Dr Niki Frances Susan Harre

Diploma of Teaching, PhD

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Associate Professor
Associate Dean-Sustainability


My teaching and research is in the area of community psychology and the psychology of sustainability. I teach at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and in 2009 received a university award for sustained excellence in teaching.

Research | Current

My most recent research addresses issues of sustainability, citizenship, values and political activism. The question that drives it is how to engage people in creating a more sustainable and equitable society. I am intrigued by the lives of those who are (or at least appear to be) dedicated to the common good. I have an ongoing project at Western Springs College in Auckland to investigate the creation of a ‘sustainability culture’ in a secondary school setting, and am currently involved in a project to examine the motives and experiences of Transition Towns activists. In 2011 I realised a book - Psychology for a Better World that explores strategies to inspire sustainability. I have given many workshops and talks on the ideas in the book to those working on sustainability related issues. Click here to see a short video on the main ideas. 

Additionally, I am very involved in the youth development area, which overlaps with the school sustainability project mentioned above. For several years I have worked closely with the Foundation for Youth Development’s Project K, a major national programme aimed at Year 10 high school students who are at risk of poor long term outcomes. My primary role has been to design and oversee their evaluation framework.

Until the last few years, most of my research focused on the design and evaluation of injury prevention interventions. I have conducted evaluations of secondary school driver education programmes, community and school based burns prevention programmes, pedestrian injury prevention programmes, and a rail safety project. Alongside this work I have carried out empirical research on attitudes and behaviours related to safety issues.

My latest research looks at the values and symbols that underlie the human drive to participate in the common good. See www.infinite-game.net. 



Teaching | Current

I teach at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and started a new course, with Quentin Atkinson, on Psychology and Sustainability in 2011. This course is open to students studying within any graduate programme at the University. 

Psych 715 - Psychology and Sustainability

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise students at Honours, Masters and PhD level. Many of my research projects involve working directly with community groups and I am particularly interested in how our university can contribute to a sustainable society that promotes human wellbeing.


In March 2015 I was appointed as Associate Dean Sustainability in the Faculty of Science.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Long, J., Harré N, & Atkinson, Q. D. (2014). Understanding change in recycling and littering behavior across a school social network. Am J Community Psychol, 53 (3-4), 462-474. 10.1007/s10464-013-9613-3
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23409
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Quentin Atkinson
  • Fenaughty, J., & Harré N (2013). Factors associated with young people's successful resolution of distressing electronic harassment. Computers and Education, 61 (1), 242-250. 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.08.004
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23412
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Fenaughty
  • Blythe, C., Harre, N. F., Dillon, V., Douglas, B., & Didsbury, A. (2013). Guiding principles for community engagement: Reflections on a school based sustainability project. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 5 (3), 44-69.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23419
  • Harre, N. F. (2013). Authentic leadership: Demonstrating and encouraging three ways of knowing. In D. Ladkin, C. Spiller (Eds.) Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences, and Coalescences (pp. 120-130). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Deane, K. L., & Harré N (2013). The Youth Adventure Programming Model. Journal of Research on Adolescence
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23422
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kelsey Deane
  • Harre, N. F., Milfont, T., Helton, W., & Mead, A. (2011). Sustainability and the psychologically literate citizen: A New Zealand perspective. In D. Dunn, J. Cranney (Eds.) The Psychologically Literate Citizen: Foundations and Global Perspectives (pp. 220-232). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/14145
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Mead
  • Harre, N. F. (2011). Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability. Auckland: Department of Psychology, University of Auckland. Pages: 192.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/14172
  • Harre, N., Tepavac, S., & Bullen, P. (2009). Integrity, efficacy and community in the lives of political activists. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6 (4), 330-345. 10.1080/14780880903324764
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23431
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Pat Bullen


Contact details

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 2, Room 224B
New Zealand

Web links