New Zealand South Asia Centre
The New Zealand South Asia Centre (NZSAC) at the University of Canterbury is designed to promote recognition and understanding of South Asian societies and cultures in New Zealand. NZSAC fosters cooperation with academic and other institutions in this country and abroad. It brings together scholars and students, politicians and entrepreneurs and provides a platform for collaborative research, education and consultancy.
South Asia is becoming a central player in the contemporary, modernizing world. Within South Asia, India is not only the world’s largest, but also one of its most resilient democracies and has established itself as one of the fastest growing global economic powers. New Zealand is increasingly recognizing the importance of South Asia as an economic partner and the growing political importance of South Asian countries in general.
NZSAC is directed specifically towards promoting knowledge and understanding of South Asian history, society and culture and engaging with the contemporary developments and challenges facing South Asia, particularly in the fields of economics, politics and education.
NZSAC includes members from a wide range of academic disciplines (history, science, social and cultural sciences, economics and management, art and education). NZSAC offers a forum for national and international collaboration, research and study; it brings together institutions, scholars and students, politicians and entrepreneurs, in the country and abroad.
How to become an Associate?
Associate membership of NZSAC is available to post-graduate students and other scholars conducting South Asia related research. Associate members must either be members of NZ academic institutions or linked to scholars of South Asia based in New Zealand. If you are interested to become an associate member please fill in the NZSAC Associate Member Application Form (download as a word doc 221KB)
Dr Arindam Basu is a physician, an epidemiologist, and works as a senior lecturer at the Health Sciences Centre of the Univesity of Canterbury. Additionally, he also serves as the Senior Researcher of the Health Services Assessment Collaboration, a research unit of the Health Sciences Centre. Arindam's research interests in South Asia & New Zealand include health effects and epidemiology of inorganic Arsenic exposure that has occurred in South Asia over the last four decades preceding the turn of the century; he is also interested in general in Environmental epidemiology, health policy, and migrant health related issues connecting South Asia and Australasia.
Jane is a specialist in South Asian History, particularly the history of South India. Her research interests are principally in the areas of law, welfare and philanthropy and the history of medicine and health. Jane's research into colonial medical history has included archival and hospital experience and she has travelled extensively throughout India. Jane's current research project focuses on government and philanthropy in early colonial Madras.
Kuntal Das (Director)
Kuntal is a member of the Department of Economics and Finance. His main research interests are in international finance and development economics, focussing on developing and emerging market economies. His current research interests in South Asia include productivity differences and exchange rate movements in ASEAN and SAARC countries and understanding corporate governance and risk takings in Indian banks. Kuntal has been a consultant at the World Bank, and has held research positions at the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in India.
Elaine is a senior lecturer and postgraduate coordinator in the School of Music at the University of Canterbury. She is responsible for the introduction, teaching and development of the ethnomusicology courses, Himalayan Music and Asian Music. Her research into Tibetan and Bhutanese music, particularly that of the dranyen or Himalayan lute, has led to field work in Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal in 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2006, including visits to the remote areas of the eastern borders of Bhutan and the Humla region of north-west Nepal. In 2005, she undertook a preliminary, field study of the music of the Lepchas, the indigenous people of Sikkim (north India) and in 2006 was invited to be a member of the jury of the 2006 Bhutan Motion Picture Association Film Festival.
Baljit was a faculty member in the School of Educational Studies and Human Development, College of Education. She has been a teacher educator for primary and early childhood teachers in India before joining the University of Canterbury. Her research interests are in the areas of historical and cultural studies of childhood and education with focus on home school relationships, literacy, disability, diversity and social justice. She has worked in Bastar, India, to investigate the relevance and substance of preschool education for tribal children, and studied the acquisition of reading and writing in five Indian languages. She is currently writing a book on the history of early childhood education in British India.
Piers Locke is a lecturer in anthropology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. His primary research concerns the history and ethnography of captive elephant management, and his main fieldwork is with the elephant handlers of the Chitwan National Park, Nepal. He has co-produced a documentary film and is currently writing a monograph about elephant handling practice in Nepal. He is also preparing further research projects on ethnoveterinary knowledge and on elephant handler life histories. Piers also has teaching interests in South Asian religion, culture and society.
Aditya is member of the Anthropology programme. His research icenters on the religious culture of Rajasthan and that of the Himalayan region of Kumaon using a combination of anthropological, textual and historical approaches. His interests cover oral traditions and ritual performance, pilgrimage, 'folk' Hinduism, multi-media and cultural studies, as well post-colonial and post-modern issues related to the study of Hinduism. His current research is focused on narratives and rituals of embodiment and notions of social justice with regard to Goludev, a widely worshipped folk deity from Kumaon.
MA in history, specializes in modern South Asian history and religions. She has lectured on associated topics at the University of Canterbury, and is a freelance oral historian. Projects and publications include research on social life in Colonial India, religion and politics in Pakistan, migrants and refugees into New Zealand, and leprosy in the South Pacific region.
Clemency is a member of the Mathematics and Statistics Department and researches in the History of Mathematics and Science in Ancient and Medieval India, particularly the transmission of ideas from other scientifically active societies in the ancient world. Of the estimated 30 million manuscripts that exist today, roughly as high as ten per cent of these are scientific. Clemency works with primary sources in Sanskrit, which she edits, translates, and writes scientific commentaries.
Venkatarama is a member of the Department of Management. His area of specialization is management of change. His research and writings relate to organizational changes in India after liberalization (post-1991). Currently he is working on a project which explores the management of change in the Indian Railways from 2004-2008.
Nadeera is a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation in the Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship in University of Canterbury. Nadeera's main research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and microfinance. She studies dynamic processes in entrepreneurial decision-making, innovation, learning, and development. In particular, she studies ways which entrepreneurs gain skills, make decisions, innovate, transform their ideas into products/services, establish systems, policies and procedures, and create entrepreneurial communities. Nadeera’s main research focus in South Asia is related to the use of microfinance services. She studies microfinance-related entrepreneurial practices, accountability issues in microfinance institutions (MFIs), innovative practices used by MFIs, and how women entrepreneurs use microfinance services for entrepreneurial purposes. Her main geographical focus is Sri Lanka.
Reshmi taught within the New Zealand South Asia Centre and UC Opportunity, University of Canterbury. Her research interests include Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, Cross-cultural management, Bollywood and Diasporic Cinema, Migrant and Gender issues. She has designed and taught courses dealing with Postcolonial Studies, Socio-cultural issues in post-independence India, Ethnic minorities in India, Indian Travel Writing, Women’s issues in India, Questions of Identity amongst the Indian Diaspora as well as courses on Indian "Parallel" cinema and worked as a research associate at Deakin University. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Cultural Studies and a Master of Arts, from University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She has a M.A. in English, a B.A. in English from University of Bombay, India and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Bombay.
Murad is lecturer in the University of Malakand, Pakistan. At the moment, he is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Development Studies, Massey University, New Zealand. His research interests include the nexus between international aid and development as well as democracy, human rights and nuclear proliferation. In particular, he is looking at the effectiveness of US bilateral aid to Pakistan in the framework of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness principles. His PhD study is funded through a scholarship by the government of Pakistan.
I am currently undertaking a mixed-method research project looking at the alcohol and psychoactive drug use patterns of 18-24 year old South Asian students at the University of Auckland. I plan to extend my study onto a PhD level research project in 2013 by using quantitative methods to chart the current alcohol and psychoactive drug use profile of the young New Zealand South Asian community.
Rashmi Umesh Arora
Rashmi holds a PhD in Development Studies (University of Auckland) and MPhil in Applied Economics (JNU, Delhi). She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS), University of Wollongong, Australia. She is a professional member of New Zealand Asian Studies Society and American Economic Association and also holds membership of ARC Asia Pacific Futures Research Network and Global Development Network. She has worked for about 20 years in India’s central bank in its economic policy department and was closely involved with India’s economic reforms. Her research areas geographically are Asia, South Asia, and India and topics of research interest are economic development, reforms, finance and development, less developed regions and globalisation. Among her major publications are Bank Credit and Economic Development: An Empirical Analysis of Indian States (Journal of Asian Public Policy, 2009), Gender Inequality, economic development and globalisation: A State level analysis of India (Journal of Developing Areas, forthcoming) and Bank Credit and Development - A Study of Uttar Pradesh, India, (VDM-Verlag).
Abdur Rehman Cheema
Mr. Abdur Rehman Cheema is associated with the Institute of Development Studies as a doctoral candidate. His research interests include: disaster risk reduction, disaster risk governance and role of religious community institutions in vulnerability reduction and sustainable development. He is looking at the role of religious institutions in achieving disaster risk reduction through improvement in disaster risk governance in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. His PhD study is funded through a scholarship by the government of Pakistan. Mr. Cheema had an opportunity to present his research to a range of audience and won a number of research grants. His recent publications are listed here and he can be contacted at email@example.com
Some of the recent publications of Jambugahapitiye Dhammaloka are The Candrārkī of Dinakara: A text related to solar and lunar tables, with Aditya Kolocana and et al, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol.49(3), 2018, A critical edition of the Candrārkī of Dinakara, with Aditya Kolocana and et al, History of Science in South Asia, Vol.6, 2018, and Computation of Sines in Nityānanda’s Sarvasiddhāntarāja, with K. Ramasubramanian, Clemency Montelle, Sources and Commentaries in the Exact Sciences, Vol. 17, SCIAMVS, Kyoto, 2016. The first two publications investigate into constructing calendars or almanacs (pañcāṅgas) as explained by Dinakara, a mathematical astronomer (16th cent. CE). The last is on the Nityānanda’s method of calculating the sine of 30 as enunciated in the Sarvasiddhāntarāja by Nityānanda (17th cent. CE).
Martin is a Professor at the Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt. He has taught anthropology and sociology at the University of Canterbury, universities of Zürich, Heidelberg and Paderborn, at Free University, Berlin, and Central European University, Budapest. His main interests include relationship of culture and praxis, interculturality and ethnographic representation, theories of modernity, social movements, anthropology and sociology of religion, the development of citizenship rights and urban anthropology. Regional focus: India. Fieldwork in a Bombay slum and in the Indian Himalayas.
Nisha is a Doctoral Scholar in Comparative Literature, School of European Languages & Literatures at the University of Auckland. Her doctoral research focuses on the study of Female Desire in Women’s Autobiographical Writing from 20th century India and New Zealand. Currently working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at the Faculty of Arts in the University of Auckland, Nisha’s research interests include gender studies, feminist theory, postcolonial theory and literature.
Antje is a co-opted visiting Scientist at the College Research Unit. She taught anthropology and sociology at the University of Canterbury, the universities of Heidelberg, Tübingen and Zürich and was Fellow of the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin . She also worked in the fields of intercultural and teacher training and as consultant. She did fieldwork in India (Central Himalayas). Interests include development theory and practice, natural resource management, social movements, anthropology of modernity, issues of survival and self-determination of indigenous and marginalized people.
Wasana S Handapangoda
Wasana is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. She is currently a resident at Stout Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington. At Stout Research Centre, Wasana is working on a rsearch project that explores second generation Sri Lankan immigrants' narrative of self-concept and belonging in mainstream New Zealand as captured through soical media, possibly the most popular, democratic, and free media at the present time. Wasana completed her PhD in 2011 with a scholarship by the Government of Japan. Her research interests lie in international migration, gender and power, and culture and development.
V. V. Krishna
V. V. Krishna is currently Professorial Fellow, FASS at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He has a PhD from the University of Wollongong, Australia and has more than 30 years of research, teaching and consultancy experience in science and technology policy studies, history and sociology of science and technology, innovation studies and science, technology and developing world in leading academic and research institutions in India, Australia, Singapore, China and Canada. He was Professor in Science Policy and Chair, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi for more than 20 years. He held visiting faculty positions at the National University of Singapore; McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Maison des Science De l Homme, Paris; United Nations University, Japan; Western Sydney University, Sydney and Tsinghua University, Beijing. Over the years, he published over 40 papers and five books which include: Science, Technology and Diffusion of Knowledge: Innovation Systems in Asia-Pacific (Edward Elgar 2007); Scientific Communities in the Developing Countries, (Sage 1997). His latest book is on Universities in the National Innovation Systems: Experiences from Asia Pacific (Routledge 2017) He is Editor-in-Chief of ranked international journal Science, Technology and Society (Sage). He was member of various expert committees and been consultant at UNESCO, OECD, ILO and other international agencies. He contributed to World Science Report 1998 and UNESCO Science Report 2005, and to the ILO in 2001 for its programme on the informal sector. He served as expert on European Research Council’s Grand Challenges and European Union, Brussels, based networks on research and innovation policies since 1990s.
Kathleen Harrington-Watt is currently a MA Anthropology student at the University of Canterbury. She comes from an academic and professional background in Social Work, Art Therapy, Visual Arts and Photography. Her interests are in the fields of Visual Anthropology, photographic theory, and visual culture. The MA thesis explores the Gujarat community in Christchurch through the viewing of personal photographs and is concerned with the role photography plays in the processes of migration and settlement and the development of community and transnational identities.
Priya holds a Master’s degree in Dentistry, working towards her doctoral degree, on oral cancer prevention and tobacco cessation in India, from University of Canterbury. Current research is focussed on developing a sustainable oral cancer screening model utilising dental health infrastructure in India. Her research interests are in health promotion and health policy She is a member of Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) and works on developing education materials and mentorship programs in tobacco control via Knowledge Centre Project, a subcommittee of SRNT. She also holds membership with United Nations Association, New Zealand Canterbury Branch, and teams in developing and promoting Sustainability Developments Goals 2030 education materials. Priya’s long-term goal is to develop Public-Private Partnership and build capacity in decreasing geographical limitations and cultural barriers in oral cancer and tobacco control in India.
MD. Nurul Momen
Nurul Momen is an assistant professor at the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh. Currently, he is pursuing PhD at Sant Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy, the prime objective of his PhD research is to make a comparative analysis on access to justice and free and fair elections in the most important functioning democracies in South Asia: Bangladesh and Nepal. He earned his MPhil in Public Administration from the University of Bergen in Norway. He participated many international workshops and conferences and contributed to scholarly journals.
Dr Yann-Pierre Montelle is a rock art researcher who researches and teaches performance studies, anthropology, and archaeology. Having recently published a book Paleoperformance: The Emergence of Theatricality as Social Practice which wraps the interpretative approaches from these three disciplines into an analysis of the performative traditions of Prehistory, he in recent times has turned to Indian traditions of performance from a similar vantage point.
Imran Muhammad holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and two postgraduate degrees in Urban Planning from the University of Hong Kong and University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. He is currently a lecturer in the Resource and Environmental Planning Programme at Massey University, New Zealand. Prior to joining Massey University, Imran worked at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT University in research and teaching assistant capacity; VicRoads (Victoria, Australia) and British Columbia International Inc. (Canadian based consulting organisation) in a professional capacity.
Imran's research interests include sustainable urban development particularly sustainable urban transport in South Asian cities. His first book on Barriers to sustainable urban transport in Pakistan will be published by the Oxford University Press in 2009.
Samantha is a member of the School of Sciences and Physical Education and currently working towards her doctoral study in the University of Canterbury. Her current research is based on how ethnic animosity in Sri Lanka can be mitigated through Sport. Samantha was fortunate enough to be titled as the first ever female in Sri Lanka to successfully complete a research degree based on Sport studies. Previously she had researched into Sri Lankan tribal folk games and at present, her research has extended with relevance to Sri Lankan indigenous games. Samantha's research interests are in the areas of women and sport in Asia, peace through sport in Asia, Olympic studies in Asia and comparative sport studies.
Faraha is currently a doctoral fellow in the School of Social and Policy studies at Flinders University, South Australia and holds a Bachelor of Social Science and Master of Social Science degrees in Public Administration from the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Faraha's research interests are on gender equality, poverty, human rights, social justice, gender based violence, women's empowerment, NGOs in development, public policy analysis, organisational behavior and social capital. She has authored a book entitled: "Strengthening Awareness among Rural Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh: A Case Study on Adolescent Development Program of BRAC", published from Lambert Academic, Germany. To see her other published academic papers that are in reputed national and international journals refer to:(http://farahanawaz.weebly.com/publications.html). She is an active member of a number of international professional groups and networks such as NAPSIPAG, ISTR, EROPA, NZSAC, Dev Net and AWID.
Kim Plofker is an assistant professor of mathematics at Union College. Her main interests include the history of mathematics and astronomy in Sanskrit sources. Her recent book on the topic is entitled "Mathematics in India" published by Princeton University Press.
Amal teaches economics at Lincoln University. His interests are in political economy, governance and corruption in developing countries. He taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has participated in academic debates on Indian public policy. Amal also did research work on the Indian energy and steel sectors commissioned by the Indian Planning Commission and the Steel Authority of India. More recently he has worked on development issues of a number of Asian, Pacific and Latin American countries. His current research works are focused on political economy and corruption.
Amitrajit Sarkar is a senior member of faculty at Ara Institute of Canterbury and an affiliated research associate at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He has published widely in Software engineering and Management Information Systems. His main research interests include IT Governance and IS resilience, which is an aspect of organisational resilience. Amitrajit is also a visiting faculty and researcher at OTH Regensburg, International researcher at SUNY Albany E-Governance group and international lecturer at IIM Trichy and COE, Pune and recipient of GIAN fellowship. His research in India is currently focused on the space of Digital Resilience and Smart City – Smart governance spectrum. He is using mixed method and multi-disciplinary approach to better understand the decision support, policy formulation, implementation, measurement, and revision in context to decision making and prioritisation in digital resilience and Smart governance. He has won multiple best paper awards for his research publications.
Sami Siddiq is currently working towards a PhD in sociology at the University of Auckland. Prior to this, at Washington University in St. Louis, he studies anthropology and international relations with an emphasis on the politics of Islamic movements in Afghanistan and Parkistan. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology and international communication. Sami's doctoral research project focuses on the role of the news media as actively and influentially engaged socio-political actors in world politics in general and in the context of post-9/11 U.S. - Pakistan relations in particular.
Will Sweetman is Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions at the University of Otago. His research interests include the history of the study of religion, religion in South India and the pre-history of Orientalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He is currently writing a history of the study of Hinduism during the transition to colonialism, which takes as its focus the sources, editions and reception history of Bartholomus Ziegenbalgs Genealogie der malabarischen Gotter (1713).
Sita is the Director International, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Senior Lecturer, Social Anthropology at Massey University. Sita's research interests include cultural analysis and the relationship between gender and power. Since her PhD research in the Andaman Islands, she has conducted visual exploration of child labour in Nepal, extended her interests to address globalisation, poverty, and grassroots democracy in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Sita has also conducted research addressing the situation of refugees and forced migrants in Europe. She is currently embarked on new research exploring perceptions of climate justice in India. Other new, collaborative, multidisciplinary opportunities relate to museum collections and the changing roles of museums in contemporary New Zealand.
Richard Weiss is senior lecturer of South Asian Religions at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. His research focuses on Tamil South Indian Hinduism from the nineteenth century to the present. He has recently published a book on siddha medicine, Recipes for Immortality: Medicine, Religion and Community in South India (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). His current research project examines transformations in Saiva community in 19th century South India.
- Talk by Dr John Alexander and Dr Jane Buckingham for Canterbury Historical association, Tuesday, 11th May, 2010, 7:30 PM at Arts Lecture Theatre A5, University of Canterbury. More details here (pdf)
- Dr John Alexander Michael (Dr Alexander) specialist in business ethics and Professor of Business Ethics, Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai, India was NZSAC's first visiting scholar, He was at University of Canterbury from 13 April to 26 June 2010 to contribute to an interdisciplinary symposium on NZ and Indian management practice, present research papers and collaborate with NZSAC members in the research project 'Managing Responsibly'. Dr Alexander's visit was funder by Seriosul Asia Fund, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, NZ. Click here to view the programme.
- Visitor William ‘Bo’ Sax visited NZSAC from 8-12 April and presented several lectures and seminars at UC.
- Dance event, Natyam 2010
- NZSAC was represented at two 'Track two dialogues' developing the India/New Zealand relationship. The dialogues were held in Wellington and in New Dehi More (pdf)
- NZSAC members are involved in a cross cultural India/New Zealand research project which explores alternative management ideas. Dr Buckingham's recent sabbatical leave in India to work on this project, among others, was partly supported by a visiting fellowship provided by the Indian Centre for Cultural Relations (Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs) More (pdf)
- Members of NZSAC convened and presented a panel ‘India: Issues in Citizenship, Social Responsibility and Self-governance’ at the 18th New Zealand Asian Studies Society International Conference 2009, Victoria University of Wellington, 6-8 July, 2009. More
- The New Zealand South Asia Centre was officially launched on Wednesday, 18 March 2009 by the Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand, Patron of the New Zealand South Asia Centre. More
- Geshe Sonam Richen - The respected scholar from the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, visited the De Jong Collection at the University of Canterbury Central Library. 23 January, 2008.
The New Zealand South Asia Centre (NZSAC) is a research institution with members and affiliates across various disciplines. If you wish to contact NZSAC please approach the NZSAC director:
New Zealand South Asia Centre
School of Social and Political Sciences
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
News, events and seminars
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