Dr Damon Ieremia Salesa

BA, MA (First class Honours), University of Auckland; D.Phil, University of Oxford

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Pro Vice-Chancellor - Pacific


Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is a prizewinning scholar who specializes in the study of colonialism, empire, government and race.  With a particular interest in the Pacific Islands, he also works on education, economics and development in the Pacific region, as well as in New Zealand and Australia.  After studying at the University of Auckland, he completed his studies at Oxford University.

He is currently Associate Professor of Pacific Studies at the Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland.  Previously he was Associate Professor of History, American Culture, and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Research | Current

  • Pacific studies
  • Pacific history
  • Pacific Island societies, politics and economics
  • Pacific Islanders in the diaspora
  • The Transformation of Everyday Life in Samoa (1800-2000).  Awarded a Marsden Grant by the Royal Society: 2014-2016.  
  • World War One in the Pacific.  
  • Rethinking Pacific New Zealand.


  • Rhodes Scholar
  • Ernest Scott Prize: awarded by the Australian Historical Association for the best history book on colonialism in Australia and New Zealand, 2012

Areas of expertise

  • Pacific Studies
  • Pacific History
  • Pacific Island Societies, Politics and Economics
  • Pacific Islanders in the diaspora

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Salesa, D. (2017). Island time: New Zealand's Pacific futures. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books. Pages: 252. 10.7810/9781988533537
  • Salesa, D. I. Entangled Islands: Samoa, New Zealand and the First World WarAuckland War Memorial Museum. 19/6/2014 - 15/1/2015 Related URL.
  • Salesa, D. (2014). The Pacific in Indigenous time. In D. Armitage, A. Bashford (Eds.) Pacific histories: Ocean, land, people (pp. 31-52). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2014). When the waters met: Some shared histories of Christianity and ancestral Samoan spirituality. In T. M. Suaalii-Sauni, A. Wendt, Mo'a V, N. Fuamatu, Va'ai UL, R. Whaitiri, S. L. Filipo (Eds.) Whispers and vanities: Samoan indigenous knowledge and religion (pp. 283-311). Wellington, New Zealand: Huia.
  • Mallon, S., Māhina-Tuai K, & Salesa, D. (Eds.) (2012). Tangata O Le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific. Wellington: Te Papa Press. Pages: 392.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2012). Opposite Footers: Afterword. In K. Fullagar (Ed.) Atlantic World in the Antipodes: Effects and Transformations Since the Eighteenth Century (pp. 285-302). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2012). The World from Oceania. In D. T. Northrop (Ed.) A Companion to World History (pp. 392-404). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Salesa, D. I. (2012). Race. In P. Levine, J. Marriott (Eds.) Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Imperial Histories (pp. 429-448). Burlington, Vermont, USA: Ashgate.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 145
New Zealand

Social links

Web links