Dr Tom Ryan

Convenor of Anthropology, Senior Lecturer, University Council Member

Qualifications: MA(Hons) PhD Auckland DEA EHESS Paris

School of Social Sciences


About Tom


  • Helped establish three successful Academic Programmes: Anthropology, Labour Studies, Pacific Studies.
  • Served in a range of School-level leadership roles: Centre Director, Programme Convenor, Department Head.
  • Member of key University committees: Academic Board, Academic Promotions, Finance, University Council.


Historical anthropology; cultural studies; mining and indigenous peoples; mythologies; work; Niue; Pacific Islands; Australia.

Research Interests

Current Research Projects

  • Imaginaries of New Zealand Nationhood. The working title for a book applying anthropological analysis to large-scale multi-cultural society; to be submitted to an academic publisher in late 2016.
  • 'Manners and Customs of the First "Australians": The Fantastic Anthropology of Gabriel de Foigny, 1676'.  Invited seminar to be given at Université d'Aix-Marseilles, Jan 2016, then submitted to an academic journal.

Featured Publications

  • 2016. 'Hiapo Faka-Niue: A Genealogy of Barkcloth on Niue', in Tapa: Southeast Asia to Eastern Polynesia, Michel Charleux (ed). Aux Vent des Îsles, Papaeete/Paris. [In press]
  • 2015.'Review of M. Pointer, Niue 1774-1974: 200 Years of Contact and Change'. J. Pacific History. [In press].
  • 2015. 'A Long Comment on John Robinson's 'Control by Paradigm''. Academic Freedom Aotearoa, 26 February.
  • 2015. 'Academic Freedom and the Proposed Changes to University Council Membership', with Craig Marshall. Academic Freedom Aotearoa, 16 February.
  • 2014. 'Island That Stands Alone: Social Transformation on Niue'. Invited presentation to First Conference of Pacific Islands Research Network (PIURN), Université de Nouvelle-Caledonie, Nouméa, 6 November.

Recent Publications

  • Ryan, T. F. (2017). Hiapo: A Genealogy of Barkcloth on Niue.. In Tapa: de 'l'Encorce a l'Etoffe, Art Millenaire de l'Oceanie: From Tree Bark to Cloth: An Ancient Art of Oceania. (pp. 237-243). Paris, France: Somogy Editions d'Art.

  • Ryan, T. (2016). Island that stands alone: Sociocultural transformation on Niue. In B. Rigo (Ed.), Proceedings of the First Pacific Islands Universities Research Network Conference (PIURN): Appartenance vs Propriété/ Belonging vs Property (pp. 207-210). Conference held at University of New Caledonia, Noumea: Université de la Nouvelle-Calédonie.

  • Cunningham, S. J., Hinze, A. M., Bainbridge, D., Taube-Schock, C., & Ryan, T. (2014). Building heritage document collections for Pacific Island nations using semantic-enriched search. In Proceedings of the Samoa Conference III. Sāmoa: National University of Sāmoa. Retrieved from

  • Omura, S., Te Awekotuku, N., Ryan, T. F., & Nikora, L. W. (2013). The Treaty of Waitangi and Asian immigrants in New Zealand: Theoretical implication of indigenous culture and history on ethnic migrants acculturation. In Critical Ethnic Studies Conference: Decolonizing Future Intellectual Legacies and Activist Practices. Conference held at The University of Illinois, Chicago, USA.

View all research publications by Tom Ryan

Papers Taught


Anne Eddy, Te Hemara Tauhia and Martin Krippner: Cross-Cultural Biographies. [chief].
Mandy Shaver, Art and the Aesthetic at a Tattoo Studio in Hamilton, New Zealand. [chief].
Isa Ritchie, Free Lunch: Food Sovereignty in Whaingaroa/Raglan.
Estelle Townsend, Brand Qatar: Competing Interests in Qatari Foreign Policy.
Elizabeth Pascal, Pots and People in Espiritu Santo: Traditional Pottery-Making in Vanuatu. [chief].
Saburo Omura, The Treaty of Waitangi and Asian Immigrants in Aotearoa. 2014.
Vince Malcolm-Buchanan, A Genealogical Ethnography of Tangihanga: Our Taonga, Our Stories. 2014.
Caroline Thomas, The Sorcerer's Apprentice: A Life of Reo Franklin Fortune, Anthropologist. 2010. [chief].
Des Tatana Kahotea, Rebel Discourses: Colonial Violence, Pai Marire Resistance, and Land. 2005. [chief].
Susan Sayer, The Postcolonial Lesbian Text: Readings of Four Novels by Renee. 1998. [chief].

Associations and Memberships

  • Tertiary Education Union (NZ): Inaugural President (Wellington-based), 2009-10 Life Member, 2014.
  • Fulbright NZ: Visiting Fellow, Georgetown University, 2007; Member of National Selection Panels, 2008-10.
  • Association of University Staff (NZ): Board Member, 2003-04, Academic Vice-President, 2005-06.

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Ryan, Dr Tom 9316 tryan J.2.02 Anthropology Programme