NIWA (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research) 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 and Oceans, Freshwater and Estuaries, Climate, Atmosphere and Weather.

Through BLAKE’s partnership with NIWA, in 2023/2024 we are offering seven young New Zealanders the incredible opportunity to take part in scientific research encompassing climate, atmospheric and freshwater sciences around New Zealand.

These programmes allow environmentally-passionate young Kiwis to contribute to NIWA’s scientific research while advancing their career opportunities and inspiring others.

They do this by working in the field with world-class experts and developing invaluable skills, relationships and leadership qualities that can influence their career pathways.

Further information about the 2023/24 programmes are outlined below.

BLAKE NIWA Ambassador Programmes – 2023/2024

BLAKE NIWA Ambassador – Climate/Atmosphere, Wellington/Lauder
1 position available
Late November / early December 2023 – DATES TBC (3-4 weeks)

In this role, the BLAKE Ambassador will join NIWA science teams and become engaged in the day-to-day activities of measurement programmes at the key NIWA measurement sites of Lauder (Central Otago) and Wellington (Baring Head).

They will be actively involved in NIWA’s Climate and Atmospheric research programmes, learning how the measurements and samples are used and contribute to NIWA, New Zealand and International science programmes.

Activities will include conducting field measurements of climate and atmospheric variables and assisting with processing and analysis of measurements.



BLAKE NIWA Ambassadors – Aquaculture, Bream Head
2 positions available
November / December 2023 – DATES TBC (4 weeks) 

In this role, the BLAKE Ambassadors will join NIWA’s highly-skilled aquaculture team at the Northland Marine Science Centre, which is home to New Zealand’s largest on-land marine research facility.

Here they will be part of a well-disciplined and efficient operation at the cutting edge of research and production to farm marine finfish and participate in the day to day operations of this vibrant and successful sight. They will learn 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.

BLAKE NIWA Ambassador – Freshwater, Waikato
2 positions available
Sometime between November 2023 – January 2024 – DATES TBC (2-3 weeks)

In this role the BLAKE Ambassadors will spend two weeks with NIWA contributing to on-going experiments by learning to conduct monitoring of experiments and analyse improvements in water quality.

They will work with NIWA to develop novel marae and rural property wastewater treatment and develop agricultural run-off treatment and nutrient recovery using filamentous algae.

A key focus in this role is contributing to on-going experiments by learning to conduct monitoring of experiments and analyse improvements in water quality.


BLAKE NIWA Ambassador – Marine, Chatham Rise
2 positions available
4 January – 3 February 2024 (30 days)

The Chatham Rise trawl survey series was started in 1992 and is the most comprehensive time series of species’ abundance at water depths of 200 to 800 m in New Zealand’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The 2024 survey will be the 28th in this time-series.

The main aim of the Chatham Rise surveys is to provide relative biomass estimates of adult and juvenile hoki. Hoki is New Zealand’s largest finfish fishery, with a current annual catch limit of 100 000 t. To manage the hoki fishery and minimise potential risks, it is important to have some predictive ability concerning recruitment into the fishery. Extensive sampling throughout the EEZ has shown that the Chatham Rise is the main nursery ground for juvenile hoki. Abundance estimation of juvenile hoki on the Chatham Rise provides the best index of potential recruitment to the adult fisheries. The survey data are used directly in the hoki stock assessment to estimate recruitment parameters, determine current stock size, and inform projections of future stock status.

Other commercial middle depth species (particularly hake and ling) and a wide range of non-commercial fish and invertebrates are also monitored by this survey. A review of the time series estimated biomass for 142 species or groups, with 49 of these species considered relatively well estimated. For most of these species, the trawl survey is the only fishery-independent estimate of abundance on the Chatham Rise. The trawl survey time series therefore fulfils an important “ecosystem monitoring” role.

There is extensive biological data collection to support fisheries assessments and related projects. Ancillary data, including acoustic (echosounder) and hydrographic (temperature and salinity) data are also routinely collected on the voyage.

Watch a video of 2021/22 BLAKE NIWA Ambassadors below.