Current research in hospitality, tourism and events

The School of Hospitality and Tourism has a broad range of research activities. On this page we provide a sample of the research currently being done by school academic staff.


Dr Alison Booth: Cultural events, communities and quality of life

Dr Alison Booth is exploring the processes and relationships that support the production of cultural events and community empowerment. She has research collaborations, publications and membership with the International Association for Popular Music, the Society of Ethnomusicology (USA), NZ/AUS Association of Leisure Studies and the NZ Indian Research Institute.

Alison a co-researcher on an international research project (Quality of Life and family festival engagement), with senior academics at the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and Rotorua Lakes Council.

Her current postgraduate supervision includes projects on the role of Gurdwaras in the intergenerational transmission of Punjabi among young Sikh Immigrants and the elderly in palliative care, and the impact of music and improving quality of life.

Prof. Alison Macintosh on the health benefits of travel

Prof. Alison Macintosh on the health benefits of travel: The study will examine the motivations, challenges and opportunities of tourism businesses that are specially designed to provide improved experiences to tourists that have a life-threatening or terminal illness, as well as the experiences of people who travel with these businesses.

Watching dolphin watchers

Professor Michael Lück and post-doctoral fellow Dr Brooke Porter, together with Dr Bart Neuts, currently work on pelagic bird tours in New Zealand. There is very little research on seabird tourism, and thus a primary focus is on profiling "the pelagic bird tourist", to gain a better understanding about the background, interest, and specialisation of these birders. A second study, looking at motivations and experiences of pelagic bird watchers in-depth, is currently in the planning stage.

Michael, together with Brooke and Dr Krista Hupman (NIWA) are also completing a study investigating the on-tour experiences of tourists on dolphin watch tours in Kaikoura and Auckland. In particular, their focus is on the interpretation and education on these tours, which builds on Michael's work in Kaikoura, Akaroa and Paihia a few years ago.

Dr Claire Liu's current research

Dr Claire Liu is undertaking several research projects in the area of Chinese outbound tourism market and tourism education. Current projects include:

  • Using qualitative research methods, the Chinese self-drive tourism market was explored in terms of motivation and behaviours for taking self-drive holidays overseas
  • Co-editing a book "Tourism Education and Asia" to be published in 2018 with Dr Heike Schänzel from the School of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Slow tourism and the growing Chinese FIT tourist market.

Leisure value and amenities in coastal and mountain communities

Dr Massimo Morellato is currently exploring patterns of leisure consumption in coastal and mountain destinations in New Zealand with an attention on community and tourism development under a more sustainable use of natural, cultural and recreational resources. His investigation on ski areas focuses on skiers' perceptions and the ski areas attributes that influence the tourism/leisure experiences at different ski resorts and club fields in New Zealand.

Massimo's research interest include the evolving ski demand and the developing ski industry, the attitude and preferences of different skiers, how the unique and heterogeneous ski areas are experienced and managed.

Massimo's work on the coastal community of Muriwai, New Zealand aims to gain a better understanding of the role of leisure amenities in nurturing community development and attracting tourists as well as 'costal commuters' and life-style migrants. Dr Massimo Morellato is also currently involved in supervising a postgraduate research project on Scuba Diving experience in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Food culture, dining out, food in New Zealand, cynicism and altruism

As a food sociologist, Lindsay Neill keenly researches contemporary restaurant, food and beverage culture not only within Aotearoa New Zealand but also within wider western hospitality frameworks.

This interest has generated research projects examining vernacular food culture in New Zealand, how pie carts have come to reflect New Zealand's nostalgic 'golden summer', how the humble meat pie has incorporated contemporary New Zealand identities, and how, within a four nation project, constructs of altruism and cynicism impact the world view schemas of undergraduate students.

Lindsay has published widely in academic journals and is the author of two books; The Great New Zealand Pie Cart and The New Zealand Chef. In 2014 Lindsay headed the Food Studies Research Group. This group went onto win the Vice-chancellors Team Research award for that year.

Tourism and hospitality dimensions of families and gender issues

Dr Heike Schänzel is currently involved in several research projects relating to children, families and gender issues. She is passionate about better understanding family fun (along with the avoidance of conflict) and the facilitation of sociality and meaningful experiences within the context of tourism and hospitality. Current research interests include:

  • Consumption and Intergenerational Relationships; a project on grandtravel (grandparents and grandchildren) with Aalborg University in Denmark, Gothenburg University in Sweden, University of Edinburgh Business School in Scotland and University of Tampere in Finland
  • Research project on understanding the family ski experiences at Sun Peaks Resort in Canada with Thompson Rivers University, Canada and University College of Southern Norway
  • Book project on masculinities in the research field of tourism with Dr Brooke Porter (AUT) and Dr Joseph Cheer (Monash University)
  • Conceptualisation of masculinities and fatherhood within the gender debate in tourism with Professor John Jenkins (Southern Cross University)

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