The Centre for Defence and Security Studies serves the public interest and promotes informed opinion by raising public awareness of security issues in New Zealand. We are committed to supporting evidence-based decision-making in the public, private and non-governmental sectors.

In keeping with the New Zealand Education Act, the Centre seeks to “respond to the needs of learners, stakeholders, and the nation in order to foster a skilled and knowledgeable population".

We work to sustain and expand our connections with public and private sector partners with the shared goal of promoting and sustaining secure and resilient societies in New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific region and the world. We work closely with our partners to ensure that our research advances security in New Zealand while honouring our obligation to be the “critic and conscience of society”.


Partner agencies

We work with our partners to ensure that we produce graduates with the know-how and skills to enter careers in which they will make meaningful contributions to New Zealand, regional and global security. 

We have ongoing relationships with:

  • New Zealand Defence Force
  • Royal Brunei Armed Forces
  • New Zealand Police
  • Ministry for Primary Industries

Staff from these agencies teach in our programmes.

Strategic Advisory Board

These agencies are represented on our advisory board which also contains chief executives from a variety of government agencies and the corporate sector. We welcome their input to the centre and our courses, which reflects their expertise in teaching and research activities covering the diverse topics in defence and security studies.

International connections

Royal Brunei Armed Forces

Since 2010 we have had a close connection with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, offering the academic programmes in International Security to residential staff at the Command and Staff College.

Multi-agency Research Network

A working group was established in 2016 comprising members from several security agencies and interest groups who have identified and agreed key strategic research priority interests.  These research priorities are informed by key strategic issues being addressed and forecast by agency representatives and they include a multitude of opportunities for research and evaluation activity. 

Concurrent work has occurred within Massey University to map security related research activity and interests across academic disciplines.

Security, Politics and Development Network

The Security, Politics and Development Network is a collaboration between the Centre for Defence and Security Studies and the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University.  It brings an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nexus between security, political and development dynamics with respect to fragile environments, security sector development and governance, and post-conflict peace support and development programmes in the Asia Pacific region.

It is intended to play a critical role bridging rigorous academic research, policy, and practice and seeks to build partnerships across universities, civil society, and government.

Psycurity Cluster

This cluster is an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies and the School of Psychology. This cluster was specifically formed to iterate the nexus between psychology and security studies. 

Responding to contemporary issues of freedom, privacy, governance and security not only makes a social contribution but opens up possibilities for Massey to be both a national and international leader of research in a new and developing area. This cluster will research questions of citizenship, identity, culture, environment, communication, technology, society, governance and government, social responsibility as well as individual, community, national and international well-being.  Read more here

175.304 The Psychology of Security

The Centre for Defence and Security Studies and the School of Psychology are jointly delivering an undergraduate course from semester two of 2018. The Psychology of Security (15 credits) is a course which explores how psychology can be utilised to improve our understanding of, and responses to, the various security challenges posed by the contemporary environment.

Women in International Security NZ (WIIS-NZ)

WIIS-NZ is hosted by the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at Massey University, Wellington Campus.  WIIS-NZ is an affiliate of Women In International Security, a global network of women and men dedicated to advancing the leadership and professional development of women in international peace and security. WIIZ-NZ was launched on International Women’s Day, March 8 2014, and seeks to contribute to and advance New Zealand’s rich history of women in the public sphere from the suffragette movement through to New Zealand’s support for UNSCR 1325 and the imperative for women to be included in peace negotiations.

The Centre also plays a valuable role in promoting discussion on defence and security issues within New Zealand and the wider international community, and is committed to becoming a recognised leader in security and defence research. 

We aim to build a research programme that generates and applies knowledge of security and defence, to advance and contribute to national, regional and global security conversations. 

National Security Conference

In April 2018 the Centre hosted a National Security Conference to address the complex regional and national security environment.  The inaugural conference was held in August 2016 in Auckland.

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