Neill Atkinson


Neill Atkinson is Chief Historian/Manager of Heritage Content at Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington, where he oversees the Ministry’s history websites, including Te Ara – Encyclopedia of NZ, Ngā Tangata Taumata Rau – Dictionary of NZ Biography, NZ History, 28th Māori Battalion and Te Tai Whakaea Treaty Settlement Stories, as well as commissioned print histories and other projects. He has written, co-written or edited nine books, including Train land on New Zealand’s railway history, Crew culture on seafarers, and Adventures in Democracy on the history of voting and elections. He helped organise the international Myriad Faces of War symposium in 2017 and co-edited the resulting publication, The Myriad Legacies of 1917: A Year of War and Revolution.

Professor James Belich

Keynote Speaker

Professor James Belich is the Beit Professor of Imperial and Commonwealth History in the University of Oxford’s Balliol College. Most of his early work was on the history of New Zealand in global context.  His books included a two-volume history of New Zealand, Making Peoples (1996) and Paradise Reforged (2001), as well as The New Zealand Wars (1986), which became a television documentary series.  More recently, he has turned to the comparative history of settler societies and their relations with indigenous peoples, an interest which produced Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-world. His current research interests are becoming increasingly diverse.  They continue to include settler societies, imperialism, and racial ideas, but now also extend to global history and the origins of European expansionism in the late medieval and early modern eras. James Belich’s latest book is The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe (Princeton University Press, 2022).

Nigel Borell

Expert Panellist and Chair

Nigel Borell (Pirirākau, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whakatōhea) is a curator, arts practitioner, arts educator and researcher. He has a strong international reputation for his curatorial work and has extensive experience of delivering exhibitions, both at venues across Aotearoa as well as in partnership with international institutions including the De Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and QAGOMA in Brisbane. From 2015 to 2022, he was Curator Maori at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, during which time he led the development of the critically acclaimed exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art in 2020. Nigel is currently Curator Māori at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, working on the development for a renewed Māori Court and New Zealand Wars Galleries. 

Professor Claire Breen

Expert Panellist

Professor Claire Breen’s research expertise lies in international law, particularly in the areas of human rights, children’s rights, laws of armed conflict and post-conflict peace-building.  Her publications include Economic and Social Rights and the Maintenance of International Peace and Security (Routledge,2017) and most recently, with Professor Alexander Gillespie, People, Power and Law: A New Zealand History(Bloomsbury,2022). She also contributed a number of book chapters to edited collections both domestic and international, as well as publishing  extensively in international, peer-reviewed journals.  She was awarded New Zealand Law Foundation grants to engage in research on New Zealand’s international legal obligations stemming from its contribution to peace support operations (2007),and research on the threat posed to New Zealand by the Islamic State (2015),with Alexander Gillespie. She has contributed to civil society submissions to United Nations human rights committees, and has appeared before parliamentary Select Committees in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Professor Giselle Byrnes


Professor Giselle Byrnes is an internationally recognised historian, with senior management experience in universities in Australia and in New Zealand, who joined Massey in January 2016. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and English and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Waikato and a PhD in History is from the University of Auckland. She has worked for the Waitangi Tribunal, taught at Victoria University of Wellington and held academic and management roles at the University of Waikato and Charles Darwin University.
Professor Byrnes has been Fulbright scholar teaching New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, and has served as President of the New Zealand Historical Association. She has a commitment to advancing the agenda around equity and access to higher education and is a strong advocate of the critical role played by modern universities in creating social, cultural and intellectual capital for public benefit and economic wellbeing.

John Crawford


John Crawford is the New Zealand Defence Force Historian and has written on many aspects of the history of the New Zealand Armed Forces and defence policy. Currently he is working on a book about New Zealand’s campaigns against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.  His recent publication include:  Phenomenal and Wicked: Attrition and Reinforcement in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli, co-authored with Matthew Buck (2020) and Tutu Te Puehu: New Perspectives on the New Zealand Wars, co-edited with Ian McGibbon (2018).  He is Chairman of the New Zealand Military History Committee.

Lieutenant Colonel M.J.A Dransfield, ONZM

Expert Panellist

Lieutenant Colonel Martin John Angus Dransfield, is a New Zealand Army infantry officer. His operational deployments include: Operations Officer, Northern Ireland 1985/6; Multi-National Force and Observers, Sinai 1993; New Zealand Battalion Commanding Officer, United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor (UNTAET) 2000; Commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the central province of Bamyan, Afghanistan2009/2010; Chief Military Liaison Officer, United Nations Mission in Timor(UNMIT) 2011/12. He returned from a post as the Strategic Advisor to the Defence Force in Timor-Leste in 2021, and was posted to his current role as the NZDF Director for the Treaty of Waitangi WAI 2500: Military Veterans Kaupapa Inquiry.  Lieutenant Colonel Martin Dransfield was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Geography by Lancaster University in 1980, and was awarded a Master of Arts with distinction in Strategic Studies by Massey University in 2000. He received the Insignia of an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen’s Birthday List in June 2001for his service in East Timor.  

Professor Alexander Gillespie

Keynote speaker

Professor Alexander Gillespie’s areas of scholarship pertain to international and comparative environmental law; the laws of war; civil liberties; and a number of pressing issues of social concern. Alexander has published nineteen books including most recently People, Power and Law: A New Zealand History (jointly written with Professor Claire Breen, which was published in 2022 by Bloomsbury/Hart in Oxford, UK); and Volume IV of his Causes of War (1650-1800) series. Alexander has been engaged in policy formation for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and governmental, commercial and non-governmental organisations in New Zealand, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland. He has also made a number of appearances before the Waitangi Tribunal and Select Committees of the New Zealand Parliament.

Dr Brett Graham

Expert Panellist

Dr Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) is a sculptor who creates large scale artworks and installations that explore indigenous histories, politics and philosophies. He conceives his Māori whakapapa (ancestry) as a Pasifika/Moana identity and affiliated with a global network of indigenous and non-Western peoples. It is from this basis that his work engages with histories of imperialism and global indigenous issues. Brett Graham's work was featured at the 2017 Honolulu Biennial and the 2010 Sydney Biennale. His collaboration with Rachael Rakena, Āniwaniwa was exhibited at the52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and their work UFOB was shown at the Sydney Biennale in 2006. He has a Doctor of Fine Arts (2003) from the University of Auckland.

Professor Joanna Kidman 


Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa) is Co-Director of He Whenua Taurikura: National Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Professor of Māori education at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. As a sociologist working in the field of indigenous studies, her research focuses on the politics of indigeneity and settler-colonial nationhood. With Dr Vincent O’Malley, she is currently leading a Marsden fund project about how different groups commemorate the New Zealand Wars and how memory and silence about these violent histories permeates people’s lives in the present. 

Dr Rowan Light

Expert Panellist

Dr Rowan Light is a Pākehā historian and lecturer at the University of Auckland Waipapa taumata Rau and project curator (New Zealand Wars) at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, where he is assisting the Human History team with the renewal of the New Zealand Wars gallery. His research focuses on histories of commemoration and remembrance, especially the role of individuals, groups, and institutions in shaping political and cultural uses of the past. His first book Anzac Nations, published with Otago University Press in 2022, interrogates national mythologies of Gallipoli in New Zealand and Australia. ​

Dr Arini Loader

Expert Panellist

Ko whea, ko whea te maunga e tū iho nei?  
Ko Tararua, ko Tararua!  

Arini is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a niece. She belongs to Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue and Te Whānau-a-Apanui and lives below Tararua mountain range on Waitohu plateau, close to the Waitohu, Mangapōuri and Ōtaki rivers. She is also a senior lecturer in Māori history in the school of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Arini’s research interests centre on Māori literature, reading, writing, media, performance; from karanga to poetry, waiata to the novel. She is the producer|writer|director of E Whiti E Te Raa: Shine, a short film inspired by a collection of waiata, whakataukī and karakia written down by tūpuna taken prisoner at the Battle of Rangiriri in 1863.  Dr Arini Loader is a senior lecturer in Māori History in the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka.

Dr Liana MacDonald

Expert Panellist

Liana MacDonald (Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Koata) was a secondary school English and Social Studies teacher for 11 years and is currently a history curriculum lecturer in teacher education at the Faculty of Education, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Liana an interdisciplinary researcher whose recent projects applied innovative ethnographic fieldwork techniques to document how history is represented in landscapes connected with the New Zealand Wars, how the stories are transmitted over generations and what further steps are required to ensure greater and more accurate engagement with these histories. She has published several papers that advance a Land Education approach to secondary school history education. 

Dr Vincent O'Malley

Expert Panellist

Dr Vincent O’Malley is a professional historian and founding partner of the Wellington research consultancy HistoryWorks. He has published widely on New Zealand history, including the critically-acclaimed and best-selling works The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 (2016) and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa (2019), along with Voices from the New Zealand Wars/He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa (2021), an Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist in 2022.  With Professor Joanna Kidman, he is co-Principal Investigator on the Marsden Fund project ‘He Taonga te Wareware? Remembering and Forgetting Difficult Histories in Aotearoa/New Zealand’, a three-year study into how the nineteenth century New Zealand Wars have helped shape memory, identity and history. Along with Professor Kidman and other project members, in 2022 he co-authored Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand History.

Dr Adam Norrie

Expert Panellist

Dr Adam Norrie is the managing principal, strategic policy, within the Policy Branch of Manatū Kaupapa Waonga/ New Zealand Ministry of Defence.  The strategic policy team works on arrange of strategic Defence policy issues, with a particular focus on Defence strategy, and leads much of the Ministry’s involvement with the wider national security sector.  Before joining the Ministry of Defence, Adam held arrange of analytical, policy and coordination roles across New Zealand’s broader national security sector.  Adam holds a PhD in physics from the University of Otago.

Dr Ruth Nuttal

Keynote Speaker

Dr Ruth Nuttall is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra. She grew up in the Waikato, and graduated from Auckland University in 1980 with her MA sociology dissertation “Land for the Forests, a Shadow for the People: a study of the exotic afforestation of Māori land.” From 1980 to 2012, she worked in the New Zealand diplomatic service in Wellington and overseas, in Jakarta, The Hague, Canberra, and Beijing. She served as New Zealand’s first Ambassador to Timor-Leste (2005-2008), in which capacity she oversaw the New Zealand military and police contributions to the International Stabilisation Force and UN missions. Since 2013 she has been affiliated with the Australian National University, graduating in 2017 with her PhD dissertation “The Origins and Onset of the 2006 Crisis in Timor-Leste.” Her publications include: Political Continuity and Conflict in East Timor: a History of the 2006 Crisis (London: Routledge 2021); “Hostages to History: The Use of Portuguese Prisoners of War in the Annexation of East Timor,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 66 (3), 2020: 483–502; and “The Impact of Exotic Forestry on Māori Land in Northland,” New Zealand Journal of Forestry 26(1),1981: 112–18. Her academic work seeks to give emphasis to Timorese perspectives, and she is currently working on a history of East Timor from the Portuguese colonial pacification campaigns in the late nineteenth century until the end of the Second World War.

Professor Robert Patman

Expert Panellist and Chair

Professor Robert Patman is one of the University of Otago’s Inaugural Sesquicentennial Distinguished Chairs and a specialist in international relations. He has previously served as an editor for the journal International Studies Perspectives (2010-14) and as Head of Department of Politics (2013-16) at the University of Otago. His research interests include global security, US foreign policy, great powers, and the Horn of Africa. He has authored or edited 13 books with most recent being a co-edited volume titled From Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific: Diplomacy in a Contested Region (Palgrave Macmillan 2021). Robert is also an Honorary Professor of the New Zealand Defence Command and Staff College and makes regular contributions to the national and global media on international issues.

Dr Anna Powles

Expert Panellist

Dr Anna Powles is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Massey University, and her research focuses on the security and geopolitics of the Pacific Islands region. Powles’ current projects examine strategic competition, alliance dynamics, security cooperation, and non-state security actors in the Pacific. Her publications include an edited volume on peacekeeping; as well as works on Australia-New Zealand-United States alliance dynamics, strategic competition in the Pacific, security cooperation and architecture in the Pacific, security sector reform and state building practices in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, and New Zealand foreign and security policy in the Pacific. Powles holds positions as a Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and as a Non-Resident Fellow at the National Bureau for Asian Research. Powles has consulted extensively for the United Nations Development Programme as a subject matter expert on private security governance in the Pacific and is a member of the Advisory Group for the International Code of Conduct.  She has previously held visiting fellowships at the Australia War College and the East-West Center in Honolulu and was the New Zealand representative on the NATO Civil Society Advisory Group (2015-2016). In 2014 she founded the New Zealand chapter of Women In International Security. Prior to joining Massey University in 2013, Powles worked for over a decade in conflict and humanitarian emergencies, security sector reform, and peacebuilding with the United Nations, International Crisis Group, and INGOs in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. She holds a PhD (International Relations) from the Australian National University and is an alumna of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

David Reeves


David Reeves is the Director, Collections & Research at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. He leads the team of curators, collection managers, conservators, librarians and other specialists who contribute their expertise across the wide range of disciplines and subjects represented in the collections. Together, they are responsible for the acquisition, care, documentation and research of the 4.7 million taonga we hold in our collections as well as facilitating access to collections and knowledge through numerous channels online and in person.
David joined the Museum in January 2011 after a time at the Alexander Turnbull Library as Associate Chief Librarian, Research Access. David's career also includes roles at the Auckland Art Gallery and at Te Papa managing logistics, storage and documentation of collections.

Euan Robertson

Expert Panellist

Euan Robertson is a performance/visual artist and research associate whose research negotiates storytelling positioned within visual and material culture through interactive installations. Employing the interdependence of creative practices, the research examines meaning-making through memorialisation and memory represented nationally and internationally. Robertson’s background comprises twenty-plus years in the design and advertising industries prior to an academic position. In addition, his research investigates constructed gender and cultural stereotypes. Current research investigates an ancestral connection to imperial troops via the agency of a New Zealand Wars tartan influenced by the use of bush dress or tartan wool blankets worn as kilts.

Dr Jim Rolfe

Expert Panellist

Dr Jim Rolfe is a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. He has previously been Director of that Centre and before that acted as the Executive Director of the Australian Civil Military Centre in Canberra. At other times in his career, Dr. Rolfe has worked for the UN in Libya and Timor, been a policy official in the Ministry of Defence and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and had academic jobs in Australia, Indonesia and the United States as well as in New Zealand. He began his career in the New Zealand Army. Rolfe's scholarly interests are in New Zealand and regional security on which topics he has published widely in both scholarly and general publications. He is currently working on a book manuscript on New Zealand approach to achieving national security.
Image credit: Mark Beatty

Thomas Slade

Expert Panellist

I am an artist who works with the medium of photography. I am currently living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington where I am completing a creative PhD at Massey University. My focus as an artist is on creating research-driven bodies of work and I have explored New Zealand culture and characteristics such as our rural heritage and relationship to land. My PhD examines my own Pākehā identity and the impact of colonisation in Aotearoa, New Zealand. I work as a lecturer in photography at Massey University, Wellington and enjoy the opportunity to giveback to current students the positive experience I have had in education. My future aims as an artist are to continue working in photography, research and education.

Professor Huhana Smith

Expert Panellist

Professor Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe and Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) is a visual artist, curator and principal investigator in research which engages in major environmental, trans-disciplinary, kaupapa Māori and action-research projects. She is co-principal investigator for research that includes mātauranga Māori methods with sciences to actively address climate change concerns for coastal Māori lands in Horowhenua-Kāpiti. Huhana actively encourages the use of art and design’s visual systems combined in exhibitions, to expand how solutions might integrate complex issues and make solutions more accessible for local communities.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Wood, ONZM

Expert Panellist

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Wood is a New Zealand Army infantry officer.  His operational deployments include: UNAVEM Angola as a Team Site and then Regional Commander from 1997/98, East Timor as Commanding Officer of New Zealand Battalion 4 in May- November 2001, Timor Leste as the Deputy Commander of the International Stabilisation Force 2008/2009, and most recently in Baghdad and Kuwait from 2019/2020 at Headquarters Operation Inherent Resolve as a Staff Officer. Peter’s PhD (Massey University, 2012) analysed infantry combat effectiveness through the experience of the 21stAuckland Infantry Battalion during the Second World War. His current role is Director of Ko te Kura o Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Wars Study Centre, where he takes members of the NZDF on visits to New Zealand Wars battle sites.


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