Where do you come from?
I am a Waikato girl! I grew up in a small town in the dairying heartland of the Waikato. I whakapapa to the Waikato and the King Country.

What’s your speciality?
I’m a human geographer and my research focuses on the politics of resource use and environmental governance. I am interested in questions such as: who has control? Who has access? Why do we do the things we do? And whose knowledge is privileged?

Who or what has been your biggest influence?
My dad told me from a young age to never let anyone tell me I couldn’t so something because I was a girl. I credit him for my early teachings in feminism.

What are three things that even your co-workers don’t know about you?
(1) I worked at a district council after finishing my BA and my first project was mapping all the hazards in the district.
(2) I don’t eat fish or any kind of seafood at all.
(3) I love cop shows!

When it comes to natural resources, what kinds of questions do people usually ask you?
Because I teach a postgrad class called “Resource Management” and as part of the assessment the students are asked to write a research essay, I get a lot of questions about what counts as a ‘resource’ and what an essay on ‘resource management’ should look like. I take a very open approach and have had essays on fisheries, mining, water as well as indigenous knowledge, gender, political economy and affect.

One sentence to say anything.
For once in my life I am lost for words!

Click here to find out more about Karen’s research.