Dr Tom Ryan

Qualifications: MA(Hons) PhD Auckland DEA EHESS Paris

([email protected])


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. (2017). How the Tiki torch was co-opted by white supremacists'. Retrieved from

  • Ryan, T. F. (2017). Coveting and despising: 'South of Asia' versus 'Many Islands': Australia and New Zealands' contrasting cultures of colonisalism. In S. A. Wardi, J. -M. Regnault, & J. -F. Sabouret (Eds.), L'océanie convoitée: Actes des colloques (French Edition) (pp. 26-27). 'Api Tahiti, Papeete.

  • 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. 236-245). Paris, France: Somogy Editions d'Art.

  • Ryan, T. (2017). Ngā Haki: Flags and flagpoles as symbols of mana Māori. In 11th Conference of the European Society for Oceanists (ESFO). Conference held in Munich, Germany.

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.