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James Cook Fellowship for research into sustainable tourism in the Pacific

Development Studies specialist Professor Regina Scheyvens has been awarded the James Cook Fellowship for 2020 in recognition of her sustained research excellence.

This prestigious award allows academics to undertake study or research in their field of endeavour for two years.

Co-director of the Pacific Research and Policy centre and head of the Development Studies programme in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Regina Scheyvens will explore ways of achieving sustainable, self-determined tourism that supports Indigenous wellbeing in the Pacific region.

"I’m delighted to be awarded this fellowship because it gives me time to devote to perhaps the most exciting research project of my career," she says.

Working alongside Dr Jason Mika, director of Te Au Rangahau MƒÅ¬Åori Business Research, and Dr Apisalome Movono, senior lecturer from the School of People, Environment and Planning, her team’s research seeks to understand how Indigenous people across the South Pacific are developing resilience in response to the economic slowdown.

Their research will analyse the policies and strategies being developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. They will hold widespread discussions/kōrero/talanoa with affected people and, on the basis of these, aim to "re-imagine tourism using Indigenous voices and concepts".

Professor Scheyvens says the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector provides a unique opportunity to rethink how tourism can more sustainably benefit Aotearoa and the Pacific.

"We’re especially focusing on those in places dependent on tourism income. We hope to be able to document the ways in which their culture underpins their approach to supporting their households and communities during difficult times, and show how this can provide a foundation of strength in the face of future unexpected events."

Massey Provost Professor Giselle Brynes says it’s wonderful to see Massey recognised in these prestigious awards.

"This fellowship is an acknowledgement of those researchers who are really forging the way in their respective fields and producing amazing outputs, so it’s fantastic to see Massey researchers once again leading the pack."

Professor Scheyvens says she and her colleagues are committed to sharing their insights with a wider audience to emphasise the importance of investing in research such as this.

"We think it’s important that we share the findings of the research with the broader public. One way that we’ll do this is through a YouTube channel on Indigenous Voices on Tourism."

Royal Society Te Apārangi President Professor Wendy Larner said the society was pleased to award fellowships to these outstanding researchers who are recognised leaders in their respective fields.

"We look forward to hearing what these talented researchers uncover with their research."

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