Thomas Morris

Senior Programme Manager

I work with the BLAKE team coordinating and delivering the NZ-VR and Explorers programmes in Tāmaki Makaurau. Our goal is to give students a taste of the underwater world and inspire them to care for and protect our natural environments. I joined BLAKE in January of 2021 while completing my PhD in Marine Science at the University of Auckland.

My love, passion and curiosity for the ocean started at the age of 11 when I learned to SCUBA dive. At the age of 18 I qualified as a PADI Instructor as I wanted to share my passion for the ocean, and it was through instructing that I developed a love for teaching.

I grew up in South Africa and obtained my BSc and MSc in marine biology and ecology from the University of Cape Town. After my MSc, I managed the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) in Port Elizabeth, an organisation that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases stranded marine birds, including the endangered African penguin.

Being the questioner that I am, I wanted to deepen my understanding of the marine world, particularly for a group of animals that have a bad reputation: parasites. Therefore, in 2018 I moved to New Zealand to start my PhD in marine parasitology with the aim of understanding how changes in our climate will impact these hugely misunderstood animals.