Rebecca Lenihan


My research background is in migration history with a quantitative focus. My PhD was published as From Alba to Aotearoa: Profiling New Zealand’s Scots migrants 1840-1920 by Otago University Press in 2015. My primary research at present is an examination of the imperial troops stationed in New Zealand in the 1860s through a migration history lens, as part of Professor Charlotte Macdonald’s ‘Soldiers of Empire’ project. I was a 2022-23 recipient of the Whiria Te Mahara New Zealand History Grant for this project under the title ‘Colonists in Uniform’.

I have substantial experience with historical data sampling, building databases from historical information, and analysis of that collated data. A recent preoccupation has been utilising digital tools to analyse and display that information in a public-facing way. For examples of this work see the ‘pop explorer’ on and the ‘data explorer’ on

My teaching experience has been at undergraduate and honours level, spanning Scottish migration, Scottish witch-hunts, British Isles history 1066-1603, New Zealand social history, British and Irish migration to New Zealand, and Digital History methods and skills. Several of these courses have been distance learning.

I have been a member of both PHANZA and the NZHA since July 2013, and on the NZHA council 2022-2023.

I am always happy to be contacted with questions, ideas for collaboration, book review or peer-review requests, regarding short- and long-term research and writing contracts or guest lectures and teaching contracts.

Recent publications include:
Lenihan, R., ‘The Public Good of Digital History’, Public History Review, Volume 29 (2022), pp.185-194

Lenihan, R., ‘I Can Actually See Myself Using These Sorts of Things in the Future’: The Case for Alternative, Authentic Undergraduate Assessments’, New Zealand Journal of History, Volume 54, Number 1, April 2020, pp.94-111

Macdonald, Charlotte; Lenihan, Rebecca, ‘Paper Soldiers: the life, death and reincarnation of nineteenth-century military files across the British Empire’, Rethinking History, Volume 22, Number 3, 2018, pp.375-402

Shep, Sydney J.; Lenihan, Rebecca; McKinley, Donelle; Plummer, Matt; and Dudding, Michael, ‘Moving beyond the Threshold: Investigating Digital Literacies and Historical Thinking in New Zealand Universities’, Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Vol 12, No.1, 2017, pp.313-332

Lenihan, R., Oxford References Online Quick References. 133 entries, between 39 and 633 words long, on a range of New Zealand topics, published on Oxford Reference within the Dictionary Plus titles. (Featured Author on the Oxford Reference History page, from October 2016 to present)

Lenihan, R., From Alba to Aotearoa: Profiling New Zealand’s Scottish Migrants, 1840-1920, Otago University Press, 2015, 320pp.

For more information and a full CV see


  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Writing


  • Digital History
  • Immigration
  • Migration