Professor Francis L Collins

Director, Te Ngira: Institute for Population Research

Qualifications: BA(hons) Sociology, MA Sociology, PhD Geography

Personal Website:

Research Interests

I am a Professor of Geography at the University of Waikato and the current Director of the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (2018-2022). My research focuses on geographically and sociologically informed accounts of international migration, population change and urban transformation. I have had a particular focus on developing theoretically-informed and empirically rich accounts of the experiences, mobility patterns and regulation of international migration in the Asia Pacific region, as well as exploring the contribution of migrants to urban life and the transformation of cities. This body of research includes: emotional drivers and governance of migration; labour migration, marginalisation and exploitation; racism and employment; international students and urban transformation; and higher education and the globalisation of cities.

Current Supervision

Byron Williams (PhD in Sociology, University of Waikato) - African community experiences of racism in the rental housing market

Youjeong Jang (PhD in Geography, University of Waikato) - Multicultural and Intercultural City Policy Mobilities in South Korea

Zohirul Islam (PhD in Population Studies, University of Waikato) - Temporary Migration and Income Inequality in New Zealand

Joke Methorst (PhD in Geography, University of Waikato) - Socio-spatial dynamics of digital nomads in Ubud, Bali

Kate Sewell (PhD in Geography, University of Waikato) - Power, Politics and Participation in Hong Kong's Urban Regeneration

Rachael Cowie (PhD in Geography, University of Auckland) - Creative Spatial Practices in Post-disaster Urban Regeneration

Yu Shi (PhD in Geography, University of Auckland) - Cooking a Nation: ethnic migratory chefs and New Zealand state aspirations

Current and recently completed projects:

WERO: Working to End Racial Oppression (2020-2025)

  • Theme Leader: Racism and Inequality in Employment
  • Funded by: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Endeavour Research Fund

Racism, as a social structure that underpins forms of interpersonal and institutional discrimination, has had deleterious effects on Aotearoa New Zealand, evident in inequitable outcomes across almost every indicator of wellbeing, including those within health, education, housing, employment and justice. Working to End Racial Oppression is an interdisciplinary research programme that investigates the costs of racism, the systems that produce and reproduce racism, and transformative responses to reduce racism.

In addition to collating and communicating extant evidence of racial inequalities across multiple domains, the costs of racism will be investigated through specific projects analysing: income distribution over time; employment outcomes; housing disadvantage; geospatial segregation and exposure to environmental risk; and the impact of racism on health education and training, and health systems.

Systems through which racism is (re)produced will also be identified through analyses of: the settler colonial racialisation of differentially positioned communities of colour (including tangata whenua, tangata Moana, and migrants of colour); the maintenance of settler colonial narratives through national commemorations; the role of privileged populations in excluding racialised minorities; the significance of employment and housing systems in maintaining inequalities; and the role of technologies ( media) in exacerbating inequalities.

Finally, responses to racism will include (but not be limited to) the development and dissemination of: toolkits to audit and address institutional racism; protocols to promote inclusive online communication; strategies for building relationships between racialised communities; and guidelines for the ethical remembering of New Zealand history.

The programme assembles knowledge experts in Māori studies, health, Pacific studies, immigration, economics, data science, human geography, sociology and psychology, and will amplify innovation by bringing these knowledge systems into dialogue, towards the transformational long-term agenda of ending racial oppression in Aotearoa.

Nation and Migration: population mobilities, desire and state practices in 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand (2015-2021)

  • Principal Investigator
  • Funded by: Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Royal Society Te Apārangi

The Nation and Migration programme of research re-examines the relationship between nation and migration in the current context of increasing mobility, temporariness ad circularity through three studies that address the changing patterns of migration into New Zealand, the trans-Tasman mobility of New Zealanders, and the role of migration in governmental imaginings and enactments of national futures.

CaDDANZ: Capturing the Diversity Dividend in Aotearoa/New Zealand (2014-2021)

  • Science Leader (2018-2021)
  • Funded by: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Research Fund

CaDDANZ investigates how Aotearoa New Zealand can better prepare for an increasingly diverse population. The research measures, maps and analyses the complex societal impacts of diversity and the implications for businesses, households and communities of mobility, migration, indigeneity, ethnic identity, demographic change (including structural ageing and fertility) and urban/regional disparities. A significant component of the research is concerned with the implications of diversity for Māori and with how Māori engage in diversity. The research programme is comprehensive, multi-phased and organised around three themes: ethno-demographic diversity; societal impacts and opportunities; and institutional implications and responses.

Healthy Diversity? Urban diversity and the potential of workplace encounters (2017-2019)

  • Principal Investigator
  • Funded by: Faculty Research Development Fund, University of Auckland

The Healthy Diversity? project explores workplace encounters with diversity with a specific focus on hospitals. The project examines the interactions between ethnically and culturally diverse staff and patients in a District Health Board in Aotearoa New Zealand, including examining how the DHB’s diversity policies and programmes shaped interactions. The overall aim is to understand what potential and challenges there are in advancing deeper understanding and respect for differences through regular contact in sites of significant diversity, informed also by strategic diversity management, and the implications on enabling more meaningful forms of inclusion and belonging.

Drivers of Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation in New Zealand (2019)

  • Co-Principal Investigator
  • Contract research for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Migrant exploitation is the unjust and often illegal utilisation of migrants for the extraction of profit in a range of circumstances including in labour, accommodation, provision of migration services, and education, amongst others. For this research, we were tasked with providing an understanding of what the exploitation of temporary migrant workers looks like in New Zealand. We explored exploitation, firstly from the migrant’s perspective, and secondly, from the perspective of key stakeholders, including unions, community leaders, migrant representatives, and lawyers. The research was published in a report available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and has contributed insights informing changes to policy governing temporary work visas and the enforcement of labour standards.

My research is published in a range of national and international journals and as books and edited collections. In 2013, I co-edited the book Migration and Diversity in Asian Contexts (ISEAS Publishing) with Lai Ah Eng and Brenda Yeoh, one of the first volumes to address the intersection of migratory processes and diverse social contexts in Asia. Subsequently, I authored Global Asian City: desire, migration and the politics of encounter in 21st century Seoul (Wiley 2018) and co-edited Intersections of Inequality, Migration and Diversification: the politics of mobility in Aotearoa New Zealand (Palgrave 2020) with Rachel Simon-Kumar and Wardlow Friesen and most recently the Handbook on Transnationalism with Brenda Yeoh. I have also been involved in editing a number of special issues of journals, including: Migration Methodologies in Asia (Area 2012); Globalising higher education and cities in Asia and the Pacific (Asia Pacific Viewpoint 2014); Aspirations, Desire and the Drivers of Migration (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 2018); and Discrepant Knowledge and InterAsian Mobilities (Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 2018).


About Me

Email: [email protected]
Room: K.3.05
Phone: +64-7-8384645


Geography; Globalisation; Human Geography; Labour Market; Migration; Population Studies; Social Science Research; Sociology

Racism and Employment; Cities and Urbanism; South Korea

Recent Publications

  • Collins, F. L., & Friesen, W. (2022). Excess aspirations: Migration and urban futures in post-earthquake Christchurch. Urban Studies, 004209802211059. doi:10.1177/00420980221105982

  • Collins, F. L. (2022). Geographies of migration II: Decolonising migration studies. Progress in Human Geography, 030913252211008. doi:10.1177/03091325221100826

  • Yeoh, B. S. A., & Collins, F. L. (2022). Introduction to Handbook on Transnationalism. In Handbook on Transnationalism (pp. 1-28). Edward Elgar.

  • Yeoh, B. S. A., & Collins, F. L. (Eds.) (2022). Handbook on Transnationalism. Edward Elgar. doi:10.4337/9781789904017

Find more research publications by Francis Collins

Papers I Teach

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: K.3.05
Phone: +64-7-8384645