Research Team

The project team consists of researchers from a variety of institutions and backgrounds including economics, psychology, sociology and education. These multi-disciplinary researchers bring vast knowledge, experience and perspective to the project.

Front: Mohi Rua (MPRU, Univerity of Waikato), Jane Furness (Univerity of Waikato), Gail Pacheco (NZWRI, AUT), Alexandra Turcu (NZWRI, AUT); Middle: Gemma Piercy-Cameron (Univerity of Waikato), Renae Dixon (Univerity of Waikato), Bridgette Masters-Awatere (MPRU, Univerity of Waikato), Betty Ofe-Grant (AUT); Back: Mary Hedges (AUT, NZWRI), Bill Cochrane (Univerity of Waikato), Alexander Plum (NZWRI, AUT, Kabir Dasgupta (NZWRI, AUT), Christopher Erwin (NZWRI, AUT). Not present: Stephen Reder (Portland State University), Marco Paccagnella (OECD), Lisa Meehan (NZWRI, AUT).

Pacific Research Team from the left: Miura Elikana, Eva Joseph, Daysha Tonumaipe’a, Maulupeivao Betty Ofe-Grant, Caitlin Lameko and Rose Vunileva (Lilian Vimahi is not in the photo).

  • Stephen Reder

Professor Reder (Emeritus at Portland State University) has an AB from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University. His focus is on adults’ lifelong and life-wide literacy, numeracy, digital literacy and second language development. He serves on the advisory boards of numerous
organizations and journals and works with adult education researchers, practitioners and policymakers at the local, state, national and international levels.

Dr. Paccagnella is an Analyst for the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. Marco works on the team responsible for managing the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Before joining the OECD, he worked as an economist for the Bank of Italy.

Dr Masters-Awatere has been registered and practising as a community psychologist since 2000. Her work has been focused on generating information that is useful and meaningful in the context of inequality

Dr Rua's research interests lie in community, Māori, social and Indigenous psychology. His work with the Māori and Psychology Research Unit (MPRU), draws together skilled and experienced, interdisciplinary research groups to deliver high-quality research.

Dr Furness has a background in education and psychology. A trained teacher, she is also a registered community psychologist, with over twenty years of experience in adult learning and literacy education.

Dr Piercy-Cameron is the undergraduate advisor for Sociology and Social Policy. She is a qualitative researcher interested in policy analysis, the use of interviews in gathering empirical information and auto-ethnography.

Dr Cochrane was a Research Fellow in the Population Studies Centre from 2002-2010 and continues in the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis as an Associate Researcher. William's main interests lie in Labour Economics.

Professor Gail Pacheco is the Director of the NZ Work Research Institute (NZWRI) at AUT. In 2019, she was appointed as a Commissioner at the Productivity Commission and also received the AUT Medal (AUT’s top award) for her research, scholarship and application of integrated data to help inform social
policy and wellbeing.

Dr Erwin is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the NZWRI. Prior to that, Christopher was awarded a PhD in Economics from the University of New Mexico in 2018. His major fields are econometrics and labour economics. Christopher studies a variety of issues relating to higher education, labour markets,
health, and crime.

Dr Schober is a Senior Research Fellow at the NZWRI. His research interests include health, family, and labour economics. He has extensive experience in working with administrative data and applying quantitative econometric methods. Before joining the AUT, Thomas worked for the Department of Economics at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

Dr. Plum is an applied econometrician with a focus on utilising linked administrative data (in particular the Integrated Data Infrastructure from Stats NZ).

Maulupeivao Dr Betty Ofe-Grant is a NZ-born Samoan academic of mixed heritage from South Auckland. Her quest is to generate academic research which highlights the work and cultural challenges for Pacific people (and other ethnic minorities) in the New Zealand context.

Lisa is the Associate Director (Economics and Research) of the NZWRI. She is an applied economist with extensive experience spanning the OECD, the New Zealand Treasury and Productivity Commission, and economic consulting.