Dr Peter Harris


Portrait of Dr Peter Harris

Peter Harris is a specialist in aspects of Chinese politics, international relations, history and literature, and an international consultant on civil society. His past positions at Victoria University of Wellington include Director of Asian Studies, Senior Fellow in Strategic Studies, and Acting Director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre. He has been a lecturer at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, and visiting professor at Nanjing University, Nanjing.  Since 2000 he has undertaken long-term civil society assignments in Indonesia, Cambodia, Kazakhstan and Myanmar.

In earlier years he served as the Oxfam (UK) Representative in Cambodia and Odisha, India; head of Asia research at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International; head of the Chinese section of the BBC’s External Services; Asia Program Officer and Representative for China of the Ford Foundation; and founding Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Peter has lectured, written and published widely on Chinese and Asian affairs. His most recent books are a new edition of Sun Tzu’s Art of War (2018 and 2021), and The Empire Looks South (2023), a study of China's perceptions of Angkor and its antecedents. His next work, to be published in late 2024, will be Hanshan: Cold Mountain Poems, a new translation for The Everyman's Library of poems by the Tang dynasty Buddhist recluse Hanshan.

Peter has a Ph D in Asian history from Monash University, an M Phil in international relations from Oxford University, and a BA (Hons) in Chinese from Oxford University.