Hank Nelson Prize

The objective/s of the Award are to honour the memory of Hank Nelson and his commitment to Papua New Guinea, and to acknowledge the best Doctor of Philosophy thesis submitted by any student, internationally, on any aspect of Papua New Guinea's history or society.

Offered by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific


Details of prizes including eligibility and Conditions of Award are subject to change without notice.

Learn more about the Hank Nelson Memorial Endowment and information on how you can contribute.

2022 winners:

Dr Willem Church

Anticipating Gold: Factional Competition around a Prospective Mine, Morobe District, Papua New Guinea (ANU 2022)

Dr Bradley Underhill

New Deal on the Ground in Papua New Guinea (1945-63) (ANU 2022)


2020 winner - Dr Bal Kama

Reconceptualising the role of the judiciary in Papua New Guinea's 'home grown' Constitution (ANU 2019)


The College of Asia and the Pacific is pleased to congratulate Dr Bal Kama, 2020 recipient of the Hank Nelson Prize, recognising his thesis which examines the role of the judiciary and its complex relationships with the other arms of government in Papua New Guinea. 

The Hank Nelson Prize honours the memory of Hank Nelson and his commitment to Papua New Guinea.  For over forty years Hank Nelson was the leading historian of and commentator on PNG. He wrote extensively on the country and the wider Pacific, and had a long distinguished career at the University of PNG and the Australian National University.  The Prize is awarded every two years for the best PhD thesis submitted by any student, internationally, on any aspect of PNG's history or society.

Dr Kama has a PhD in Law from the ANU College of Law. He specialises in public and constitutional law and governance in the Pacific, and currently works as a lawyer in Canberra. He is also a Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year. 

The ANU is a research-intensive university and our research priorities reflect the challenges facing the world today. If you would like more information on supporting the Hank Nelson Prize or the important work done in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, please contact Jason Ketter, Head of Advancement, the College of Asia and the Pacific Jason.Ketter@anu.edu.au or visit https://www.anu.edu.au/giving/support-us.


Past winners:

2018 - Dr Christiane Falck, "Calling the Dead: Spirits, Mobile Phones, and the Talk of God in a Sepik Community" (JCU 2016).

Field of study

Pacific studies

Reference Documents

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