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Want to meet the people behind the scenes that make NIWA’s science on water possible? Melanie Hayden spent a month aboard the Research Vessel Tangaroa getting to know the crew and scientists who have had plenty of adventures!

Crew of RV Tangaroa

Position: Cook A highlight experience was definitely seeing three humpback whales breaching in succession in Antarctica right outside the galley window.  There ended up being about eight whales but those three were so close! I’ve been working at NIWA for 5 years in April. Before that I was a cook in Strait shipping (ferries). I […]

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Position: Steward One time on the Straitsman ferry there was a hideous stormy night. My workmate friend, also called Kendal and I were working on the night run where there were no passengers and there was a freak 18m trough. As we went through it, we just held each other for dear life like Jack […]

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Position: Extra 2nd mate Back when I was fishing, we were 1800 miles from nearest land, and we got a net stuck around the propeller. We took a mask off a BA set and hooked a line into a compressor to make an underwater breathing apparatus. We then cut out the bottom of a fish […]

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Position: 2nd mate I’ve been working at NIWA for 2 years. Before that I was on cement carriers for Holcim and before that I spent 6 months on deck of the R/V Falkor. I trained on oil tankers and then did four years on cruise ships as third mate before moving onto Schmitt ocean institute […]

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Position: 1st mate I chose a life at sea even though I’m allergic to seafood! I’ve been working at NIWA for 10 years. Before that I was a boatbuilder. As the first mate I manage the crew, oversee deck operations and keep watch on the bridge. I find the job both interesting and challenging. My […]

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Position: Captain We had a shark attack rescue at Campbell Island a few years ago. We needed to go to Northwest Bay which is unnavigated. We went in dark at mid night and needed to hold station for a helicopter to find its way and land. We fired rockets for the helicopter to be able […]

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Position: 3rd Engineer When I was working with the UK company there was an engine room fire on Christmas day. We were sailing across Pacific towards New Zealand. It was quite an experience because it was the first time, I had experienced a fire on the boat. There was a lot of smoke and it […]

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Position/Job title: 2nd Marine engineer I’ve lived an adventurous life and have been all around the world while being paid for it. It is difficult to choose just one favourite voyage. Antarctic sampling trips have been interesting, and I’ve also been through the Panama Canal. There have also been delivery trips from Europe to New […]

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Position: Chief engineer I got snotted on by a whale once. I was working on deck on the R.V. Kaharoa under the welding helmet doing some welding. I thought the deck hands were wetting me and looked up to tell them off and saw a whale covering me in snot! One of the best voyages […]

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Position: Able-bodied seaman (AB) The memories I have of fishing are special. We went to Tahiti on the Kaharoa to drop some ARGO floats in the middle of New Zealand’s winter. Considering it was frosts and rain and rubbish back home it was fantastic. IN 2017 I was on the Ikatere doing multibeam sonar in the […]

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Position: Able-bodied seaman (AB) I’ve been at NIWA for 12 years, since 2007. Before that I worked at Sealords. We do different work depending the trip.  I love working in these conditions (*covered in sea spray after cleaning the deck*) but I’m looking forward to retiring early! I enjoy the trips up North, towards Papua New […]

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Position: Leading hand Way back when Glen and I used to be the boat boys we used to run our moorings out the side of the ship in the cutaway, tow them out in the work boat and then come back to the ship. We put a mooring out. Once the mooring was out by […]

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Position: Able-bodied seaman (AB) One morning I fell into the water at the wharf in all my gear! The ladder rung snapped and I couldn’t figure out which way was up because it was dark.  While I was down there I saw a piecost and I knew I was going to be alright. I’ve been […]

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Position: Bosun The nickname came from when I started working here. There were three other people all ending in -oh. The leading hand at the time was Jonno, the deckhand was Shelmo, another crew member was called Deano, and so Glen became Glenbo. I’ve been working at NIWA for 27 years since I was 19. […]

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Scientists of RV Tangaroa

Position: BLAKE Program Manager/photographer and videographer I once bought a super nice but also expensive handbag. One of my academic colleagues decided it was so ridiculous that he started drawing handbags on my fish diagrams that I was supposed to demonstrate to the class! Not only that, but he started transforming the fish he caught […]

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Position: BLAKE Ambassador We decided to spread some Christmas cheer around the boat.  One person made some little paper Santa hats and we placed them on a few of the fish we caught, took photos and stuck them in various strategic places around the ship.  Let’s just say some people were a little shocked while […]

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Position: BLAKE Ambassador One time we were sorting fish into the dills on the ship. A scientist and I were in charge of the same couple of dills and it became a friendly competition to see who could sort the most fish. A hoki came along and slipped under my hands and the un-named scientist […]

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Position: NIWA Electronics, Software and IT support Even new technology can fail for an Electronics guy.  I bought a new phone before the holidays, and a mate texted me.  I was in Napier at the time, and meant to send “Hey, I’m in Napier right now.”  My new phone didn’t understand “Napier” and replaced it […]

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Position: 3rd year Student at Bangor University and student intern from Bangor at NIWA I touched a head appendage of a ghost shark without gloves because I was told it would feel like Velcro… It did not. [insert picture of head appendage]. I’m working with NIWA on a 9-month internship which started in October. I […]

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Position: Squid taxonomist and conservation geneticist When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to work on squids so I applied for Marine and Freshwater Biology at uni. I was inspired by Steve O’Shea—the giant squid hunter (world famous in New Zealand). I read an article about him in the New Yorker, […]

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Position: Fisheries scientist On my first sea trip I was at St John’s, Newfoundland. As we left the harbor, we had a malfunction with the engines and the engines died. St. John’s has a narrow harbour that leads to the open ocean. South of us there was a peninsula that sticks out with a lighthouse; […]

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Position: NIWA Fisheries modeller On this voyage I nearly stepped on some slime that washed out an oreo stomach. I like stomach slime, so I picked it up. Turns out it may be a new species of squid. Who’d’ve thought? Cool. I’ve been working at NIWA for 6 years and 9 months. Before that I […]

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Position: Independent marine scientist I was a fisheries observer in South Georgia and one day there was a fire on a Korean fishing boat, so we helped with a response. We needed to give oxygen to the recovering crew. The ones who were a little better were challenged to a game of football in the […]

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Position: NIWA fisheries biologist/cephalopod parataxonomist I have a big cephalopod beak collection which Heather Braid has DNA barcoded to know what species they are. We can use the beaks to find out the size, species, sex and maturity of squid. Beaks can be used to identify food in the diets of other species (sea lions, […]

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Position: NIWA Principal Scientist, Program leader for stock assessment and monitoring. One of the most fun things I’ve done was let Happy Feet  the penguin go. We brought him to the Sub-Antarctic to let him go in 2011. It was very cool going on a voyage with a celebrity penguin (he had travelled a long […]

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Position: NIWA fisheries scientist, Voyage leader I was invited to attend a voyage on a French vessel East of Madagascar once. We got to travel around the Indian ocean getting acoustic data, and we travelled to the Sub-Antarctic islands and land on them to see elephant and leopard seals and penguins. After landing on the […]

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