Researcher biography

Although starting off as an historian of the Pacific Islands, I now think of myself more as a biographer and an historian of twentieth century New Zealand. My experience includes fieldwork in Tuvalu in the late 1970s, being Project Historian at the Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania in the early 1980s, and then teaching successively at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Bond University and the University of the South Pacific, where I was Associate Professor and Head of Department. As well as being awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Yale University and a Harold White Fellowship at the National Library of Australia, I’ve been an Associate of the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington and a Scholar at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury. Between 2001 and 2005, I was the regular interviewer for History Now. I am currently an Associate Editor of Working USA and the acting review editor of the Journal of Pacific History. As an undergraduate I founded the Flinders Journal of History and Politics, have twice been Guest Editor of the Journal of Pacific Studies, and most recently co-editor of a special issue (on ‘Telling Academic Lives’) of the Journal of Historical Biography.

My current project is a history of the New Zealand Opera Company, 1954-1971, with the assistance of the 2013 Friends of the Turnbull Library Research Award.