PhD study provides scholars with an unparalleled learning opportunity to look in depth over several years into a particular topic area. While this experience is unique, it also brings with it a range of challenges. 

PhD study also provides scholars with an unparalleled learning opportunity to look in depth over several years into a particular topic area. While this experience is unique, it also brings with it a range of challenges. My goal as a PhD supervisor is to maximise the learning and discovery aspects of a PhD but at the same time balancing this with the practicalities of conducting a research process and completing the dissertation.

Supervision Interests

  • Social theory applications to alcohol and drug issues.
  • Innovative approaches to alcohol and drug issues.
  • The dynamics of addictions within family contexts.
  • The social and political impacts of the expansion of commercialized gambling.
  • Discourse approaches to violence, abuse and neglect.
  • Language and rhetoric applications to health issues

Studying PhDs at the University of Auckland

  • PhD study follows the Scottish rather than North American structure where the scholar is wholly assessed on a dissertation.
  • Before enrolling in a PhD, candidates need to find two supervisors for their project and they will need to develop a proposal that outlines in detail the nature of the research and their suitability for undertaking that project. The proposal is submitted to a Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences committee for approval.
  • Scholars enrol first in a “provisional year” which will require them to complete a set of tasks that usually includes a literature review, a paper for journal submission and a seminar presentation.
  • PhD Scholars in our school are provided with a workspace, access to a computer and internet, access to phones and photocopiers and are encouraged to join in with the academic and social life of the school.

More information about doctoral study

My Approach to PhD Supervision

  • I consider the relationship between teacher/supervisor and student as forming the central axis that enables learning. The quality of what is effectively a professional relationship cannot be taken for granted and requires constant attention and review.
  • In my teaching I seek to establish an open, caring and well-bounded relationship with students, inviting students at all stages to express concerns and provide feedback.
  • My approach to PhD supervision illustrates how I make use of feedback to enhance relationships.
  • At the end of each year I organize for the scholar and supervisors to review the strengths and weaknesses of the supervisory process and then to identify ways any issues might be addressed. This process has helped identify a number of key changes that have helped PhD projects move forward positively into the next year.
I found Peter to be a particularly warm and supportive supervisor who made it easy for me to approach him for advice and expertise.  His relaxed and friendly manner made it possible for me to ask what I often referred to him as “the most silly and daft questions”!
PhD Scholar IL. Completed 2001

PhD Scholars

  • Annabel Prescott. Wasted Education: An Exploratory Study of  the Development and Implementation in School Drug Policy in Secondary Schools. Completed 2020. [Main supervisor with Robyn Dixon in Nursing]. Read more
  • Cristy Trewartha. Measuring Community Mobilisation. Completed 2020. [Main supervisor for final 2 years with Robyn Dixon in nursing]. Read more
  • Rodrigo Javier Romalho Vera. Naturalizing Non-Smoking: A Grounded Theory Study of Smoking Cessation. Completed 2019. Awarded UOA International Scholarship.  [Main supervisor with Peter Huggard from the School of Population Health and Karen Hoare from the School of Nursing]. Currently teaching at the School of Population Health. Read more
  • Jacqueline Liggins. A Place for Healing in Mental Health Care and Recovery. Completed 2017. Awarded HRC Training Fellowship. [Main supervisor with Robin Kearns from School for the Environment] Currently a senior psychiatrist as Counties-Manukau DHB. Read More.
  • Lana Perese. You Bet Your Life… And Mine: Contemporary Samoan Gambling in New Zealand. Enrolled October 2001. Awarded HRC Post-graduate Scholarship. [Principle Supervisor with Timothy McCreanor from Psychology and Melani Anae in Pacific Studies]. Currently working as a researcher. Read more
  • Ronald Ma. Musically-Driven Mental Health Promotion: To Increase Well-being of the Burmese Community.  [Principle supervisor during final year, previously supervised by Helen Warren]. Moved to Australia. Read more.
  • Justin Pulford. Treatment-Fit: A Novel Response to Unilateral Exit in a Psychosocial-Based Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Context. Enrolled 2002, completed 2007. [Principle supervisor with Janie Sheridan in Pharmacy]. Currently pursuing a research career in global health. Read more.
  • Fiona Rossen. Adolescent Gambling in New Zealand: An Exploration of Protective and Risk Factors.  Enrolled 2000, completed 2007. [Principle Supervisor with Robyn Dixon in Nursing]. Read more
  • Jacquie Kidd. Aroha Mai: Nurses, Nursing and Mental Illness. Contributed to supervision in final year. Completed 2007. [Mary Finlayson Principle Supervisor in Nursing]. Jacquie is currently pursuing an academic career. Read more
  • Vili Nosa. Alcohol Behaviours & Beliefs Amongst Niuean Migrants in Auckland, NZ and Niue. Enrolled June 1997, completed 2004. Awarded HRC Post-graduate Scholarship. [Principle supervisor]. Currently associate professor in Pacific Health in the School of Population Health. Find out more
  • Sara Bennett. A Qualitative Investigation of Young Person’s Suicide Attempts: Resiliency & Paths to Well-being.Enrolled 1998, completed 2001. Awarded ALAC Post-graduate Scholarship. [Co-supervisor with Carolyn Coggan in Community Health]. Read more
  • Marewa Glover. Reducing Maori Smoking: Elements of an Effective Intervention. Enrolled July 1996, completed November 2000. Awarded HRC Post-graduate Scholarship. [Principle supervisor]. Winner of Faculty prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation 2002.  Read more
  • Lisa Chant. Hauora Kotahitanga: Maori Health Experiences as Models for Co-operative Co-existence between Indigenous and Non-indigenous Peoples. [Supervised final year. Main Supervisor Tim Tenbensel in Health Systems]. Read More.
  • Ian Lambie. Resiliency in Prevention of the Victim-Offender Cycle in Male Sexual Abuse. Enrolled April 1994, completed June 1998. Awarded ACC Post-graduate Scholarship. [Co-supervisor with Fred Seymour in Psychology]. Winner of international prize for research on sexual abuse. Currently professor at the University of Auckland in clinical psychology. Read more
  • Loma Hector-Taylor. Loneliness, Somatisation, and Visits to the Doctor: Relationships Amongst these Variables in a 60 plus Age Group. Enrolled May 1994, completed March 1998. [Principle supervisor]. Loma practiced as a clinical psychologist and has since retired.
  • Wenli Zhang on Chinese gambling
  • Alison Schneller, Community Compulsory Treatment Orders
  • Katherine Robaina, Relationship building between government and industry actors
  • Melissa-Jade Gregan, Connecting places and relationship building in industry influence
  • Lloyd Johns, Masculinity, violence and alcohol
  • Marianne Grbin, Narratives of evidence in medicinal cannabis legislation
  • Oliver Birch, Neoliberal constructions of addiction
  • Paul Ware, Social cohesion and responses to COVID 19
To be developed