NZAI books 2010 to present

The New Zealand Asia Institute has built up a list of publications that both reflect and reflect upon New Zealand’s engagement with Asia.

All publications produced by the New Zealand Asia Institute are available for purchase - for details visit our main Books page.

Popular culture and the transformation of Japan-Korea relations

pop culture and the transformation book

Edited by Rumi Sakamoto and Stephen Epstein [2021] 198 pp

This book presents essays exploring the ways in which popular culture reflects and engenders ongoing changes in Japan–Korea relations.

Through a broad temporal coverage from the colonial period to the contemporary, the book’s chapters analyse the often contradictory roles that popular culture has played in either promoting or impeding nationalisms, regional conflict and reconciliations between Japan and Korea. Its contributors link several key areas of interest in East Asian Studies, including conflicts over historical memories and cultural production, grassroots challenges to state ideology, and the consequences of digital technology in Japan and South Korea.

Taking recent discourse on Japan and South Korea as popular cultural superpowers further, this book expands its focus from mainstream entertainment media to the lived experience of daily life, in which sentiments and perceptions of the "popular" are formed. It will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese and Korean studies, as well as film studies, media studies and cultural studies more widely.

Published by and available from Routledge.


Crisis and Disaster in Japan and New Zealand - Actors, Victors and Ramifications

crisis and disaster cover

Edited by Susan Bouterey and Lawrence E. Marceau [2019] 191 pp

This collection examines a broad spectrum of natural and human-made disasters that have occurred in Japan and New Zealand, including WWII and the atomic bombing of Japan and two recent major earthquake events, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Christchurch Earthquake, which occurred in 2011. Through these studies, the book provides important insights into the events themselves and their tragic effects, but most significantly a multidisciplinary take on the different cultural responses to disaster, changing memories of disasters over time, the impacts of disaster on different societies, and the challenges post-disaster in reviving communities and traditional cultural practices. Bringing in humanities and social science perspectives to disaster studies, this collection offers a significant contribution to disaster studies.

Published by and available from Palgrave MacMillan.


Maritime Security in East and Southeast Asia - Political Challenges in Asian Waters


Edited by Nicholas Tarling and Chen Xin [2017] 255 pp

This volume investigates the nature of threats facing, or perceived as facing, some of the key players involved in Asian maritime politics. The articles in this collection present case studies on Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia as a whole and focus on domestic definitions of threats and conceptualisations of security.

Published and available from Springer.

Decolonisations Compared - Central America, Southeast Asia, the Caucasus


By Nicholas Tarling [2017] 135pp

This book offers an analysis of the decolonisation process across three different regions around the world: Central America, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus. It explores how the nature of previous imperial systems shaped the nation states that were created in their stead.

Published and available from Springer.

The British and the Vietnam War: Their Way with LBJ


By Nicholas Tarling [2017] 464 pp

During the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, the British government sought to avoid escalation of the war in Vietnam and to help bring about peace, but the British were only able to exert little, if any, influence on the United States. In this in-depth analysis of Britain's involvement in the Vietnam War, Nicholas Tarling draws on many overlooked papers in the British archives in order to describe the making of Britain's policy toward the war and its careful negotiations of its connection to America.

Published by and available from the NUS Press Singapore website.

Belief and Practice in Imperial Japan and Colonial Korea

Belief and Practice in Imperial Japan and Colonial Korea cover

Edited by Emily Anderson [2017] 258pp

Bringing together the work of leading scholars of religion in imperial Japan and colonial Korea, this collection addresses the complex ways in which religion served as a site of contestation and negotiation among different groups, including the Korean Choson court, the Japanese colonial government, representatives of different religions, and Korean and Japanese societies.

Published by and available from the Palgrave Macmillan website.

Neutrality in Southeast Asia


By Nicholas Tarling [2017] 242 pp

This book analyses the notion of neutrality to the politics of the state in Southeast Asia. Distinguishing among neutrality, neutralism and neutralisation, it asks what relation do the concepts bear to the independence of states, and how do they relate to other forms of inter-state relations and to participation in international organisations.

Published and available from the Routledge website


Disasters and Social Crisis in Contemporary Japan

social crisis in contemporary japan

Edited by Mark Mullins and Koichi Nakano [2015] 336 pp

Japan was shaken by the 'double disaster' of earthquake and sarin gas attack in 1995, and in 2011 it was hit once again by the 'triple disaster' of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. This international, multi-disciplinary group of scholars examines the state and societal responses to the disasters and social crisis.

Published by and available from the Palgrave MacMillan website

Asia and the First World War

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By Nicholas Tarling [2014] 126pp

This book is intended to acknowledge the involvement of Asia and Asian people in what became the first world war, and to indicate the impact on them of the war and of the peace-making. The empires in Europe were destroyed and the European empires in Asia were weakened.

Price: NZ$20.00. International Price: NZ$30.00.

Diplomats, Allies and Migrants: Patterns in New Zealand – Korean Relations


Edited by Kenneth M Wells [2014] 224 pp

This book has its origins in a conference hosted by the NZAI in November 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. It consists of chapters by specialists from around the world that trace parallel developments in social and cultural areas from minimal contacts to substantial, positive engagement between the two countries and friendly relations between their peoples.

Price: NZ$30.00. International Price: NZ$40.00.

Britain and Sihanouk’s Cambodia


By Nicholas Tarling, [2014] 392 pp

Norodom Sihanouk sought to maintain Cambodia’s independence and integrity during the 1950s and 1960s by a policy of neutrality. This Britain supported. What it could do, however, was limited by its concern to preserve its relationship with the US, which discountenanced a policy it considered at odds with its policy in Vietnam. The British diplomatic records explored in the book throw light on the approaches of all three states.

Published by and available from NUS Press:   

Britain and Portuguese Timor 1941-1976


By Nicholas Tarling [2013] 319 pp

In Timor’s chequered history, many other states have been involved. The prime purpose of this book is to examine the role of the British. Timor was not a part of their empire nor important to their commerce. But it had a long relationship with Portugal, with which, indeed, Timor had its longest relationship. Britain’s interest was thus largely indirect.

It had two peaks, marked by the Second World War and the decolonisation of Southeast Asia. Those are recognised in the book, one the concern of the first four chapters, the other the focus of the last four. But there are links between them, in memory and in history.

Published by Monash University Publishing:

Stand & Deliver


By Nicholas Tarling [2013] 182 pp

This book contains a selection of addresses by Nicholas Tarling, Professor of History, broadcaster, and sometime actor, now Fellow at the New Zealand Asia Institute at the University of Auckland.

Many were given while Nicholas was the University’s Public Orator, and honoured such figures as Dean Martin Sullivan, Kendrick Smithyman, Sir Lewis Ross, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Maurice Paykel, Dame Dorothy Winstone, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed, H.E. Mme Sadao Ogata, Paakariki Harrison, Sir Donald McIntyre, Sir Miles Warren and Sir Colin Maiden.

Published by Dunmore Publishing

Status and Security in Southeast Asian State Systems


By Nicholas Tarling [2013] 182 pp

Southeast Asia serves as an excellent case study to discuss major transformations in the relationship between states. This book looks at the changing nature of relationships between countries in Southeast Asia, as well as their relationships with other states in Asia and beyond.

Offering a long-term perspective on these issues, this inter-disciplinary study is of interest to scholars and students of Southeast Asian history and politics, world history and international relations.

Published by Routledge:

Hard Interests, Soft Illusions


By Natasha Hamilton-Hart, Cornell University Press [2012] 256 pp

Natasha Hamilton-Hart explores the belief held by foreign policy elites in much of Southeast Asia—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam—that the United States is a relatively benign power.

She argues that this belief is an important factor underpinning US pre-eminence in the region, because beliefs inform specific foreign policy decisions and form the basis for broad orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment.

Such foundational beliefs, however, do not simply reflect objective facts and reasoning processes. Hamilton-Hart argues that they are driven by both interests—in this case the political and economic interests of ruling groups in Southeast Asia—and illusions.

Studying Singapore’s Past


Edited by Nicholas Tarling [2012] 272 pp

This publication had its origins in a conference organised to discuss C.M. (Mary) Turnbull’s work. The volume includes ten contributions, some from long-established scholars of Singapore’s history, others from a new generation of researchers.

Published by and available from NUS Press:

The Works of Nicholas Tarling on Southeast Asia


Edited by Keat Gin Ooi [2012] 1741 pp

This is a collected edition of the articles on Southeast Asia and its history that Nicholas Tarling has published, some 72 in all, included in seven volumes.

They are introduced and edited by Ooi Keat Gin, Professor of History at Universiti Sains Malaysia, who sees them as part of the corpus of works of the "pioneering scholars" in the field that have possessed a "long shelf-life".

Published by and available from Routledge:  

Brunei: Traditions of Monarchic Culture and History


Edited by B.A. Hussainmiya and Nicholas Tarling [2011] 204 pp

The Hickling Memorandum published here for the first time in an annotated edition, is a compendium of political culture, institutions of governance, monarchic power and a brief history of Brunei Darussalam.

Published by and available from Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Bandar Seri Begawan.

Eighty Years on: further memoirs


By Nicholas Tarling, [2011] 375 pp

This is Nicholas Tarling’s second volume of memoirs, beginning with the 1980s and early 1990s. Tarling was involved in the struggle with the government and its agencies over university "reforms", with the attempt to keep the Mercury Theatre afloat, and with the founding of what became New Zealand Opera.

Tarling was among the top brass at the University of Auckland and continued to teach, research and write.

Published by and available from Dunmore Publishing:  

New Zealand. The Making of an Asia-Pacific Society


By Nicholas Tarling, Confucius Institute [2011] 271 pp

This book offers a portrait of New Zealand that is informed by the author’s own involvement in its history. The book is published by Confucius Institute in Auckland and can be purchased directly:  

Britain and the Neutralisation of Laos


By Nicholas Tarling, NUS Press, Singapore [2011] 516 pp

This study focuses on the Geneva conference on Laos of 1961-1962, which Britain played a role in bringing about and bringing to a conclusion. It throws light on Britain’s policy in Southeast Asia in what in some sense may be seen as the last of the decades in which its influence was crucial.

It is the first book to make full use of the British archives on the conference. The book also bears on the history of Laos, of Vietnam, and of Southeast Asia more generally. It will interest those working in the various fields on which it touches, such as Modern Southeast Asian history, the history of Laos, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and international relations.

Published and available from NUS Press:

Imparting Asia. Five Decades of Asian Studies at the University of Auckland


By Nicholas Tarling, Pindar NZ [2010] 160 pp

The study of Asia was introduced into the curriculum of The University of Auckland nearly fifty years ago. Why was it done? How was it done?

This book describes the objectives and achievements and endeavours to place them in a larger context. The importance of the issues raised indeed extends well beyond the university world. During this period New Zealand’s relationship with Asia has been transformed, but the interest in studying it has not expanded to the same extent. What is now the way forward?

This book has been written in the belief that knowing more about the past may help in influencing the future.

Price: NZ$30.00. International Price: NZ$35.00

Southeast Asia and the Great Powers


By Nicholas Tarling, Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia [2010] 272 pp

The success of regionalism in Southeast Asia depends on the attitudes of the states within the region but also on the attitude of those outside it. This book is an erudite and stimulating study on the latter.

Placing these states in a long term historical context, Tarling brings out the way in which the rivalries of those powers within and outside the region have affected the states within the region. He also shows how divisions within the region, and within states in the region, offered invitations and opportunities for intervention from outside, and so perhaps gave Southeast Asia an importance in international relations it would not otherwise have had.

Regional leaders appear in recent decades to have recognised what may be construed as one of the lessons of history; if Southeast Asia can provide security for the Straits route, and stable conditions for trade and investment, it might enjoy both peace and a measure of prosperity. Southeast Asia and the Great Powers is an important read for students and scholars of the history and international relations of Southeast Asia.