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Development agency backs Massey research

Monday, August 25, 2008
Development agency backs Massey research on mining and tourism

Massey development studies staff have won two of the four inaugural research grants awarded by the New Zealand Agency for International Development.

The agency established the international development research fund conduct and disseminate research likely to improve development policy and practice in the Pacific.

It is particularly interested in projects involving collaborative research with academics from developing countries.

Associate Professor Regina Scheyvens has been awarded $34,000 to conduct research on Sharing the Riches of Tourism.

Dr Scheyvens will examine how tourism could more effectively contribute to poverty reduction in Fiji and Vanuatu.

“Research up until now has tended to focus on the negative impacts of tourism, but the locals really want to make it work for themselves,” she says. “We’ll study how that can happen in the pacific and look at models that have worked in the past in places like the Caribbean.”

She will work with Associate Professor Azmat Gani of the University of the South Pacific and two Pacific Island graduate students.

Associate Professor Glenn Banks, also awarded $34,000, will work with Dr Bill Sagir of the University of Papua New Guinea on mining and community development in Papua New Guinea.

“The mining companies all have community development arms, but evaluation of them hasn’t really happened,” Dr Banks says. “We’ll be going to a number of mines to see how they’re engaging with the local people, investigating the negative impacts mining is having but also the benefits locals gain.”

Dr Scheyvens says the two projects will help build partnerships with other academics in the Pacific.

“Worked into the grants is funding for students in the countries where the research is focused, so they’ll have the opportunity to be involved in international research and get experience and mentoring.”

ends

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