Professor Ian Lambie

PhD, DipClinPsych, PGDipBus

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Prior to embarking on a degree in psychology, I worked as a comprehensive nurse in acute psychiatric and surgical nursing in Dunedin, Auckland and Sydney. Nursing taught me many practical and ‘coal face’ skills and provided a great foundation for my next career as a clinical psychologist.

I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from Otago University and trained in clinical psychology at the University of Auckland. Upon registration as a clinical psychologist, I worked intensively with adolescents with harmful sexual behaviours and children with conduct problems for over 10 years, prior to joining the clinical psychology programme as a staff member. Much of this work involved outdoor wilderness therapy and family therapy.

I have over 30 years’ experience working as a clinical psychologist specialising in children and adolescents – I suppose I thought it was where I could have the biggest impact on changing kids’ lives around and giving them a better future.

As both a clinical psychologist and academic, I have worked alongside a number of government departments including the New Zealand Fire Service, Police, Department of Corrections and Oranga Tamarki, as well as community groups, and my students have also helped these organisations with their projects, to ensure well-grounded, real-world research outputs.

I sit on a number of government committees and now work part-time at the university. In the other part of my job, I am Chief Science Advisor for the Justice Sector (this role spans the Ministry of Justice, Police and Department of Corrections) and advise government on ways to improve the justice system for those whom it serves.

In 2020 I was made an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Youth Justice and Clinical Psychology.

Research | Current

  • My specialist clinical and research interests are in child and adolescent mental health, childhood trauma and youth justice, building on more than 30 years’ experience working with children and adolescents with severe conduct problems and trauma, and their families, carers and service-providers.
  • The majority of my research has been in the area of young people who offend and with severe conduct problems (arson, harmful sexual behaviours and violent offending) and adolescent mental health.
  • A major focus of my current research and clinical interest focuses on criminal justice reform and children under 12 years old who are offending.


Teaching | Current

I co-ordinate the following courses:

PSYCH 310: Introduction to Clinical Psychology

PSYCH 707: Forensic Psychology

I also teach across the Clinical Psychology programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Child offenders – improving outcomes for young children in the Family Court

Family violence

Process evaluation Department of Corrections pre-trial criminal justice programme

Process evaluation of an Oranga Tamariki youth offending programme

Arson in children and adolescents

Adolescents with harmful sexual behaviours


International Awards

  • The William Friedrich Memorial Child Sexual Abuse Research and Treatment Award - American Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, San Diego, California.  2011.
  • Graduate Student Research Award - Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. United States of America. (1999).

National Awards

  • Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Youth Justice and Clinical Psychology.
  • Ann Ballin Award, New Zealand Psychological Society - for contribution in New Zealand to the development or enhancement of Clinical Psychology. (2008).
  • Public Interest Award, New Zealand Psychological Society - for psychological work in the community. (2001).
  • Fellow of the New Zealand Psychological Society 2018.

Areas of expertise

Child and adolescent mental health

Youth justice and youth offending

Child offending

Criminal Justice

Family therapy

Trauma - particularly as it relates to children and young people

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Chief Science Advisor Justice Sector

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Lambie, I. (2020). What were they thinking? A discussion paper on brain and behaviour in relation to the justice system in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.10.17608/k6.OPMCSA.12279278.v1
  • Lambie, I., & Hyland, O. (2019). The opportunity of a lifetime. New Zealand Law Journal, 6, 220-223.
  • Lambie, I., Randell, I., Krynen, A., Reed, P., & Ioane, J. (2019). Risk Factors for Future Offending in Child and Adolescent Firesetters Following a Fire Service Intervention Program. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 46 (6), 832-852. 10.1177/0093854819842907
  • Lambie, I. (2018). Every 4 minutes: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Related URL.
  • Bowden, F., Lambie, I., & Willis, G. (2018). Road runners: Why youth abscond from out-of-home care in New Zealand. CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW, 94, 535-544. 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.08.032
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gwenda Willis
  • Lambie, I. (2018). It’s never too early, never too late: A discussion paper on preventing youth offending in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Related URL.
  • Lambie, I. (2018). Using evidence to build a better justice system: The challenge of rising prison costs. Auckland, New Zealand: Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Related URL.
  • McArdle, S., Lambie, I., & Miers, S. (2018). Investigating the Relationship Between Perceived Community Safety and the Public's Attitudes Towards the Treatment of Youth Offenders in New Zealand. JOURNAL OF PACIFIC RIM PSYCHOLOGY, 1210.1017/prp.2018.19


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 2, Room 261
New Zealand

Web links