroleum and minerals exploration in NZ, such as gas fracking and off-shore drilling, and some climate change on the side through the Emission Trading Scheme. "Opportune because it is everything I studied in my masters at Vic."

Hannah Van Voorthuysen

Thesis Title: '"Just a Damned Nuisance?" New Zealand-Israel Relations 1948-2010'. Supervisor: David Capie

James Whibley

Thesis Title:'An Alternate Model of Bureaucratic Politics'. Supervisors: Marc Lanteigne and Xiaoming Huang

Li Zhang

Thesis Title: 'Cross-strait Economic Interdependence and the Prospects for Peace between Mainland China and Taiwan'. Supervisors: Xiaoming Huang and Marc Lanteigne

Recently submitted Political Science MA students

Ellie Argyle

Thesis Title: 'Politicians Gone Wild: A Comparative Analysis of Political Scandals in New Zealand, The United States and France. Supervisors: Stephen Levine

James Baigent

Thesis Title: 'Political Leadership After the British - A Study of Jomo Kenyatta, Robert Mugabe and Julius Nyerere'. Supervisor: Jon Johansson

James is a keen surfer from Porirua who completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Victoria in 2009. In 2010, James did Honours in Political Science, in which he included an International Relations course in international migration and as well as a course in Chinese history.

Steven Barnes

Thesis Title: 'Breathing Through their Noses? Candidate Experiences and Role Adaptation amongst First-Term MPs in the New Zealand Parliament'. Supervisors: Jon Johansson and Stephen Levine

Simon Beuse

Thesis Title: 'New Zealand's Green Party and Foreign Troop Deployments: Views, Values and Impacts'. Supervisors: John Leslie and David Capie

Andrew Bishop

Thesis Title: 'The Politics of Labour Migration and Demographic Change in Contemporary Japan'. Supervisors: Xiaoming Huang and Fiona Barker

Jessica Booker

Thesis Title: 'Life After Politics: The Post-leadership Activities in New Zealand Premiers and Prime Ministers, 1856-2008'. Supervisor: Jon Johansson

Jordan Carter

Thesis Title: 'The Rise of the State: Broadband Policy in New Zealand, 2000-2011'. Supervisor: John Leslie

Harry Chapman

Harry Chapman web

Thesis Title: Worthy deliberation or tiresome bluster? Exploring the social acceptability of politics on social media. Supervisor: Hilde Coffé

I recently completed an MA in politics, after a BA with honours here as well. In my time at Victoria I've had the opportunity to study politics, international relations, and history, as well as a bit of psychology, statistics, economics and public policy.

My master's thesis focussed on the social acceptability of discussing politics on social media. I was interested to explore how young people navigate the minefield of politics on social media without making fools of themselves, and how they react when other people do step on mines.

Writing a master's thesis is a fantastic opportunity to explore in depth something you're really interested in, and although it was difficult at times, it was an immensely rewarding and educational experience. It's exciting to think you're contributing in a small way to a global community of people interested in the same things you are.

Seon Ah Choi

Thesis Title: 'The Politics of Presence: The selection and election of Asian MPs in NZ under MMP'. Supervisor: Stephen Levine

William (Bill) de la Mare

Thesis Title: 'An analysis of the issues confronting the developing Sino-New Zealand relationship from a Wellington perspective: balancing economic opportunity against popular opinion'. Supervisor: Marc Lanteigne

Hugh Eldred-Grigg

Thesis Title: 'Let them eat cake: gender, nationalism and tyranny in revolutionary France and Russia'. Supervisor: Jon Johansson

Regan Gibbons

Thesis Title: 'Valuing Education: The role of Soft Power in Chinese Engagement in the South Pacific'. Supervisor: Marc Lanteigne

Biography: I completed my BA at Victoria University of Wellington in Political Science and International Relations, before spending a year at Canterbury University completing a BA (Hons) in Political Science. I returned to Victoria to undertake an MA because of the resources and facilities available in Wellington and at Victoria University in my field of research

Inna Goff

Thesis Title: 'Islam and the Challenges of Integration'. Supervisor: Kate McMillan

Toni Grace

Thesis Title: 'Coordination of Immigration and Citizenship Policies in Regional Travel Arrangements'. Supervisor: Kate McMillan

Corrin Higgs

Thesis Title: 'The Political Economy of New Zealand's Consumer Price Index'. Supervisor: John Leslie

Morgan Horwood

Thesis Title: 'Justice and Health Care'. Supervisor: Xavier Marquez

Jamie Kendrick

Thesis Title: 'Foucault and Internation Relations: A New Conceptualisation of Biopower'. Supervisor: Xavier Marquez

Sun A Ku

Thesis Title: Multiculturalism vs Patriarchy in South Korea'. Supervisors: Robbie Shilliam (Queen Mary University of London) and Stephen Epstein (Asian Studies Institute)

Aaron Kunaraja

Thesis Title: 'Democratisation in Authoritarian States? Political change and regime stability in Malaysia and Singapore'. Supervisors: Ben Thirkell-White and Xavier Marquez

Stacey Kwant

Thesis Title: 'Temporary Migration as a Development Tool? The Potential of Pacific Seasonal Workers to meet New Zealand and Australia's development goals for the Pacific Islands?'. Supervisor: Kate McMillan

Stacey currently works as a Pacific analyst at the National Assessments Bureau, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and is also doing a post-graduate Development Studies course part-time through Massey University.

Ben McLachlan

Thesis Title: 'In Search of a New Zealand Populism: Heresthetics, Character, and Populist Political Leadership'. Supervisor: Jon Johansson

Ben completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations in 2009, before completing a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in 2010. Ben began his Master of Arts in 2011, with a focus on populism and leadership in the New Zealand context.

Miran Milosevic

Thesis Title: 'The ideology of Integration: An examination of the New Zealand and Ireland case studies'. Supervisor: Kate McMillan

Erina Okeroa

Thesis Title: 'Shifting landscapes of self-determination - the Black women's movement, Aotearoa, 1978 - 1984'. Supervisors: Robbie Shilliam (Queen Mary University of London) and Maria Bargh (Te Kawa a Maui)

Nicholas Ruane

Thesis Title: 'Collaboration in the Process of Legislative Lobbying: A Study of a Disable Peoples Organisation Lobbying for Change in New Zealand, 1989-1993'. Supervisor: John Leslie and David Capie

Alex Thomas

Thesis Title: 'Opening and Balancing the Books: The New Zealand Parliament and the Control and Scrutiny of Government Expenditure'. Supervisor: Emeritus Professor Margaret Clark.

Michael Warren

Thesis Title: 'The Great Communicators and political reconstruction: A comparative study between President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama'. Supervisor: Jon Johansson

Jo-Anne Young

Thesis Title: 'From CentCom to Crisis Comm: The 2nd Iraq War as a Public Relations Crisis (USA and UK)'. Supervisors: Kate McMillan and David Capie