School of People, Environment and Planning

New Zealand’s largest multi-disciplinary university social science unit – Massey's School of People, Environment and Planning.

Overview

We offer study options in nine disciplines. Our research breaks new ground for communities, the nation, the Pacific and the globe. At the heart of our study options are challenging questions:

  • How should we live together?
  • How do we shape the natural, built and social environments that we live in?
  • How do these shape us?
  • How can we do better?

Our connections, engagement and profile make the School’s staff among the most public academics in the country.

Research and teaching within the School spans multiple areas and methodologies, including:

  • anthropology
  • defence and security studies
  • development studies
  • environmental studies
  • geography
  • geospatial science
  • politics and international relations
  • museum studies
  • resource and environmental planning
  • sociology.

How we fit

The School of People, Environment and Planning is part of the:

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Creative thinking for a changing world. It's at the heart of everything we do at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Humanities and Social Sciences Humanities and Social Sciences Humanities and Social Sciences Humanities and Social Sciences

Study with us

Choose from a range of qualifications in applied and critical social sciences. All our specialisations (majors) can also be minors. Examples include development studies and planning studies.

Explore by area of interest

Explore a selection of qualifications relating to your interests.

Study development studies

Learn how global forces shape societies round the world, and help communities overcome poverty to improve their lives and get social justice.

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Study planning

Urban and natural resource planning shapes where we live, work and play. Planning is a rewarding career helping create sustainable cities and regions.

Planning Planning Planning Planning

Study politics & society

Learn how our environment and societies operate. From geography to international relations, Massey has expert educators and respected qualifications.

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Study security & defence

Unique qualifications to protect people, borders and information. Graduates explore careers in diplomacy, intelligence, government or the armed forces.

Members of the New Zealand Defence Force unloading supplies from a helicopter. Members of the New Zealand Defence Force unloading supplies from a helicopter. Members of the New Zealand Defence Force unloading supplies from a helicopter. Members of the New Zealand Defence Force unloading supplies from a helicopter.

Study sustainability

Help people, businesses and government manage resources wisely for a sustainable, prosperous future for the planet.

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Who we are

Our people make us who we are. Meet senior leaders in the School of People, Environment and Planning.

Dr Trisia Farrelly

Dr Trisia Farrelly

Postgraduate Coordinator School of People, Environment and Planning

Dr Trisia Farrelly is a Senior Lecturer in the School. She is an environmental anthropologist, political ecologist, activist, and plastic pollution campaigner. Trisia is a finalist in 2021's Women of Influence Awards for her achievements in the environmental sector.

Dr William Hoverd

Dr William Hoverd

PhD, MA, BCA, BA(Hons)
Director – Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS)

Will Hoverd is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, a research and educational partnership between Massey and key government agencies in international security. He has a specific interest in critical research into New Zealand security issues and religious diversity.

Research

Alongside teaching, research sits at the centre of our identity as academics. As a diverse community of scholars, we aim to contribute to the understanding, analysis and resolution of:

  • local and global issues such as housing access, urban transport, and the effects of COVID-19 on different societies
  • questions such as how to best protect our border from biosecurity threats, and how to plan for climate change impacts
  • megatrends such as food security, inequality, and marine plastic pollution.

People-focused researchers

We are committed to working in partnership and with a sense of responsibility toward the people we conduct research with and for. We will contribute to an understanding of the complex world and its diverse peoples and communities.

Creating a just and sustainable world

By combining research insights and critical rigour with an ethics of care, we aim to develop the knowledge and wisdom needed to create a just and sustainable world. We also have a responsibility to nurture the next generation of researchers, and are committed to supporting and mentoring postgraduates and early career researchers into the academy.

Resources for research

Accessing resources for research is essential for our ambition. To attract external research funding, we will:

  • develop our skills
  • access support from others, and
  • work collaboratively to improve our success.

Research clusters

Examples of how our people create and share knowledge.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) research

Several Massey research centres and networks focus on sustainability, and on the UN's SDGs. Our researchers recognise sustainability is important in all human activity and branches of knowledge.

SDGs include gender equality, peace and justice, sustainable cities and more.

Sustainability research and projects

Security Politics Development Network

The network examines the dynamics between security, political and development issues in the Asia-Pacific. Focus areas include:

  • fragile environments
  • security sector development and governance
  • post-conflict peace support and development programmes.

Read more about the Security Politics Development Network

Research centres

Explore a selection of opportunities for academic research within our department.

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Centre for Defence and Security Studies

The Centre for Defence & Security Studies offers academic qualifications in security and defence studies – undergraduate to postgraduate, including PhDs. We have research and educational partnerships with several New Zealand government agencies.

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Political Ecology Research Centre

Dr Trisia Farrelly and Dr Sy Taffel

The Centre is dedicated to connecting groups and individuals whose work emphasises and critiques the relationships between society, environment and politics. PERC members study, teach, research and/or practise political ecology.

Research projects

Explore a selection of our research projects, including two recently awarded grants from the Marsden Fund Te Pūtea Rangahau.

Massey researchers awarded Te Pūtea Rangahau funding

Reimagining South Pacific tourism post-pandemic

This project explores how Indigenous people involved in tourism have been impacted by, and responded to, COVID-19. It also looks at how tourism can be re-imagined in more sustainable and equitable ways, specifically by building on Indigenous knowledge.

Reimagining South Pacific tourism post-pandemic

Farm Next Door local food study

Associate Professor Sita Venkateswar

Science, social science and business researchers have been part of a regional initiative, Farm Next Door, to understand and collaborate with a network of small-scale growers who farm sustainably, organically, or regeneratively to earn income from their land and supply produce for the community. The project is about having a deeper understanding of this growing movement and shifting mindsets around food production.

Research focus on Taranaki’s sustainable food producers

Samting I narakain: Understanding change in the Pacific from the inside

Professor Glenn Banks

Notions of climate refugees and disappearing islands pervade predictions of Pacific futures. Yet local Pacific knowledges have largely been marginalised in academic and policy discussions. This research, led by palagi and Pacific researchers, will produce co-constructed understandings of change. We will recruit Pacific research students, and use Pacific research methodologies and creative and culturally responsive community-based methods.

Volunteer overseas – UniVol programme

VSA’s UniVol programme is a collaboration between VSA and Otago, Victoria, Massey and Auckland universities. The programme, which has been operating since 2007, provides opportunities for selected candidates to volunteer overseas while contributing to capacity building and international development. It also provides personal and professional development opportunities for these candidates.

UniVol

Accreditations and rankings

New Zealand Planning Institute

Massey's planning degrees have been accredited by the New Zealand Planning Institute – Te Kokiringa Taumata for decades.

Learn more

QS Ranking - Development Studies

Massey is ranked in the world's top 50 universities for development studies in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

QS Ranking - Geography

Massey is ranked in the world's top 200 universities for geography in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

QS Ranking - Sociology

Massey is ranked in the world's top 300 universities for sociology by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Learn more

QS Ranking - Environmental Sciences

Massey University’s environmental sciences programme is ranked in the top 350 in the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Learn more

Social media

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Contact the School of People, Environment and Planning

School of People, Environment and Planning – Auckland campus

Location

Physical address
School of People, Environment and Planning
Massey University
Atrium Building
Gate 1, Dairy Flat Highway
Albany 0632
Auckland North

Postal address
School of People, Environment and Planning
Massey University
Private Bag 102 904
Auckland North 0745
New Zealand

Use our Auckland campus maps or find us on Google Maps.

School of People, Environment and Planning – Manawatū campus

Location

Physical address
School of People, Environment and Planning
Massey University
Level 2 & 3 Social Science Tower
Manawatū Campus
Palmerston North

Postal address
School of People, Environment and Planning
Massey University (PN331)
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North 4442
New Zealand

Use our Manawatū campus maps or find us on Google Maps.

School of People, Environment and Planning – Wellington campus

Location

Physical address
School of People, Environment and Planning
Massey University
Block 7
Entrance F, Tasman Street
Mt Cook
Wellington

Use our Wellington campus maps or find us on Google Maps.