Faculty of Arts - History

Dr Aroha Harris

BA, MPhil, PhD (Auckland)

Senior Lecturer

Dr Aroha Harris

History, Humanities

Email: a.harris@auckland.ac.nz

5 Wynyard St
Room 24

Research interests

New Zealand history, Māori culture and society in the post-war era, oral history, race relations history.


Current research

Māori Urban Lives; Māori and post-war Auckland City

Twentieth Century Māori History

Te Rarawa Historical Land Claims

Oral and Life Histories

Postgraduate supervision

Current supervisions

Hirini Kaa, PhD, "He Ngakau Hou: Te Haahi Mihinare as a Site of Maori Cultural Construction, 1945-1990".

Marianne Schultz, PhD, "Performing New Zealand: Maori and European song and dance on stage, 1860-1940".

Recent completions

Max Maclaurin, Hons Dissertation, (co-supervised with Jennifer Frost), "Indigenous Resistance as Empowerment: cultural revitalisation, historical symbolism and movement strategy at Bastion Point (1977-8) and Wounded Knee (1973)", 2012.

Jennifer Ashton, PhD, "John Webster on the New Zealand Frontier, 1841-1912", 2012.

David Holmes, Hons Dissertation, Marshland, Milk & Memory: the manipulated evolution of the 'Woodlands block', 2011.

Sianatu Lotoaso, Hons Dissertation, The Deported Overstayer of the 1970s, 2011.

Jonathan Gould, Hons Dissertation, The British Office's New Zealand Policy in the 1830s, 2011. 

Melissa Williams, PhD, 'Back-Home' and Home in the City: Maori Migrations from Panguru to Auckland 1930-1970, 2010.

Rewa Morgan, Hons Dissertation, Telling Stories: Rewi's Last Stand. An inquiry into a historical narrative 1914-1922, 2010.

Omar Hamed, Hons Dissertation, Direct Action and Environmental Protest in Aotearoa, 1997-2009, 2009.

Helen Robinson, PhD, Inventing Traditions in Unsettled Societies: Historic Commemorations in New Zealand and Northern Ireland, 1940-1990, 2009.

Supervision options

Please email for an appointment (a.harris@auckland.ac.nz) if you would like to discuss supervision of your thesis or dissertation.

Recent publications


Hikoi: Forty Years of Maori Protest, Huia Publishers, Wellington, 2004.

Hikoi: Der lange Marsch der Maori, Orlanda, Berlin, 2012. 


"Theorize this: We Are What We Write", in Te Pouhere Korero 3, Wellington, 2009, pp 83-9.

"Concurrent Narratives of Māori and Integration in the 1950s and 60s", in Journal of New Zealand Studies, Wellington, 2008, pp.139-155.

"Biography as Balancing Act: Life According to Joe and the Rules of Historical Method", in Aboriginal History, monograph 17, 2008, pp.91-6.

(With Wendy Henwood), "Innovation As Necessity: Te Rarawa and the Challenges of Multi-Purpose Research", in Alternative, 3, 2, (Special Supplement, Developing Excellence), 2007, pp.146-162.

(With Hirini Kaa and Ngarino Ellis), "'E Kore e Taea te Oranga mo te Tangata i te Aroha me te Pipi Anake’: Maori Leadership in the Twentieth Century", in Te Pouhere Korero, Maori History, Maori People, volume 2, 2002, pp.12-39.

"'I Wouldn’t Say I Was a Midwife’: Interviews with Violet Otene Harris", in Health and History, Journal of the Australian Society of the History of Medicine, Maori Health Special Issue, 3, 1, 2001, pp.109-123.

"Maori Land Title Improvement since 1945: communal ownership and economic use", in Koha, essays in honour of M.P.K. Sorrenson, New Zealand Journal of History, 31, 1, April 1997, pp.132-152.

Chapters in books

(with Dr Mary Jane McCallum), '“Assaulting the Ears of Government”: The Indian Homemakers’ Clubs and the Maori Women's Welfare League in Their Formative Years', in Williams, Carol, ed., Indigenous Women and Work: from Labor to Activism, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 2012, pp. 225-239.

"Modern in a Traditional Way: the Maori search for cultural equilibrium in a saying, a song and a short story", in Keenan, Danny, ed., Huia Histories of Maori: Nga Tahuhu Korero, Huia Publishers, Wellington, 2012, pp.339-51.

"Maori and 'the Maori Affairs'", in Dalley, Bronwyn and Margaret Tennant, eds, Past Judgement: Social Policy in New Zealand History, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 2004, pp.188-205.

"Letty Brown, Wahine Toa", in Fraser, Lyndon and Katie Pickles, eds, Shifting Centres: Women and Migration in New Zealand History, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 2002, pp.103-116.

Creative works

"How She Knows She is Maori: a checklist" and "Kina" in Wendt, Albert, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan, Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English: Whetu Moana II, Auckland, 2010, pp.76-7. 

"Write Poetry" in New Zealand Book Month, Six Pack Three: Winning Writing From New Zealand Book Month, Wellington, 2008.

Career history

Dr Aroha Harris belongs to Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi. Her current projects reflect her interest in Māori and iwi histories of Māori policy and community development in the twentieth century. Prior to her university appointment, Aroha variously worked in both historical and social research for Government departments (including the Waitangi Tribunal Division), private organisations, and iwi. She continues to provide research advice to Te Runanga o Te Rarawa on a range of iwi development projects, including the negotiation and settlement of Te Rarawa historical Treaty claims. Aroha is a founding member of Te Pouhere Korero, the national organisation of Māori historians, and co-editor of their journal of the same name. She has variously published in edited collections and academic journals, and her first book, Hikoi: Forty Years of Maori Protest, was published in 2004. Aroha was appointed a member of the Waitangi Tribunal in 2008, and is currently a member of the Te Rohe Potae (Wai 898) panel.


Works in progress

Tangata Whenua is a collaborative project with Professors Atholl Anderson and Judith Binney to produce a general illustrated history of Māori to the year 2000 to be published by Bridget Williams Books in 2014.


Current teaching

Please note Dr Harris will be on leave from the University through to 2017 to take up duties with the Waitangi Tribunal. However, she will remain available for thesis supervision. To discuss supervision options email a.harris@auckland.ac.nz.

Course Title Availability in 2014
HISTORY 111 Racial Histories Not offered in 2014.
HISTORY 712 /712 A B Insider Histories Not offered in 2014.

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