Oceans

Recording old oceans centre tag.

Latest news

Scientists on an expedition to the underexplored Bounty Trough off New Zealand have discovered around 100 new and potentially new ocean species.
An expedition to discover new species in one of the most remote parts of the deep ocean is departing from Wellington today.
NIWA are studying the ocean off Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay to see how Cyclone Gabrielle has impacted the health of fisheries habitats and seabed ecosystems.
The 2022 Tonga volcanic eruption triggered the fastest underwater flow ever recorded.

Our work

Led by Ocean Census, NIWA and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a team of scientists are spending 21 days investigating the unexplored Bounty Trough ocean system off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Latest videos

Tonga eruption and tsunami shock the world

Tsunamis and shockwaves hit continents on the other side of the Pacific. The Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha'apai (HT-HH) volcano was like a massive shotgun blast from the deep, generating the biggest atmospheric explosion recorded on Earth in more than 100 years. Funded by The Nippon Foundation, NIWA and SEA-KIT surveyed over 22,000km2 surrounding the volcano, including mapping 14,000km2 of previously unmapped seafloor as part of The Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 project. Find out more: https://niwa.co.nz/news/tonga-eruption-confirmed-as-largest-ever-recorded

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. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll outlines the team’s busy research schedule examining biodiversity and ocean dynamics in the world’s largest marine protected area.

Check out more stories from the 2021 Antarctic voyage

The instruments at work - In the volcano's wake

Our team onboard RV Tangaroa are equipped with all the tech and tools they need to explore the undersea changes caused by the devastating volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this year. They’ve been using a range of nifty scientific instruments to sample all matters of the ocean from the seafloor through to the water column. The line-up includes the: - DTIS (deep-towed imaging system) - Multicorer - CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) - Glider Find out what each of them do in our video. The NIWA-Nippon Foundation Tonga Eruption Seabed Mapping Project (TESMaP) is funded by The Nippon Foundation and also supported by The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed2030 Project which aims to map the world’s ocean floor by 2030. Learn more on our website: https://niwa.co.nz/our-science/voyages/2022-tonga-post-eruption

Where and when do white sharks occur in New Zealand waters, and how can fisheries bycatch be reduced?
Ocean acidification is the name given to the lowering of pH of the oceans as a result of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
RV Tangaroa is New Zealand’s only ice strengthened and dynamically positioned deep-water research vessel.
One of the major consequences of climate change is rising global sea levels.
Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning great wave in harbour

Targeted geological sampling and imaging by NIWA scientists next week will help understand active seabed processes in one of New Zealand's largest seafloor features.

New Zealand’s coast is sculpted by ocean waves. Some wave conditions bring joy to surfers and beachgoers, but, at other times, waves can cause major hazards at sea or along the shore.

The waters around New Zealand have some of the highest waves in the world, being exposed to swell coming up from the Southern Ocean, as well as storms in the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean.
Technical information about our datasets and methodology along with related resources.

Wind and wind energy

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An example of results from a numerical model shows a line across the Manawatu hills near Te Apiti wind farm. (Click for detail)

Portable wind-monitoring station in Northland. (Photo: Graeme Mackay)

The NIWA SODAR on Tararua wind farm in 2000 and a sample wind profile. A foam plastic sound baffle is placed around the instrument to improve its performance. (Photo: Errol Lewthwaite)

Pete Mason and Dennis Jamieson check out the upgraded SODAR in 2005. (Photo: Bob Newland)

New Zealand is blessed with an abundant wind resource.

The transfer rate of most gases between the atmosphere and ocean is controlled by processes just beneath the water surface.

NIWA and The Nippon Foundation are undertaking a mission to discover the undersea impacts of the recent Tongan volcanic eruption.

Learn more about past climate variations over New Zealand.

The coldest seawater on earth could help scientists understand why Antarctic sea ice is growing in a warming world

It's an epic journey for a small bird. A team of scientists from New Zealand, the US, and France has discovered that sooty shearwaters (known to Kiwis as muttonbirds or titi) make a 64 000 km round trip each year, chasing summer across the Pacific.

This measures rain by the drop as well as by the tradional 'tip'. We can configure it either with an SDI12 serial data interface or an integral logger with cellular communications.

The High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF) is supercharging New Zealand science—powering scientists working at the forefront of New Zealand’s greatest science challenges.

Currents of change: the ocean flow in a changing world

PDF of this article (2 MB)

Lionel Carter
There is evidence that warming following the last ice age caused major shifts in the strengths and locations of ocean currents. Will this trend continue in a warming “greenhouse” world?
An oceanographer could not live in a better place. New Zealand’s long, narrow landmass straddles two of the planet’s major water masses – Subtropical and Subantarctic surface waters.

The world’s oceans are acidifying as a result of the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by humanity.
NIWA has transformed 1.5 million square kilometres of data into the most accurate and detailed map yet of the land underneath the sea around New Zealand.
Hull-mounted on the RV Tangaroa, the EM302 multibeam echosounder maps the seafloor using a fan of 288 acoustic beams, producing up to 864 soundings per ping in dual swath mode, providing 100% coverage of the seabed.
We are currently steaming out towards our survey area, the Louisville Seamount Chain, which is about 1500 km from Wellington.
An interactive guide to the sponges of New Zealand.

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All staff working on this subject

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Principal Scientist - Marine Geology
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Marine Ecologist - Quantitative Modeller
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
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
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
Chief Scientist - Coasts and Estuaries
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Physical Oceanographer
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