Dr. Friesen is currently Senior Lecturer in Geography in the School of Environment at The University of Auckland.
His research focus for a number of years has been in the areas of migration and ethnic change, and research and publication have focused on various groups including Pacific, Chinese and Indian migrants. Other areas of research have included population change, international education, development in the Pacific, and urban change, with regional focuses including New Zealand, the Pacific islands and Asia; areas in which he has travelled widely.
He is a regular commentator in the media on these and related issues. Between 2005 and 2007 he served as President of the Population Association of New Zealand (PANZ) and he remains active in this association. At the University of Auckland, he currently serves on the Centre for Pacific Studies Board of Graduate Studies and the Development Studies Advisory Committee. He also has considerable experience in consultancy on demographic issues and their planning implications at the national, regional and local levels. He has supervised over 70 graduate theses and dissertations, including 11 Ph.Ds. on a range of topics.