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2011 Annual Report

Chairman & Chief Executive's Report

Never before in New Zealand’s history has the case for robust, long-term natural resources and environmental research and applied science services been made clearer than in the last financial year. 

Download the full 2011 Annual Report (1.7 MB)

As a country, we continue to navigate our way through difficult economic times, made worse by unprecedented national disasters, like the Christchurch earthquakes and the Pike River mining tragedy. At the same time, New Zealand faces some very important environmental opportunities and issues which, if not managed effectively, will continue to impact on New Zealand economically. Issues like water quality and water allocation, energy supplies, ocean resource management, the changing climate, how we respond to natural hazards and increasing numbers of extreme weather events, and making greater use of our vast natural resources in a sustainable way.

The Government has recognised the importance that science and innovation will play in New Zealand’s future economic and environmental prosperity through the establishment of the new Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) – a single agency tasked with driving the science and innovation sector in New Zealand forward. It is a move that the Board of NIWA welcomes, and we are already working closely with MSI to meet our core purpose as New Zealand’s leading natural resources and environmental science services provider.

As the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman noted recently in his discussion paper on policy formation, science creates the platform for effective strategies and wise policy development. The Board of NIWA agrees. NIWA has the skills and expertise to make a significant contribution to how New Zealand tackles the important decisions we will have to make as a country around our natural resources and environment in the coming years.

Despite the challenges of the past year, NIWA has continued to perform positively. Our productivity continues to improve and demand for our services remains high. We continue to invest in essential technology, upgrade existing facilities, and align and strengthen our capabilities to meet the country’s science needs, and we are well placed to meet our responsibilities as outlined in our Statement of Core Purpose.

The year ahead will not be without its own challenges, but the Board is confident NIWA is in a good position to face those challenges head on. I would personally like to thank my fellow Directors, CEO John Morgan, his hard working Executive, and all of the NIWA team for their commitment and work this year. In particular I would like to commend the NIWA Christchurch team for their resilience and ongoing commitment.

We can all be truly proud of the contribution NIWA makes to enhancing New Zealand’s economic and environmental prosperity through the delivery of outstanding science based services. 

Chris Mace

An epibenthic sled being deployed aboard the RV Tangaroa. Epibenthic sleds are towed across the rough ocean floor to take samples of large fauna and loose rocks. The object parked on the left hand side is The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 'Sentry'. Credit: NIWA/Kareen Schnabel.


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