Coasts

Latest news

Two reports released today by NIWA and the Deep South National Science Challenge reveal new information about how many New Zealanders, how many buildings and how much infrastructure could be affected by extreme river and coastal flooding from storms and sea-level rise.

NIWA puts a lot of things in the ocean—instruments tied to moorings, floats that dive up and down measuring what’s going on in the water, and video cameras that monitor fish.

Huge mudslides from November’s earthquakes have wiped out all organisms living in the seabed of the Kaikōura Canyon.

New Zealand continues to punch above its weight in global environmental issues, with three Kiwis seeking a positive change to our oceans in Washington this month.

Our work

NIWA is looking for people who have had a long association with the Hauraki Gulf or Marlborough Sounds to help them with a research project on juvenile fish habitats.

NIWA is developing guidelines and advice to help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

Most of the plastic in the ocean originates on land, being carried to the estuaries and coasts by rivers. Managing this plastic on land before it reaches the river could be the key to stemming the tide of marine-bound plastics. The aim of this project is to understand the sources and fate of plastic pollution carried by urban rivers using the Kaiwharawhara Stream as a case study.
Seagrass beds form an important undersea habitat for small fish, seahorses and shellfish in New Zealand.

Latest videos

Shifting Sands - Tsunami hazard off Kaikoura, NZ

Dr Joshu Mountjoy discusses NIWA's work in assessing the tsunami hazard just south of Kaikoura. 

Find out more about this research. 

Antarctic Coastal Marine Life in a Changing Climate

NIWA marine ecologist Dr Vonda Cummings discusses the likely effects of climate change on marine invertebrates living on the seafloor of the Ross Sea coast.

Next Stop Antarctica

Our Far South is an expedition that aims to raise New Zealanders' awareness of the area south of Stewart Island. Gareth Morgan, Te Radar, scientists and 50 everyday Kiwis are onboard to learn and then share their experience. This is the first video produced by them, showing some of the highlights of the trip so far.

NIWA helps reduce exploration risk

NIWA helps reduce exploration risk

Mean current speed (metres per second) in the Great South Basin, from the NIWA regional ocean model.

The Ministry of Economic Development is about to put more petroleum exploration permit blocks in the Great South Basin up for offer. In preparation for the offer, the ministry contracted NIWA to produce detailed information on the marine weather and sea conditions of the region.
Gas has already been discovered in the Great South Basin, and two blocks are currently held by the Bounty Oil and Magellan companies.

To San Diego, via Chile

To San Diego, via Chile

RV Kaharoa leaves this month on Argo 5 to San Diego via Chile and return. In 2006, Kaharoa will travel west to Mauritius (‘Argo 6’). Kaharoa was also used on Argo 1, 2, & 4. Argo 3, to the Southern Ocean, was conducted by RV Tangaroa. NIWA has deployed more floats than any other organisation.

NIWA’s 28-metre research vessel Kaharoa sets sail shortly to deploy more ocean-profiling Argo floats across the Pacific.

Habitat map for taiapure

Habitat map for taiapure

NIWA produced this interactive CD-ROM to accompany the habitat map. The taiapure committee can click on points of interest on the map and view side scans of the seabed, and video footage of habitat and species, at that location.

The Wakapuaka Taiapure covers over 15 km of coastline and extends up to 4 km offshore from Cable Bay to Whangamoa Head in northern Tasman Bay.
The Department of Conservation, in association with the Taiapure Committee, contracted NIWA to survey the nearshore area to map reefs and other seafloor features.

Tide advice for rescue centre

Tide advice for rescue centre

When packages of a toxic fumigant were found off the Northland coast in April, the Rescue Coordination Centre called NIWA for advice on tides.
Tides are a significant part of the currents around New Zealand. For example, around North Cape, tidal currents can flow at up to 50 centimetres per second (or 1 knot).
NIWA’s tide model can calculate surface height and depth-averaged currents for any location around New Zealand, making it a handy tool in helping locate things drifting at sea.

Picture perfect for port

Picture perfect for port

Colour terrain model of the EM3000 multibeam data overlain on an aerial photograph for Port Taranaki. This shows the level of detail now available for port engineering projects.

NIWA’s recent survey for Westgate Transport, which runs Port Taranaki, demonstrates the remarkable detail of our EM3000 multibeam mapping.
The survey, commissioned by Duffill Watts & King, aimed to establish a clear picture of the nature of the seabed before deepening of the harbour.

Future waves

For the past year, NIWA has been conducting in-house trials of a system which produces rolling 5-day forecasts of wave conditions.
Waves are generated by wind. The NIWA model currently uses 5-day forecasts of winds over the world’s oceans from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The model converts those wind forecasts into the likely wave patterns, taking into account the physics of how waves build up, travel, and dissipate.

New tool for marine conservation and management

New tool for marine conservation and management
New Zealand’s first-ever Marine Environment Classification (MEC) is complete.

The MEC divides New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into areas with similar environmental and biological character. We used eight environmental variables to define the classification. They all relate to the physical characteristics of the ocean, including depth, tidal currents, and aspects of sea surface temperature. Biological features of an area (e.g., what creatures live there) tend to be closely aligned with the environment.

A research vessel for all seasons

New Zealand’s only ice-strengthened research vessel is nothing if not versatile.

Tangaroa in Antarctica’s Western Ross Sea. NIWA Vessel Management’s purpose-built hydrographic survey launch, Pelorus, in the foreground, can be carried and launched from Tangaroa.

The 70-metre long Tangaroa, which is owned and operated by NIWA Vessel Management Ltd, spent much of October undertaking resource mapping along the Kermadec Arc as a joint scientific study with the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences.

Charts of coastal bathymetry, sediment, and other information are available for purchase.

Learn more about the weather and its impacts on the environment, or select your own study topic and create ideas for science projects from our climate data.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
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Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
Hydrodynamics Scientist
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Senior Regional Manager - Wellington
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Fisheries Acoustics Scientist
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Physical Oceanographer
Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
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Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
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Marine Ecology Technician
Hydrodynamics Scientist
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Fisheries Scientist
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Marine Ecology Technician
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Principal Technician - Marine Geology
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Principal Technician - Fisheries
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