Richard Bedford


Professor of Population Geography / Emeritus Professor

Travelling to the Pacific Islands for the first time when he was 19, Professor Richard Bedford got the bug. Not the stomach-upsetting kind you might expect from the islands but the travel bug that would see his career focus on the field of population movement with particular reference to measurement and explanation of the spatial mobility of Pacific Island peoples.

Professor Bedford is a human geographer with a special interest in population dynamics. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1971. He has held teaching and research positions at the Universities of Canterbury and Waikato before joining AUT, as well as visiting lecturer positions at the Universities of Hannover, Aachen and Gothenburg. He has also carried out research for UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Population Fund.

Research on New Zealand's international migration system led to his 1990 Commemoration Medal for services to New Zealand and his appointment as the academic adviser to the Ministerial Advisory Group on Immigration in 2000. He’s also a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a life member of the NZ Geographical Society and was awarded a Queens Service Order for services to geography in 2008.

His current research is focused on the NZ seasonal employer scheme which brings around 8000 workers, mainly from Pacific countries, to fill gaps in NZ's rural labour market. Professor Bedford has been tracking this scheme since 2006 and in 2012 is due to present a synthesis of his findings to the Department of Labour.