Current research in hospitality, tourism and events

The Hospitable Futures Research Agenda of AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism promotes academic research that aims to have a social impact for a more hospitable and sustainable future.

The following current research initiatives are supported by the school’s strategic Hospitable Futures Research Fund.

Sustainable Workforce Research Cluster

This research group carries out research to create a sustainable hospitality and tourism workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond. By sustainable workforce, we mean a workforce composed of individuals available or engaged in work that provides dignity, recognition and fair reward (of at least a living wage) in a fiscally responsible enterprise.

We aim to contribute to government policy and industry practice to achieve an inclusive hospitality and tourism sector that provides sustainable employment to all its employees, regardless of gender and other dimensions of diversity. We collaborate with international and local sustainable workforce researchers to provide a powerful voice that advocates for sustainable workforce interests in hospitality and tourism.

Current projects in this cluster:

This cluster's academic publications

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this research contributes to:

  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Food Futures Research Cluster

The overall aim of this research cluster is to contribute to sustainable food systems in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the broader Pacific region, particularly in relation to the challenges that sustainable development presents.

Working in partnership with other like-minded researchers and organisations, we aim to support the development of resilient and regenerative food systems and to contribute to food-centric projects that promote the health and wellbeing of our communities. The long-term goal is to use food as a means to improve the quality of people's lives, their prospects and potential, and the places where they live, work and play.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this research contributes to:

  • Goal 1: no poverty
  • Goal 2: no hunger
  • Goal 3: good health and wellbeing
  • Goal 10: reducing inequalities
  • Goal 12: responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 13: climate action

Tourism For All NZ Research Group

The Tourism For All NZ Research Group champions accessible and inclusive tourism and hospitality in New Zealand. Our work recognises the citizenship rights of people with disabilities and those living with chronic or terminal illness to tourism as an inclusive leisure activity.

We carry out research to address the question of how the tourism industry, its stakeholders and academic inquiry can drive a more inclusive, responsible and sustainable future. We seek to collaborate with other researchers, stakeholders and community groups to champion accessible tourism in New Zealand, and can help with the design and delivery of accessible tourism modules.

Current projects include:

  • A priority research agenda for accessible tourism in New Zealand
  • Accessible beach tourism
  • Accessible hotel restaurants
  • Accessible museums and art galleries
  • Tourism and carers
  • Disability employment and entrepreneurship
  • Terminal illness and travel
  • Social tourism
  • Disability, tourism and sustainability

View selected research

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other articles this research contributes to:

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We're committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that emphasise the social, economic and political inclusion of people with disabilities, and the development of accessible and inclusive, safe and resilient destinations:

  • Goal 10: reducing inequalities
  • Goal 11: building sustainable cities and communities

Other UN articles

  • Articles 9 and 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that state the importance of access to transportation and the built environment, as well as the right to participate, enjoy and benefit from tourism
  • Article 7 of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Global Code of Ethics for Tourism that reinforces the right to tourism for all people

New Zealand Events Research Cluster

This research cluster aims to generate research and foster collaborations with local and international event scholars, event practitioners and policymakers to address the knowledge gap and inform the policy and practices to (re)design, (co)develop and facilitate inclusive, hospitable, and sustainable events in contribution to positive impacts on community capitals.

Our researchers are former practitioners from diverse cultures who have keen interests in:

  • Event management
  • Event tourism
  • Sports tourism
  • Serious leisure
  • Placemaking
  • Urban tourism
  • Experience design
  • Tourism risk
  • Crisis and recovery management
  • Event entrepreneurship
  • Adventure tourism
  • Performing arts
  • Leadership
  • LGBTIQA+ event (tourism)
  • Event impacts and legacies

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this research contributes to:

  • Goal 10: reducing inequalities
  • Goal 11: building sustainable cities and communities
  • Goal 12: promoting responsible consumption and production

Contact us

To find out more about our research, contact Associate Professor Shelagh Mooney, Academic Lead – Hospitable Futures Research Agenda.


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Read Hospitality Insights

Hospitality Insights is a journal published by the School of Hospitality and Tourism that provides free to access short peer-reviewed summaries of academic research for the hospitality industry and community.

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Prang Ittikul
Madeleine (Madz) Crouth
Sophie Hayden
Dianne Ma
Laura Upson