Professor Mark Orams

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Professor Mark Orams


Professor of Tourism, Leisure and Event Management

PhD Qld., MSc FIU., BRP (Hones) Massey

+61 7 5459 4508
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Professor Mark Orams


Mark Orams is an experienced and senior academic leader with a diverse background in teaching, learning and curriculum development at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. His research contributions over two decades have been significant and he is considered a leading international scholar in the tourism, leisure and recreation fields. He also has a background in high performance sport as an athlete, coach and sport leader and as a contributor to important organisations as a CEO and trustee / director.

His competitive sporting background is as a competitive yachtsman. He has been involved in successful campaigns from around the world ocean races, the America’s Cup, and world and New Zealand championships in a range of small yacht classes. His involvement in sailing has extended into coaching at the Olympic and elite World Cup level through to learn to sail coaching for children.

He is an important leader in the governance of the sport and has served as a New Zealand selector, as a captain of New Zealand representative teams, he is on the board of the New Zealand Sailing Trust and the NZL Sailing Foundation, an ambassador for the World Master’s Games and is a key member of the organising team for the largest small boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sir Peter Blake Torbay Regatta. He has been honoured by Yachting New Zealand twice for services to sailing and was part of the crew awarded the New Zealand Halberg Sports Team of the Year Award in 1990.

Mark is an authentic and experienced leader who served as the founding chief executive of the Sir Peter Blake Trust (also serving as a founding trustee and director for two, three-year terms). He also served as the founding Co-chair of the International Coastal – Marine Tourism Society, was the Co-chair of the Pacific Whale Foundation, and has held a variety of leadership roles in the academic and not-for-profit sector.

He has held the position (2015-2018) of Head of School for the largest and highest performing School in the sport and recreation realm in the tertiary sector in New Zealand. The School of Sport and Recreation at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), which he led, rose to a rank of 29th in the world in Sport and Exercise Science (Shanghai Global Rankings) under his leadership. In his capacity as Head of School he was responsible for leading over 1200 students, and 255 staff spread over four campuses and an annual budget of over $12 million. Within his portfolio were the Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand (SPRINZ), the Human Potential Centre, four Sport Performance Clinics and he held academic leadership responsibility for the AUT Millennium campus as Associate Dean.

Prior to this he served as Head of Department, Tourism and Event Management at AUT within the School of Hospitality and Tourism (ranked in the top 50 in the world) and he retains a leadership role as Associate Director, at the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute.

Mark is a senior experienced academic leader and he has held important positions in Professorial Appointments Committees, as the Chair of the Postgraduate Thesis Appeals Panel and he has previously held roles of, Associate Dean, Postgraduate (Acting), Associate Dean, Research (Acting) and as a director of a number of research centres and groups. He serves as a mentor to new postgraduate research supervisors, as a mentor to staff engaging in acting as postgraduate research thesis examiners and facilitates a number of workshops for staff focused on developing their competency and confidence in research and in research supervision.

Mark also has a strong interest and background in adventure and exploration having been involved in expeditions to Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands, the Amazon and remote islands and reefs in the South Pacific and south-east Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia). He has authored a number of books and over 150 scientific journal articles, book chapters and scientific conference papers. A surfer, sailor, stand-up-paddle boarder, scuba diver and ocean swimmer, he is sought after media commentator, public speaker, a strong advocate for responsible and ethical recreation and tourism, marine conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, the importance of nature-based outdoor recreation and healthy, active lifestyles.

Currently Mark holds positions as a professor at both the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia and at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand.

Professional memberships

  • Founding member, Sustainability Commission, World Sailing
  • Co-chair, International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society
  • Trustee, Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre
  • Trustee, Air New Zealand Environment Trust
  • Trustee, NZL Sailing Foundation
  • Trustee, New Zealand Sailing Trust
  • International Steering Committee, International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism
  • Associate Director, Coastal and Marine, New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (AUT University)
  • Research Associate, NZ Institute for Applied Ecology (AUT University)
  • Research Associate, Coastal-Marine Research Group (Massey University)
  • Vice-patron, Torbay Sailing Club
  • Justice of the Peace for New Zealand

Awards / Fellowships

  • Awesome Scholar in Tourism Award. Woman Academics In Tourism, 2018.
  • Outstanding Postgraduate Supervisor Award, AUT University Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, 2017.
  • Research Team of the Year Award (New Zealand Tourism Research Institute), AUT University, 2016.

Potential research projects for HDR and honours students

Professor Orams is currently accepting expressions of interest from potential new PhD students interested in research in the following areas:

  • Marine recreation and tourism
  • Wildlife tourism
  • Marine protected areas
  • Marine based sports (offshore sailing, surfing, stand-up-paddle boarding)
  • Spirituality and the ocean
  • Wilderness and recreation

Editorial Boards

Recent publications

  • Porter, B., Orams, M., & Lück, M. (2015). Surf-riding tourism as development. A comparative case of two projects from the Philippines. Ocean and Coastal Management 116, 169-176.
  • Orams, M. B. (2015). Experiences of adolescents on an expedition to New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic: Results from the use of photo-elicitation. The Polar Journal 5(2), 446-465.
  • Towner, N., & Orams, M. B. (2016). Perceptions of surfing tourism operators regarding sustainable tourism development in the Mentawai islands, Indonesia. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 1-16.
  • Porter, B., Orams, M. B., & Lück, M. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship tourism: An alternative development approach for remote coastal communities where awareness of tourism is low. Tourism Planning and Development.
  • Fiori, L.; Doshi, A.; Martinez, E.; Orams, M. B.; Bollard-Breen, B. (2017). The use of unmanned aerial systems in marine mammal research. Remote Sensing, 9,543.
  • Jarvis, R. M., Gilbert, N., Orams, M., Pointing, S. B., Selvaraj, S., & Breen, B. B. (2018). Understanding the values and perceptions of base personnel to improve conservation management and policy in Antarctica. Environmental Science & Policy, 85, 116-122.

Research grants

Grant / Project name Investigators Funding body Year/s
Review of Monkey Mia dolphin tourist interaction Orams, M. & Martinez, E. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions of Western Australia
Assessing the effectiveness of the Hillary Outdoors Education Program Duncan, S., Orams, M. and McDonnell, L. Hillary Outdoors Charitable Trust
Assessing the environmental impacts of human use of heritage sites in Antarctica Breen, B., Gillman, L., Gilbert, N., & Orams, M. New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute
Sustainable marine tourism development in the Lesser Sunda Region, Indonesia Pedju, M., & Orams, M. The Nature Conservancy, Indonesia

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