Skip to Content
Contact details +64 (04) 801 5799 ext. 63080
Dr Anna Powles is a Senior Lecturer in Security Studies with the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at Massey University, in Wellington, New Zealand. She specialises in geopolitics and security in the Pacific Islands region and is concerned with how state and non-state actors are influencing the regional security order and the implications for crisis management, civil-military relations and security governance. Her current research and professional activities are focused on the New Zealand Pacific reset; the external and sub-regional dynamics shaping the regional order in the Pacific Islands, including the role of China and other actors; and New Zealand-Australian alliance relations in the Pacific. Dr Powles is on the Pacific Reset Advisory Group, an independent group advising the New Zealand Government; and works closely with the New Zealand Government including having recently held a joint Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force workshop on climate security in the Pacific; and is a frequent speaker on Pacific issues at New Zealand Government Track 1.5 dialogues.
Dr Powles is the co-founder of the Security, Politics and Development Network which focuses on cross-cutting security dynamics with respect to fragile environments, security sector development and governance, and post-conflict peace support and development programs in the Pacific region. She is also the co-investigator on a Strategic Initiative Fund research project on private security companies in the Pacific Islands and has been engaged by the United Nations Development Programme Pacific as a subject matter expert on private security sector governance in the Pacific.
Dr Powles has previously held positions as the Monitoring & Evaluation Security Sector Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme Timor Leste; the Timor-Leste Analyst with the International Crisis Group; Advisor to the Timorese Government on the GoTL’s response to the 2006 humanitarian crisis; and various consultancy positions with international NGOs including the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Action Aid and World Vision.
Recent publications include ‘Principled Engagement: Rebuilding Defence Ties with Fiji (Lowy Institute: 2016); Finding Common Ground: New Zealand and Regional Security Cooperation in the Pacific’ (APCSS: 2015); and the ‘United Nations Peacekeeping Challenge: The Importance of the Integrated Approach’ (Routledge: 2015).
She holds a doctorate from the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and is an Alumni of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. Anna has elementary proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia and Tetun.
Dr Powles specialises in security in the Pacific Islands region: specifically how state and non-state actors are changing the regional security order and the implications for crisis management. Over the past five years her research has responded to the need to reconsider the nature of security in the Pacific, including security sector governance, regional security architecture and the changing regional order and the role of regional and external actors in shaping and influencing regional security in the Pacific Islands. She is a member of the Pacific Reset Group (an independent advisory body) and Co-Director, Security, Politics and Development Network.
Dr Anna Powles' research interests are::
Current Research Projects:
1. Private Security Sector Governance in the Pacific Islands region
Dr Powles is a co-lead investigator with Associate Professor Beth Greener on a Massey University Strategic Initiative Fund research project on private security sector governance in the Pacific Islands. She is also working with with the United Nations Development Programme and the Pacific Islands Forum as a subject matter expert on private security governance in the Pacific.
2. New Zealand Policy in the Pacific Islands region
This research examines New Zealand foreign and security policies towards the Pacific Islands region. The findings will be published in 2018 and will include a co-authored manuscript and two sole-authored chapters.
21st Century Citizenship
Field of research codes
Defence Studies (160604): International Relations (160607): Political Science (160600): Studies In Human Society (160000)