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Postgraduate research profiles

The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study is a collaborative project that involves a number of postgraduate students. Our lab group has a vibrant and supportive culture. This page profiles current and past postgraduate students who work on the study.

NZAVS postgraduate students

Lara Greaves

Lara Greaves, PhD Candidate and NZAVS Lab Manager, School of Psychology

Lara (Ngāti Kurī, Te Āti Awa, Ngāpuhi) is a PhD student in the School of Psychology working with the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS). She co-authored numerous scientific papers while still an undergraduate student. Lara is the NZAVS lab manager, and a core member of the management team that runs the NZAVS. Lara’s research focuses on statistically modelling longitudinal change in Māori identity, health and wellbeing, and also voting behaviour and political attitudes. Lara has a strong interest in social and political psychology. Her PhD research investigates how different aspects of Māori identity predict voting behaviour. Lara also has a particular interest in predicting political attitudes and voting behaviour in New Zealand more generally. 


Select publications

  • Greaves, L. M., Milojev, P., Stronge, S., Osborne, D., Bulbulia, J., & Sibley, C. G. (2015). Regional differences in the psychological recovery of Christchurch residents following the 2010/2011 Earthquakes: A longitudinal study. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0124278. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124278
  • Greaves, L. M., Houkamau, C., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). Māori Identity Signatures: A Latent Profile Analysis of the Types of Māori Identity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
  • Greaves, L. M., Cowie, L., Fraser, G., Muriwai, E., Zdrenka, M., Huang, T., Milojev, P., Osborne, D., Bulbulia, J., Wilson, M. S., Liu, J. H., Clouston, A., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). Regional differences and similarities in the personality of New Zealanders. New Zealand Journal of Psychology.  



Nikhil Sengupta, PhD Candidate, School of Psychology

Nikhil is a PhD candidate working with the NZAVS. Nikhil’s research aims to understand and statistically model the mechanisms through which social inequality is maintained, legitimised and challenged, with a specific focus on the psychology of members of historically disadvantaged groups. His PhD research examines how aspects of a person’s immediate and socio-historical context influence their ideologies and belief systems, thus shaping their political attitudes and behaviours. Nikhil investigates these issues using a wide range of statistical methods including Structural Equation Modelling and Latent Growth Curve Modelling. Nikhil has also led two large-scale collaborative research projects analysing data from the Quality of Life survey to explore issues of practical social relevance in New Zealand.


Select publications

  • Sengupta, N. K., & Osborne, D., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). Legitimizing one's own disadvantage: Ethnic-group differences in political and ethnic system-justification in a New Zealand sample. British Journal of Social Psychology. 
  • Sengupta, N. K., Milojev, P., Barlow, F. K., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). Ingroup friendship and political mobilization among the disadvantaged. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
  • Sengupta, N. K., & Sibley, C. G. (2013). Perpetuating one’s own disadvantage: intergroup contact enables the ideological legitimation of inequality. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1391-1403. Read the abstract.


Sam Manuela

Sam Manuela, PhD Candidate, School of Psychology and Centre for Pacific Studies

Sam is a PhD candidate working jointly with the NZAVS in the School of Psychology and in the Centre for Pacific Studies. Sam developed the Pacific Identity and Wellbeing Scale (PIWBS). This is a self-report questionnaire that assesses different aspects of identity and wellbeing specifically for Pacific peoples. Sam’s research is strongly cross-disciplinary and draws on a variety of methods from Pacific studies and psychology and statistics. Sam has a strong background in statistical methods such as Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling. His research focuses on modelling the protective effects of different aspects of Pacific identity on wellbeing and health outcomes over time for Pacific peoples in New Zealand.


Select publications

  • Manuela, S., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). The Pacific Identity and Wellbeing Scale—Revised (PIWBS-R). Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 
  • Manuela, S., & Sibley, C. G. (2013). The Pacific Identity and Wellbeing Scale (PIWBS): A culturally-appropriate self-report measure for Pacific peoples in New Zealand. Social Indicators Research, 112, 83-103.  Read the abstract
  • Manuela, S., & Sibley, C. G. (2014). Why do Pacific people with multiple ethnic affiliations have poorer subjective wellbeing? Negative ingroup affect mediates the identity tension effect. Social Indicators Research, 115, 319-336. Read the abstract

Online version of the PIWBS


Petar Milojev

Petar Milojev, PhD Candidate, School of Psychology

Petar’s research focuses on modelling levels of stability and rates of change in people’s personality, socio-political attitudes and ideology depending on changes in people’s environment and circumstances. In particular, his research has examined personality change and stability following the Christchurch earthquakes and the recent economic recession. Petar’s research employs longitudinal NZAVS data to develop longitudinal models assessing change and dynamic relationships using Bayesian Latent Growth Modelling and recently developed Bayesian models of rank-order stability. Petar also employs various other modelling tools such as an array of extensions of linear regression models, Factor Analysis, Structural Equation Modelling and Mixture Modelling. Petar is always on the hunt for new and better modelling solutions for a broad range of research questions relating to longitudinal data. As such, Petar is always happy to help out others with developing models and analysing data. 


Select publications

  • Milojev, P., Greaves, L., Osborne, D., & Sibley, C. G. (2015). Stability and change in political conservatism following the global financial crisis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 127-139
  • Milojev, P., & Sibley, C.G. (in press). The Stability of Adult Personality Varies across Age: Evidence from a two-year longitudinal sample of adult New Zealanders. Journal of Research in Personality.
  • Milojev, P., Osborne, D., & Sibley, C. G. (in press). Personality resilience following a natural disaster. Social Psychology and Personality Science, doi:10.1177/1948550614528545

 Mplus syntax, sample data, and worked examples from Petar's published papers


Emerald NZAVS

Emerald Muriwai, Masters Student, School of Psychology

Emerald (Ngāti Ira, Te Whakatōhea) is a masters student working with the NZAVS. She is a previous NZAVS summer scholarship recipient and worked as a research assistant in the lab while completing her undergraduate degree. For her honours dissertation Emerald examined the differences in well-being and health outcomes between people who identify solely as Māori versus those who identify as mixed Māori. Emerald’s research interests involve multi-ethnic experiences, prejudice and discrimination, notions of privilege, Mana Wāhine, intersectional feminism and conducting research from within a kaupapa Māori framework. For her masters thesis Emerald is examining how change in psychological aspects of Maori identity may help promote smoking cessasation. 


Select publications

  • Muriwai, E., Houkamau, C., & Sibley, C. G. (2014). The Protective Function of Māori Cultural Efficacy: An Efficacy-Distress Buffering Model for Sole and Mixed Māori. Manuscript Submitted for Publication. 




Carol Lee, Honors Student, School of Psychology 

Carol is an honors student working with the NZAVS, and a recent NZAVS summer scholarship winner. Carol has contributed to a paper investigating sexual orientation in New Zealand and is currently employed as a research assistant in the NZAVS lab. For her honors thesis, Carol will be looking at attitudes towards vaccinations in New Zealand. Carol has a particular interest in psychological and physical health and wellbeing.






Correna Matika, Undergraduate Research Student, School of Psychology 

Correna (Ngāti Kuri, Tainui, Ngāti Whātua) is an undergraduate student working with the NZAVS, and a recent NZAVS summer scholarship winner. Correna has contributed to a paper looking at sexual orientation in New Zealand, and is currently working on an undergraduate research project examining potentially universal values in a New Zealand context. Correna has a strong interest in Māori and Indigenous psychology and intergroup relations.





nzavs photo - gloria

Gloria Fraser, Undergraduate Research Student, School of Psychology 

Gloria (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe) is an undergraduate student working with the NZAVS, and a previous NZAVS summer scholarship winner. Gloria has contributed to a paper investigating regional personality differences in New Zealand, and is currently working on an undergraduate research project examining specific gender-related policy attitudes. Gloria's research interests involve prejudice and discrimination, particularly regarding notions of privilege and the intersection of multiple axes of oppression.



Select publications

  • Fraser, G., Osborne, D., & Sibley, C. G. (2014). “We want you in the workplace, but only in a skirt!” Social Dominance Orientation, gender-based affirmative action and the moderating role of Benevolent Sexism. Manuscript Submitted for Publication. 

NZAVS Alumni

Ryan Perry

Dr Ryan Perry, Research Fellow, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne

Ryan’s research investigates the socio-cognitive processes by which personality and social contexts affect prejudice and related attitudes and behaviour. Ryan completed his PhD in the NZAVS lab in 2013. His PhD examined the formation and function of social worldview beliefs—how people view the social world and other people in general and how these beliefs lead to intergroup discrimination. He is currently investigating the prevalence of discrimination and it's impact on wellbeing in specific populations, including primary and secondary school students. Ryan maintains strong links with the NZAVS. Ryan uses a variety of advanced techniques including  Structural Equation Modelling, longitudinal analysis, meta-analysis, factor analysis and item response theory.


Select publications

  • Perry, R., Sibley, C. G., & Duckitt, J. (2013). Dangerous and competitive worldviews: a meta-analysis of their associations with Social Dominance Orientation and Right-Wing Authoritarianism. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 116-127. Read the abstract. 
  • Perry, R., Sibley, C. G., & Duckitt, J. (2013). A comparison of broad-bandwidth and frequency-specific measures of competitive and dangerous worldview. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 248-288. Read the abstract.
  • Perry, R., & Sibley, C. G. (2012). Big-Five personality prospectively predicts Social Dominance Orientation and Right-Wing Authoritarianism. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 3-8. Read the abstract.


Jessica Harding

Jessica Harding, PhD Candidate, New York University

Jessica worked in the lab throughout her undergraduate degree at the University of Auckland and is a previous NZAVS summer scholar. Jessica progressed from the NZAVS lab to take up a PhD scholarship in Psychology and Social Intervention at New York University, which she is currently completing. Jessica’s interests focus on the intersection of research and social policy related to supporting low-income families. Jessica maintains strong links with the NZAVS lab, and has published a number of papers studying the causes and consequences of stereotyping and discrimination in New Zealand as part of her work with the NZAVS. Her dissertation research explores how maternal education influences children’s academic outcomes and the implications of this for dual-generation educational interventions.


Select publications

  • Harding, J. F., & Sibley, C. G. (2013). The palliative function of system justification: concurrent benefits versus longer-term costs to wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 113, 401-418. Read the abstract.
  • Harding, J. F., & Sibley, C. G. (2011). Social dominance and the disassociation between explicit and implicit representations of equality. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 312-323. Read the abstract.
  • Harding, J. F., Sibley, C. G., & Robertson, A. (2011). New Zealand = Māori, New Zealand = bicultural: ethnic group differences in a national sample of Māori and Europeans. Social Indicators Research, 100, 137-148. Read the abstract.




Interested in joining the NZAVS postgraduate lab?

Chris and Danny

Chris Sibley and Danny Osborne


The NZAVS lab group is led by Professor Chris Sibley and Dr Danny Osborne in the School of Psychology. The NZAVS lab group is actively recruiting graduate students interested in joining our team and working on a PhD in the NZAVS lab.

Postgraduate study in the NZAVS lab

The NZAVS is jointly led by Danny Osborne and Chris Sibley. The NZAVS lab has an open and collaborative atmosphere. PhD candidates in our lab are jointly supervised by both of us, and our research covers a wide range of topics in social psychology. We work as a team, and encourage our graduate students to work together on collaborative projects for publication.

There are huge and diverse number of research questions waiting to be answered using data from the NZAVS. For example, the NZAVS measures change in topics relating to intergroup relations, social values, religion, discrimination, psychological wellbeing, physical health, social identity, environmental attitudes and experiences of poverty. In terms of specific research topics in these areas, there is a high level of flexibility (all of the variables in the NZAVS are interesting to us, and there are a lot of possible options). What they all have in common is:

  • Statistical analysis of longitudinal and nationally representative data (we will teach you the stats, you bring the interest and enthusiasm)
  • Working as part of a larger team to help enter and manage part of the study as the hands on or applied component of your research project.
  • Generally, most research projects that work with the NZAVS data result in publishable research papers in academic journals.

The NZAVS lab has a strong focus on the statistical modelling of longitudinal data. We provide all the specialist training you will need to work with longitudinal data, and hold weekly workshops throughout the year that focus on a variety of different statistical analyses and methods (our philosophy here is that if you bring the enthuasiusm and motivation, we can provide the rest). You can check out worked teaching examples of some the types of statistical models we use in the NZAVS lab here

Please feel free to contact either Chris or Danny if you are interesting in pursuing a PhD in the NZAVS lab, and would like to discuss possible PhD topics.

Read more about the NZAVS at the official study website

Online examples from NZAVS statistics workshops

Details about the PhD application process at The University of Auckland

Professor Chris Sibley

NZAVS Lab Photos

Members of the NZAVS research group at our annual meeting on 30th August 2013. From left to right: Yuthika Girme, Natalia D’Souza, Tim West-Newman, Yanshu Huang, Rehutai Smith-Iri, Matthew Hammond, Emerald McPhee, Tago Mharapara, Carla Houkamau, Nikhil Sengupta, Taciano Milfont, Chris Sibley, Petar Milojev, Joseph Bulbulia, Danny Osborne, Lara Greaves and Sam Manuela.
Members of the NZAVS research team celebrating with our award-winning young scholars Emerald Muriwai and Nicole Satherley at the University of Auckland, School of Psychology 2014 Honours Poster Competition.