Student profiles

Meet our current and former postgraduate students, and find out about their research topics.

Gerrard Carter

PhD Candidate, New Zealand Studies

Gerrard Carter, PhD Candidate, New Zealand studies

Gerrard is a graduate of the University of Auckland (MA) and Victoria University (MLIS). Since 2006 he has worked for the Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Between 1853 and 1876 New Zealand experimented with a federal system of government under which most public services were provided by provincial councils. The Constitution Act 1852 provided councils with limited legislative powers, and each council was governed by an elected executive council and supported by a public service. Using the example of the Wellington Provincial Council, Gerrard's research will examine the council's executive decision-making processes and the development of provincial administrative systems and structures.

Ethan McKenzie

MA Candidate, New Zealand Studies

Ethan was born on the Kapiti Coast and brought up in Auckland. He completed his History Honours degree at the University of Sydney in 2016, where his thesis was awarded the Charles Brunsdon Fletcher Prize for Pacific History. Ethan’s research interests centre on the politics of activism and culture, particularly in postcolonial nation states. His Honours thesis was a history of biculturalism in New Zealand, focusing on biculturalism’s impact on the public service under the Fourth Labour Government (1984-1990). His Master’s thesis with the Stout Research Centre will continue this project, particularly exploring the role of activists-turned-bicultural consultants during this period and into the 1990s.

Charlotte Thompson Darling

MA Candidate, New Zealand Studies

Charlotte Thompson Darling is a linguist and print historian. She completed her BAHons in Linguistics and her PGDip in Museum and Heritage Studies here at Victoria University. She has an ongoing interest in orthographic systems, sociohistorical linguistics and documentary heritage. Her thesis explores how dictionaries in Aotearoa have functioned as important aspects of our textual landscape, and as multifaceted networked objects that were used to navigate a complex language contact situation. Linguistic texts such as grammars and dictionaries are not only rich sources of linguistic information but of social and cultural information too. In particular, this thesis will focus on William Colenso (1811 – 1899) as a central character who helped to define our textual landscape through his printing of dictionaries, and his own (unsuccessful) attempt at lexicography.

Former students

Therese Crocker

PhD New Zealand Studies

Therese Crocker, PhD, New Zealand studies

Therese Crocker has long had an interest in New Zealand history, sparked by her upbringing in Patea in South Taranaki. She attended Massey University in the early 1990s, gaining a BA(Hons) in History. After graduating from Massey University, Therese moved to Wellington to work as an Historian for the Office of Treaty Settlements. Therese continued to work for the Office of Treaty Settlements for 5 years.  After moving to Palmerston North 13 years ago Therese has continued to work as an independent Research Historian. Much of this work has been in the field of Treaty Settlements, as a contractor to CFRT, Crown Law Office and the Office of Treaty Settlements. Therese has also been involved in other research work over this time. One of the highlights was being the Historian working with Paul Dibble and Athfield Architects on the New Zealand Memorial, opened in Hyde Park Corner, London in 2006.  Therese has recently been awarded her PhD.  Her thesis is titled: Settling Treaty Claims: The Formation of Policy on Treaty of Waitangi Claims in the Pioneering Years, 1988-1998.

Nicola Braid

MA in History

Nicola completed a degree in History and Political Science at Victoria University, including six months at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. In 2013 she gained her Honours degree in History Victoria University. Her dissertation was in American political History, focussing on right-wing columnist and Blacklist-clearer George Sokolsky. As a result of her varied interests, Nicola is currently completing her Masters research in the construction of masculinity in New Zealand after the 1950s. Her work uses oral history life narratives from members of the Petone Workingmen's Club and looks at engaging, challenging and refocusing existing scholarship surrounding working-class masculinity in New Zealand. As well as a considerable engagement with New Zealand historiography and theories of masculinity, Nicola's project uses oral history theory surrounding intersubjectivity and memory with the overall hope of injecting lived experience into the persisting stereotypes surrounding New Zealand men.

Stephanie Warren

MA in New Zealand Studies

The overall aim of Stephanie’s Master’s thesis is to analyse how the perception of the Treaty of Waitangi has changed over time, leading to an analysis of how it may be understood and used once historic breaches of the Treaty have been settled by the Waitangi Tribunal and Office of Treaty Settlements after 2020. Stephanie will consider whether the Maori-Pakeha relationship has a greater resemblance to, or has evolved further away from, the original intent of the Treaty which was to set up a future facing relationship agreement. She will ultimately aim to make conclusions about whether a Maori-Pakeha duality based on the Treaty is considered relevant to the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Frith Driver-Burgess

MA in History

I te timatanga ko te kupu.

Frith grew up in the faded mining town of Thames, surrounded by the Hauraki gulf, hills honey-combed by mine shafts, and thousands of books in both English and Māori. She went on her first Treaty protest march aged six with her kura kaupapa classroom, a first encounter with New Zealand's past as a contested and ubiquitous part of the present, and from which an interest in New Zealand history and the written word was a natural progression. This led to a degree in History and English Literature (with Honours) at Victoria University in 2012. After some time working in public libraries and doing primary research into missionary writings and Te Reo newspapers, Frith is returning to the subject of Māori Print History with her MA.

Her Masters research is a primary sources investigation into Māori reading in the 19th Century, examining the representation of imported texts (in poetry, theatrical, educational, religious and epistolatory forms, among others) in Te Reo translation, and Māori readers' reactions to these texts. The research is particularly interested in cultural borrowing between texts, and their points of familiarity or difference to readers of Te Reo. It also examines readers' reaction to oral and written texts, and how foreign texts were read, transferred, adapted, and adopted by Māori readers to their New Zealand context.

Steven Loveridge

Steven Loveridge, PhD, History

PhD History

Steven grew up in Tauranga before moving to Hamilton to study history and philosophy at the University of Waikato. In 2008 he was awarded First Class Honours for an MA in history. That research examined the social context and dominant ideologies behind reactions to conscientious objectors in New Zealand during the First World War. In 2009 he moved to Wellington to study at Victoria. Steven's doctoral research examined intersections of mobilisation and public culture in New Zealand during the Great War. The project aims to place New Zealand's war effort within its social, cultural and intellectual contexts and to capture the dynamic of how mobilisation and public culture negotiated with one another in public space. Specifically this research seeks to locate how the shape of the New Zealand homefront relates to the pre-war social/cultural landscape and to examine the manner by which the mobilisation of ideologies operated.

Sam Ritchie

PhD History

Sam Ritchie grew up in Raglan and attended high school in Hamilton before moving to Dunedin where he completed a BA(Hons) in history at the University of Otago in 2007. In 2009 he completed a MA (Distinction) in History at Victoria University of Wellington, for which he was awarded the 2009 F P Wilson Prize.

In 2009 Sam was awarded a Victoria Postgraduate Scholarship for PhD Study. His research explores intra-Māori violence in Aotearoa/New Zealand and intra-Aboriginal violence in southeast Australia during the nineteenth century. In particular, the project seeks to trace the shift from European attempts to prevent intra-indigenous violence in the Tasman world during the first half of the nineteenth century, to European attempts to control and take advantage of intra-indigenous violence in the second half of the nineteenth century – particularly kūpapa Māori in the New Zealand Wars and the Native Police in southeast Australia.

Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher, PhD, History

PhD History

Martin Fisher was born in Budapest, Hungary, and has lived in Italy, Canada, the United States and New Zealand. In 2007 Martin completed his MA in History at McGill University in Montreal, before moving back to Wellington to begin his PhD in History at Victoria. In 2008 he was awarded a Victoria University Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Scholarship.

Martin's doctoral research addressed the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process from an international perspective. While there is a great deal of output on Waitangi Tribunal processes and reports, the reality is that Treaty-based settlements emerge not from the Tribunal but from negotiations between politicians and tribal groupings - with both parties heavily dependent on professional negotiators and historical, legal and policy advisers. Martin has analysed how the politics of history has played out as a social process in the present.

The Treaty of Waitangi settlements have attained international prominence and this project thus has important implications for traditional Anglo settler societies that are still also grappling with the difficulties of their turbulent past such as Australia, Canada and the United States. A strong focus of his project centred on a comparative analysis of both Treaty settlements and the process of reconciliation.