Dr James Robinson
A highly experienced historian and archivist, James is a skilled landscape archaeologist with a passion for the story of human settlement in the South Pacific. He is the Senior Archaeologist for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the lead heritage government agency that is responsible for protecting archaeology.
James takes a multidisciplinary approach to recording history – especially working with tangata whenua (people of the land). These collaborations incorporate traditional knowledge into interpretations about the history of mankind in the Pacific.
He is interested in questions regarding what drove people to cross such vast distances and risk so much to make a new life in a strange new world. Using a wide range of resource material to study the unique culture that Māori developed in New Zealand, as well as the later but similarly unique European society that developed in the 1800s, James incorporates a variety of European sciences and history, alongside traditional knowledge, to recreate testable stories to try and explain how and why such unique cultures developed in Aotearoa New Zealand.
James has lived and worked for over 30 years in the Northland region of New Zealand’s north island, one of the cradles for the development of Māori and Pakeha society.