NZ Population Conference 2021 – Population beyond the pandemic: Demographic trends, health, wellbeing and inequalities

Due to the shift to Alert Level 4, NZPopCon has been postponed. We will update this page with the new date as soon as it becomes available.

Click here for the draft programme

Click here to register for the conference.

Note: Ordinary PANZ membership is only $30. It is worth joining up to take advantage of the PANZ member rate. Click here for the PANZ membership form. 


Note: Early Bird registration is now closed. Standard rates apply.
Standard registration for both days (PANZ members) $400.00
Standard registration for both days (Non-members) $600.00
Standard registration for one day (PANZ members) $250.00
Standard registration for one day (Non-members) $375.00
Standard registration for one day (Full time students and unwaged) $25.00
Standard registration for both days (Full time students and unwaged) $40.00
Conference Dinner $75.00

The Population Association of New Zealand invites you to the biennial New Zealand Population Conference (#NZPopCon). Welcoming a wide range of interdisciplinary social science researchers, the conference this year is co-sponsored by Auckland University’s School of Population Health. 

Speakers confirmed

Keynote session day 1: Population health ‘beyond the Pandemic’

Professor Papaarangi Reid (Head of Maori Health) and Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga (Associate Dean Pacific) from Auckland University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences are our conference’s opening keynotes. They have been leading voices in the Maori and Pasifika public health response to the Covid-19 crisis. This session will be chaired by Dr Karlo Mila, award-winning poet and Pasifika mental health expert.


Keynote session day 2: Inequality and Climate Change

Speakers for the second day address some of the biggest social and global issues of our time. Professor Girol Karacaoglu, Head of the School of Government at VUW and former Chief Economist of the NZ Treasury, who has recently written in support of universal basic services, will talk about how to tackle intergenerational inequality, while Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem from Auckland University’s Pacific Studies department offers her expertise on the existential threats of climate change and what it means for the Pacific region.


Special talk: Black November – Individual Death Records and the 1918 Influenza pandemic in New Zealand

Historian Geoff Rice, Emeritus Professor at the University of Canterbury, will talk about how he used individual death records for his influential book Black November (1988), which highlighted the immense impact of the pandemic on Māori, and was used to help shape New Zealand’s Pandemic Plan.


After-dinner speaker, Day 1: Finding comedy in post-pandemic demographic crises

Perlina Lau developed and starred in hit TVNZ dystopian comedy show Creamerie, about a post-pandemic society focused on ‘Wellness’, in which cisgender men have been largely wiped out by the contagion. A show which seemed suspiciously timed to go to air during an actual global pandemic.


About our speakers 

Professor Papaarangi Reid is Tumuaki and Head of Department of Maori Health at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in the University of Auckland.  She holds science and medical degrees from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in public health medicine. She has tribal affiliations to Te Rarawa in the Far North of Aotearoa and her research interests include analysing disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to Indigenous rights.






Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga is the inaugural Associate Dean (Pacific) and Associate Professor of Public Health at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in the University of Auckland. He is a Public Health Medicine Specialist with extensive experience in leadership, management, public policy, research and public health in New Zealand, the Pacific region and internationally. He was the Director General of the Pacific Community based in New Caledonia for seven years until December 2019. Associate Professor Tukuitonga is also the New Zealand Heart Foundation Chief Advisor Pacific, government appointee to the NZ Health Quality & Safety Commission board and member of the NZ College of Public Health Medicine Council.  He has previously led the NZ Ministry of Pacific Affairs and worked with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.  He is a Niuean New Zealander and strong advocate for improving health and wellbeing of Pacific people in the region.




Professor Girol Karacaoglu is the Head of the School of Government of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. He joined VUW from the New Zealand Treasury, where he was Chief Economist. Before this, he was the Chief Executive of the Co-operative Bank of New Zealand for nine years. His previous roles included General Manager at Westpac NZ, Chief Economist at the National Bank of NZ, and lecturer in Economics at Victoria University of Wellington. His current research interest is in public policy – an integrated approach to economic, environmental and social policies towards improving intergenerational wellbeing.






­­Associate Professor Yvonne Te Ruki Rangi o Tangaroa Underhill-Sem is a Cook Island, Niuean, New Zealander with close family ties to Papua New Guinea. Her research circulates around maternities, mobilities and markets and she publishes in the broad areas of gender and development, Pacific development and feminist political ecology. She is Associate Professor in Pacific Studies, at Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Maori Studies and Pacific Studies), University of Auckland and also teaches Development Studies. She was Director of Development Studies from 2007 to 2014 and Director of the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Development (NZIPR) from 2017-2018.  Before she joined the University of Auckland in 2004, Yvonne taught at University of Papua New Guinea and briefly at Australian National University; and worked as a development expert at the Africa Caribbean Pacific Secretariat in Brussels; and, while living in Papua New Guinea and Samoa, was the Pacific Co-ordinator for the global feminist research network (DAWN).




Emeritus Professor Geoff Rice is best known for his detailed studies of the 1918 influenza pandemic and its effect on New Zealand and Japan, as well as his studies of the local history of Christchurch. His book Black November (1988; second edition 2005) was the first country-level study of the 1918 influenza pandemic based on individual death records. He was general editor for the 2nd edition of the Oxford History of New Zealand.






Perlina Lau currently presents RNZ World Watch, and stars in the 2021 TVNZ comedy Creamerie. Perlina began her screen career with the web series Flat3 in 2013, going on to co-star in follow-up Friday Night Bites, which was nominated for two New Zealand Television Awards. She has worked for BBC News, for Paul Henry’s morning show, and TV3’s Story.







Dr Karlo Mila is a New Zealand-born poet of Tongan and Pākehā descent with ancestral connections to Samoa. She is currently Programme Director of Mana Moana, Leadership New Zealand. This leadership programme is based on her postdoctoral research on harnessing indigenous language and ancestral knowledge from the Pacific to use in contemporary leadership contexts. Karlo received an MNZM in 2019 for services to the Pacific community and as a poet, received a Creative New Zealand Contemporary Pacific Artist Award in 2016, and was selected for a Creative New Zealand Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Residency in Hawaii in 2015.