SDG #14 Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Home of leading marine scientists addressing key issues facing our coasts and estuaries

Unique aquaculture programme focused on innovative use of marine resources

World-class facilities in Tauranga offering full access to a unique and varied 'living lab'

We are proud to be a leading centre of marine excellence in New Zealand, attracting a growing number of research programmes focused on areas including marine biology, coastal processes and aquaculture. Situated inside New Zealand’s busiest commercial port in Tauranga, our Coastal Marine Field Station is also the gateway to Whakaari White Island, the world’s only temperate submarine volcanic system permitting real-time in situ climate change and natural hazard research. We have ambitious plans for expansion and currently have a proposal before national authorities to establish a new multidisciplinary Marine Research and Education Centre.

Some things we are especially proud of

Our unique aquaculture undergraduate programme in Tauranga.

Dr Shari Gallop who was recognised for her research which explores the degradation of estuaries in 2020 when she received a fellowship from L'Oréal/UNESCO For Women in Science.

Our brand new facility in Tauranga dedicated to macroalgal research - the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Our large team of researchers tackling the key issues facing marine environments including Professor Chris Battershill, the public face of New Zealand's worst maritime disaster and award-winning science communicator.

Our researchers recognised by the KuDos Science Trust in 2020.

Our significant contribution to the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge including Dr Joanne Ellis who was recently appointed lead researcher into the impacts of industry and climate change on our marine environment.

Bringing mussels back to Ohiwa

Associate Professor Kura Paul-Burke is a passionate marine scientist based at our Tauranga Campus whose efforts of late have helped restore mussel populations in Ohiwa Harbour through a blend of Māori knowledge and western science.  The new lines, now laden with mussels, are made of woven, natural materials and are far kinder to the harbour than the plastic lines preferred by commercial mussel farmers.  She took out a KuDos Award for her efforts in 2020.


Our world-class facilities in Tauranga

Our Tauranga campus offers the only science research facility in New Zealand specifically configured to address the real issues of our engagement with the sea.  The Coastal Marine Field Station and neighbouring Facility for Macroalgal Research are home to some of New Zealand’s leading scientists and innovators focused on protecting and restoring our marine environment and creating wealth from our marine resources. Undergraduate students in Tauranga can explore life below water through an array of majors within our Bachelor of Science degree including Aquaculture, Coastal Processes, Environmental Sciences, Ecology and Biodiversity. Tauranga is also home to a thriving community of researchers

Tauranga Harbour

Improving the health of our estuaries

Known as the nurseries of the sea, estuaries are important and complicated environments that often slip between the gap of marine and freshwater management. In 2020 a Parliamentary Commission for the Environment released an alarming report on the state of estuaries in New Zealand highlighting the growing problems caused by nutrient rich sediment running off the land. We are proud to have more than 15 PhD students currently carrying out important estuarine research to tackle this problem under the supervision of a world-leading team of experts including Professor Conrad Pilditch.

Macroalgal facility

Unlocking the potential of algae as a nourishing food source

We recently opened a new facility dedicated to macroalgal research in Tauranga. Our team of researchers are now hard at work, creating innovative ways to use the seaweed which is accumulating in our harbours as a result of human impacts including nutrient-rich run-off from local farms. Potential uses include as a plant feed and as a food source for humans including as a nutraceutical (nutritional supplement) and gourmet seaweed salt.