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Senior Lecturer in Security Studies, Massey University

Dr Anna Powles is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, Massey University. Her research in the Pacific is focussed on how state and non-state actors are shaping security and the intersection of geopolitics and local security dynamics. Her current research is 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 and NZ-United States partnership in the Pacific. She is an Associate Scholar with the MacMillan Brown Center for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury, and has held visiting fellowships with the East-West Center in Honolulu. She is the Director of Women in International Security (WIIS) New Zealand and was the New Zealand representative on the NATO Core Group on Women, Peace and Security (2016-18).

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.

She has worked extensively in conflict affected and emergency humanitarian contexts in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, including with the United Nations, the International Crisis Group, and international NGOs. She received her PhD from the Australian National University and is an alumni of the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies and the East-West Center in Honolulu.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Security Studies, Massey University


  • 2010 
    Australian National University, International Relations