2015 Annual Report

Collaboration, communication and a clear focus: the keys to another satisfying year. 

Download the full 2014/15 Annual Report [4.8MB PDF]

In late January 2015, NIWA’s deepwater research vessel Tangaroa sailed out of Wellington Harbour and began a 6-week voyage south to Antarctica. On board this collaborative voyage were scientists from NIWA and the Australian Antarctic Division, along with two students from the Sir Peter Blake Trust Blake NIWA Science Ambassador Programme.

Typically, the scientists had planned a multitude of different research programmes.

During this voyage, their research focused on humpback and blue whales to better understand their numbers and distribution, toothfish and their major prey species, and continual sampling of the ocean and the atmosphere with the ultimate aim of improving weather forecasting and better understanding changes in the Southern Ocean and the effect of these changes on the climate. 

Communication

Back at home, our stakeholders and the public were able to follow every aspect of the voyage – from the weather and sea state and the groundbreaking science to the day-to-dayexperiences of the scientists, crew and Blake NIWA Science Ambassadors. They were able to do this because our photographer on board Tangaroa regularly sent photographs and videos, and the scientists and Ambassadors posted daily blogs and reports of their scientific activities. And back in Wellington our communications team sent out regular media releases with photographs and videos, whilst the prominent news website ‘stuff.co.nz’ created a microsite, which featured continuously updated video, photo and news coverage of the voyage, as did other major media players – all focused on maximising communication of our science and the benefits it brings. 

Using satellite communication technology, and a combination of traditional and social media, we were able to deliver these stories to an information-hungry public within just a few hours of their production. Rarely have we been able to generate such strong interest in our research, from such remote locations, so quickly.

In many ways, Tangaroa’s Antarctic expedition symbolised the era of scientific discovery and outreach in which we now work. The extraordinary collaboration and communication that characterised the voyage were themes that underpinned what was another pleasing year for NIWA. 

Collaboration

Active collaboration – with other research organisations and with current and prospective customers – played a crucial role in our achievements throughout the year. By way of example, the Antarctic expedition mentioned above was made possible by a partnership between Antarctica New Zealand, the Australian Antarctic Division, and NIWA. It was one of numerous examples of multi-party, multidisciplinary marine, freshwater, and climate and atmospheric research we undertook throughout the year which had measurable and visible benefits for New Zealand.

Cover of NIWA's 2014/15 Annual Report.