Blake NIWA Ambassador

This year there will be three Blake NIWA Ambassador Programmes available encompassing climate, atmospheric, ocean and freshwater sciences. Details of each programme are described below.

National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

NIWA is New Zealand’s largest provider of climate, atmospheric, ocean and freshwater sciences. Approximately half of its effort is in developing new knowledge and the other half is in applying it. NIWA’s areas of expertise cover:

Coasts & Oceans

NIWA is New Zealand’s largest marine science organisation, with ~508 staff who contribute to the ~$60M of annual research and science services conducted in this area. These experts are supported by the fully-equipped research vessel Tangaroa, other smaller vessels, specialist remote, on-board, and at-base analysis equipment, the high performance computer and the marine and aquaculture research facility at Bream Bay. Its marine science includes:

  • Assessing the geological and biological resources of the seafloor.
  • Understanding ocean currents and productivity.
  • Determining the effects of stressors on marine ecosystem resilience and recovery, taking an ecosystem-based approach.
  • Identifying threats from introduced seaweeds and animals, and developing tools to mitigate their impact.
  • Assessing fish stocks and developing ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management.
  • Determining the impacts of fisheries and aquaculture on marine ecosystems.
  • Developing techniques for the aquaculture of established and emerging shellfish and finfish species.

Freshwater & Estuaries

NIWA has ~350 staff who contribute to the ~$40M of annual research and science services conducted in this area. These experts utilise data from NIWA’s water monitoring network of 100 sites, as well as from additional data collection campaigns using specialist sampling and analytical equipment. It’s freshwater and estuaries science includes:

  • Predicting the dynamics of water availability and the ecosystem limits to allocation
  • Understanding the interactions between surface waters and groundwater, including the pathways for transfer of contaminants
  • Identifying threats from introduced aquatic plants and animals and developing tools to mitigate their impact
  • Developing techniques to enhance ecosystem health in response to contaminants and habitat modification
  • Developing improved operational tools for the forecasting of floods

Climate, Atmosphere & Weather (and related Hazards)

NIWA has ~300 staff who contribute to the ~$30M of annual research and science services in this area. These experts utilise NIWA’s high-performance computer, atmospheric composition sampling and analysis equipment, and NIWA’s 200 weather measurement sites across the country. They also participate in extensive global collaborations that enrich New Zealand’s science and provide opportunity for adding greater benefit. Its climate, atmosphere and weather science includes:

  • Observe, analyse and model the atmosphere and climate of the New Zealand region.
  • Determine the role of oceans in influencing New Zealand’s climate.
  • Predict the effects of climate change and variability on New Zealand and the South West Pacific.
  • Determine the impacts of air pollutants on human health and evaluate mitigation options.
  • Predict and evaluate risks, impacts and potential losses from weather-related hazards.
  • Develop and deliver operational weather and weather-impact forecast models.

Surveying humpback whales in the Ross Sea during the Blake NIWA Ambassadorship on Tangaroa in 2015.


Blake NIWA Ambassadors – Marine

Location: Bream Bay (Whangarei)

NIWA's Northland Marine Science Centre is home to New Zealand’s largest on-land marine research facility.  At present the site is dominated by aquaculture research and pilot-scale aquaculture production for two of New Zealand iconic marine fish species the Yellowtail kingfish and Hāpuku (pronounced Hapuka).  Aquaculture is one of New Zealand’s main success stories with our cultured species maintaining a high reputation for quality.  Our team in Northland is highly skilled in all aspects of aquaculture research and production and hosts researchers and students from around the world to collaborate and learn the best techniques that currently exist. The Ambassadors would have the opportunity to become part of our young team and learn what it is to participate in a well disciplined and efficient operation at the cutting edge of research and production to farm marine finfish.  They would have the chance to find out about good and ethical fish husbandry, how to look after large broodstock (fish as large as 40kg), larval rearing and the production of live microfeeds, size grading, health management, basic system management, feed management and finally harvesting.  The Ambassadors to be willing to work hard, follow direction for procedures and safety and above all to be keen to learn and participate in the day to day operations of our vibrant successful site.

Time frame: November - December 2018


Blake NIWA Ambassadors – Freshwater

Location: Waikato

The Blake Ambassador will be involved in a number of fishing surveys utilising multiple techniques. These will include monitoring inanga (the main whitebait species) using gee minnow trapping and electric fishing at sites in the Waikato Region, electric fishing surveys determining the success of the remediation of two migration barriers as part of our whitebait habitat restoration programme, and fyke net surveys to capture and tag giant kokopu (a threatened whitebait species) to understand its spawning ecology.

Time frame: Late January to mid-February 2019


Blake NIWA Ambassadors – Atmosphere and climate

Location: Wellington and Lauder

The awards primary focus is field measurements of climate and atmospheric variables.

Atmospheric composition and climate variability. Join NIWA science teams and become engaged in the day-to-day activities of measurement programmes at the key NIWA measurement sites of Lauder and Wellington (Baring Head). Learn how the measurements and samples are used and contribute to NIWA, New Zealand and International science programmes.

Numerate with computer skills and keen interest in atmospheric composition and/or climate variability and change. Strong team player, personable with good communication skills.

Assist with measurements of atmospheric constituents and state variables from a range of instruments. Assist with processing and analysis of measurements. Assist with analysis of air samples for trace gases.

Time frame: Late November/December 2018, 3-4 weeks. 1 week in Lauder and 2-3 weeks in Wellington.

Applications are Closed

Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners
Picture of Blake Ambassador partners