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LEAD people 2021 version

Dr John Hopkins

Director of Research
Meremere 332
Internal Phone: 93737

John is a Professor of Public Law who specialises in Law and Disasters. His work focusses particularly on Recovery Governance and International Disaster Response Law. He is an Associate Researcher with QuakeCoRE (the New Zealand Centre for Seismic Resilience) and leads the Regulating for Resilience Project under Flagship 3. He recently co-led the IFRC project developing a Disaster Law database for the Pacific and has undertaken work for BRANZ and the European Union amongst others on various aspects of law and disasters. He is currently the Pacific Editor for the Yearbook of International Disaster Law (Brill).

Dr Toni Collins

Senior Lecturer
Meremere 308
Internal Phone: 94029

Toni is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Canterbury whose research focuses on law and disasters. She is an Associate Researcher with QuakeCoRE(the New Zealand Centre for Seismic Resilience) on a Flagship programme examining the resilience of Wellington’s built area in a large earthquake. She has examined the law on cordons in emergency and non-emergency situations and is currently looking at the impact of the recent Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 on building owners and tenants in relation to earthquake-prone buildings and those that are vulnerable to earthquakes. The other current project is a collaboration with two authors looking at dispute resolution processes in emergencies and learnings from the Canterbury earthquakes. Toni’s interest in disaster law research stems from her work on her PhD completed in 2016, which looked at how commercial landlords and tenants were affected by the cordon around the central business district of Christchurch as a consequence of the Canterbury earthquakes when their leases did not cover inaccessible buildings and neither did the law.

Associate Professor Natalie Baird

Associate Professor
Co-Director of Postgraduate Studies and LLM (ILAP)
Meremere 419
Internal Phone: 93801

Natalie is currently an Associate Professor of Law and the Co-Director of the LLM (International Law and Politics) at the University of Canterbury. Natalie’s research interests include international human rights, refugee law and Pacific legal studies. With regard to disaster law, Natalie is focused particularly on human rights and natural disasters. Recent work includes the human rights impacts of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes, remedies for human rights breaches in the disaster context, and the use of the concept of ‘vulnerability’ in international human rights and disaster law.

Professor Annick Masselot

Meremere 417
Internal Phone: 93814

Annick is a Professor of Law and the current director of the postgraduate PhD and LLM (Thesis) at the University of Canterbury. Annick’s primary area of interest lies in employment law and gender equality. In particular, Annick is interested in the gender mainstreaming of Disaster Risks Management (DRM) and is actively working on gendered impacted of man-made disasters, such as Brexit and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Dr James Mehigan

Senior Lecturer
Internal Phone: 91270

James is a senior lecturer of law and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is primarily interested in the criminal justice perspective of disasters, including liability and State accountability for harms they cause from disasters. James is also interested in international human rights law and its intersection with aspects of criminal justice in society. He is currently co-authoring a book relating to the criminal justice responses to the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings, due to be published in 2021.

Sascha Mueller

Senior Lecturer
Meremere 306
Internal Phone: 93763

Sascha is a senior law lecturer at the University of Canterbury, where he is currently completing his PhD. Sascha is interested in constitutional and comparative law, with a current research focus on legislative and extra-legislative responses to natural disasters. Previously, Sascha has researched powers in New Zealand related to emergencies and the passing of urgent legislation.

Tom Wilson

Disaster Risk and Resilience
Beatrice Tinsley Rm 210
Internal Phone: 94503

Tom is a Professor in Disaster Risk and Resilience at the University of Canterbury. His research interest lies in risk assessment and community resilience to natural hazards, with a special focus on volcanic eruptions. Tom has extensive involvement with disaster management, including membership of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Geoscience Society of New Zealand (GSNZ), as well as Research Associate at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research. 

Sarah Beaven

Senior Lecturer
Beatrice Tinsley Rm 208
Internal Phone: 95992

Sarah is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Science at the University of Canterbury. Her research is focused on disaster risk and resilience, including in response and recovery contexts. Sarah is particularly interested in collaborative governance aspects of disaster risk management and how cross-sector coordination can be enhanced while decreasing ethical risks to communities impacted by hazards. 

Finau is a disaster law consultant with extensive research and practical experience. As the former Pacific Regional Manager for Disaster Law and Partnerships at the IFRC, she has also had a significant impact upon the development of IDRL frameworks in the Pacific and with her current role as Pacific Portfolio Manager at the CDHB, offers a health-based knowledge of the discipline. She also served in the public sector as a former senior diplomat for the Tongan government.



Cam currently works part-time as the administrator for LEAD. He recently completed his Master of Laws (by thesis) at the University of Canterbury, as part of a QuakeCoRE-funded research project. This involved a multi-country examination of legal frameworks for managing the seismic risk of existing multi-storey buildings. Cam has also assisted Dr W. John Hopkins and Dr Toni Collins with separate legal projects related to earthquakes, including a BRANZ project which explored decision-making processes of local governments when closing public earthquake-prone buildings, and a QuakeCoRE project which explored emergency cordon law in New Zealand and related liability issues.

For general enquires, please contact: disasterlaw@canterbury.ac.nz 


Holly has recently submitted her Masters in International Law and Politics at the University of Canterbury. After graduating with both a Law and Arts degree, Holly has been involved in several disaster law projects including an IFRC project that mapped the disaster laws of Pacific nations. In 2019, Holly received a research grant from QuakeCoRE to investigate the 2019 rescEU mechanism and its relationship to supranationalism. Holly continues to assist Dr W.  John Hopkins and Dr Toni Collins with their Regulation for Resilience project.

Sulaiman Sarwary

Sulaiman has completed his undergraduate (BA/LLB) and LLM at the University of Canterbury. He also has a MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales. Currently, he is doing his PhD at UC and is interested in exploring how the legal and institutional framework for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in New Zealand can sustainably enhance community resilience - in the face of disaster risks - before the onset of disaster events.

Between 2012 and 2020, Sulaiman worked in leadership positions with international NGOs in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom and Indonesia, to help deliver development and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities on Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation, Urban Resilience, emergency response and recovery.

Recently, Sulaiman has assisted Professor W. John Hopkins on a QuakeCoRE project that critiques New Zealand's DRM framework, with a focus on Managed Isolation and Qaurantine Facilities (MIQF).

For all enquiries