Dr Maria Borovnik staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 83643

Dr Maria Borovnik PhD, MSc

Senior Lecturer

School of People, Environment and Planning

Having been trained in geography my key research is within mobilities, migration and development. I am interested in the social strategies that people use to live mobile livelihoods, how families stay connected and how people are affected. My research engages within the complexities of shipping as a main driver of globalisation, and how it affects small Pacific island nations and communities, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu. I have held conversations with seafaring men and women and their families in their home environments and spent time travelling with seafarers on board a containership to understand these complexities.


Contact details

  • Location: SST 3.22, Social Science Tower, 3rd Floor
    Campus: Turitea


  • PhD - University of Canterbury (2003)
  • MSc - University of Cologne, Germany (1996)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Pacific communities, mobilities and mobile livelihoods, migration and refugees, shipping and marine training, youth and employment, community development, participatory research methods

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Human Geography (160400): Other Studies in Human Society (169900): Social and Cultural Geography (160403): Studies In Human Society (160000): Studies of Pacific Peoples' Societies (169905)


Mobilities and mobile livelihoods, migration,Pacific community development, seafarers, Marine training and employment, participatory methods

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 4

Consultancy and Languages


  • 2004 - East Asia Human Development Sector Unit, The World Bank
    Social Protection Specialist on missions to Kiribati and the Marshall Islands
  • 2006 - Pacific Island Forum Secretariat
    Contracted to assess employment opportunities for Kiribati and Tuvalu
  • April 2014 - August 2014 - Analytic Matters Ltd
    Subcontracted to complete an evaluation on the Marine Training Centre in Kiribati for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


  • English
    Last used: Today
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • German
    Last used: Last week
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 1 1
CoSupervisor 1 2


131.121 Rich World, Poor World: The Making of the Third World

131.221 Contemporary Development Issues

121.311 Global Environmental Issues

131.701 Development and Underdevelopment

131.706 Development and Globalisation

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Axel Malecki - PhD
    Diaspora knowledge networks (DKNs) and their contribution to development: Tracing and exploring the ambivalences and (repoliticising) side effects of the Chilean diaspora organisation Chile Global

CoSupervisor of:

  • Amie Townsend - PhD
    Human trafficking in Mindanao: personal accounts and local perspectives

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2015 - Dennis Graham Rockell - PhD
    Pacific Island Labour Programmes in New Zealand: an aid to Pacific Island Development ? A critical Lens on the Recognised Seasonal Employer-Policy

CoSupervisor of:

  • 2015 - Peter Sherwin Cole - PhD
    The role of energy supply in the shaping of development prospects in small & isolated Pacific Island communities-past,present & future
  • 2007 - Nawal El-Gack - PhD
    Participatory Approaches to Development: An Analysis of the Experiences of Development Projects in Sudan

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