Recording old oceans centre tag.

Latest news

NIWA is contributing to an international effort to help developing countries reduce the impact of biofouling on aquatic-based industries and environments.
NIWA and The Nippon Foundation are undertaking a mission to discover the undersea impacts of the recent Tongan volcanic eruption.
New research from the Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate and NIWA shows that New Zealand could experience very long and “very severe” marine heatwaves by the end of the century.
NIWA scientists and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) have used satellite technology to chart the Cook Islands’ seafloor in never-before-seen detail. The work was done as part of Seabed 2030 - a collaborative project to produce a definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030.

Our work

Clouds over the ocean, and how they trap or emit radiation from the sun, are partly influenced by the biology, biogeochemistry and physics of the surface ocean below.

We need information on the food web structures of our marine ecosystems in order to manage the effects on the ecosystem of fishing, aquaculture and mining, as well as understanding the potential impacts of climate variability and change on our oceans. 

Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.

Latest videos

Dive into the alien world of plankton in the Ross Sea

Plankton are the base of the oceans food web and are vital to our survival. But as our world changes will they be able to continue to play this essential role? Join us as we follow a group of NIWA scientists investigating various aspects of this question in the ocean around Antarctica.

Antarctic science onboard NIWA’s RV Tangaroa
Researchers are working their way through a wealth of new Antarctic marine data after RV Tangaroa successfully completed its five week scientific voyage to the Ross Sea.
NIWA's Sarah Searson and Jennie Mowatt
If you want to get accurate scientific readings from the icy depths of the Ross Sea, who do you turn to?
Ocean Acidification
This video has been produced to highlight ocean acidification as a potential issue affecting the NZ shellfish aquaculture industry

Wave rider buoy 'very valuable'

Wave rider buoy 'very valuable'

Since 1995, NIWA’s wave rider buoy off Baring Head, near the entrance to Wellington Harbour, has been providing the harbourmaster, Toll NZ (formerly Tranz Rail), and the MetService with accurate measurements of the waves off Wellington’s south coast.
Captain Mike Pryce is the Wellington regional harbourmaster.

Offshore exploration

Offshore exploration

This shows the modelled mean currents off the east coast of the North Island. The colours show the speed of the currents. The arrows show both direction and speed (the longer the arrow, the faster the current).
The main feature is the East Cape Current which flows down the east coast and turns off eastward near 42° S (south of the Wairarapa coast). Here it joins current from Cook Strait giving the strongest mean currents of over 30 centimetres per second (shown in red).

Habitat mapping highlight

Habitat mapping highlight

The demonstration on Tangaroa included imaging this wreck of a minesweeper which sank in Wellington Harbour in 1942 after colliding with an inter-island ferry.

Ian Wright (below right), national centre leader, and Kevin Mackay, marine data manager, demonstrating seabed mapping on RV Tangaroa.

Mapping life on the Napier seafloor

It sounds easy, but equipment and vessel time as well as unpredictable weather make it time consuming and expensive to map the seafloor using cameras alone.

At NIWA, we have developed a quicker, more cost effective method. First we acoustically map the seafloor using technology such as sidescan or multibeam sonar. We use the acoustic images, and our ecological experience, to guide where we deploy video cameras. Once we have the video footage, we use statistical techniques and ecological information on the importance of various species to classify the observations into habitat types.

Monitoring Auckland's intertidal zones

NIWA has been designing and analysing long-term monitoring programmes for the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) to check whether the ecology of some of the region’s harbours is changing.
It can be difficult to measure the impact of human-induced changes on the animals which live in the sandflats, mudflats, rock, beaches, and other terrain between the high and low tide marks. The creatures are generally small, hidden, and tend to cluster together in small patches.

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

The flotilla of icebergs currently off the South Island were probably once part of a much larger iceberg from the Ronne Ice Shelf, on the other side of Antarctica from New Zealand.



All staff working on this subject

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Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
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Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) Numerical Modeller
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Marine Sedimentologist
Principal Scientist - Carbon Chemistry and Modelling
General Manager - Operations
Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Invertebrate Systematist
Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
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Marine Physics Modeller
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Physical Oceanographer
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
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