BLAKE Expeditions
Auckland Islands 2016

In 2016 delegates travelled to the Auckland Islands on board HMNZS Otago to learn from world class scientists and environmental leaders while undertaking science research and exploration.

The Auckland Islands are located in the Southern Ocean where the Antarctic Convergence in the south meets the Subtropical Convergence in the north. 

The Auckland Islands have the richest flora of the five New Zealand Sub-Antarctic island groups with 233 species recorded, of which 196 taxa are indigenous. This gives them the greatest diversity of the Sub-Antarctic Islands as well as being the farthest south that trees grow naturally.

Students worked with a range of scientists, to explore the region and find out why it is so critical to understand climate change and ocean health. They completed a sea floor survey, used a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), collected plankton, and took sediment cores from the sea floor to create a picture of the geological history of the area. They visited shipwrecks and historical sites of human endeavour and obvserved albatross, sea lion, and yellow-eyed penguin in their natural environment.

During this time students were full integrated in the  ships company, learning valuable lessons about life on board a Navy ship and formeing strong friendships and networks.

“As I sit in the hanger, looking out to the Sub-Antarctic ocean at twilight. I can’t help but think how lucky I am and thankful for this opportunity. This experience has extended my love for the water and to be working on such a unique island with knowledgeable mentors and such enthusiastic student voyagers, it’s clear for me that I want my future to be filled with many more adventures.”

– Isla Christensen, 2016 BLAKE Expeditions Voyager

Meet our 2016 student voyagers

Aidan Braid


Isla Christensen


Sam Kilsby


Raven Maeder



Guy McDonald



Shahin Najak



Oxana Repina


Simran Rughani


Nina Santos


Ben Pigott



Tama-Hauti Potaka



Tim Rutherford



Shannon Williams


Jessica Yule


Meet our 2016 crew

Gary Wilson

Expedition Leader & Scientific Project Director

Hannah Prior

Chief Operating Officer

Jacob Anderson

Communications / Media

Amanda Brown

Natural Resources Engineer


Sally Carson

Marine Biologist



Craig Cary

Microbial Ecologist


Isobel Ewing


Cherie Fenemor

Educator at Sea

Shay Van Der Hurk

Department of Conservation

Sheelagh James

Expedition Doctor


Rebecca McLeod

Marine Ecologist 

Brendon O'Hagan

Cameraman / Editor


Harry Josephson-Rutter

Marine Scientist

Amelia Willis

Department of Conservation Liaison