NIWA Vessels Ltd

Short Name: NIWA
Country: New Zealand


The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA) is a New Zealand research and consultancy organisation owned by the New Zealand Government. The organisation specialises in atmospheric, hydrological, coastal and marine studies and surveys. NIWA currently employs some 626 scientists, engineers and support staff and has an annual turnover in excess of NZ$130 million.

NIWA (and its predecessor organisation) has over 50 years’ experience pioneering scientific operations in the waters around New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific and Antarctica. From its vessels NIWA can deploy a wide range of survey equipment, including AUV’s, ROV’s, single and multi-channel seismic systems, sub-bottom profilers, side-scan sonars, seabed samplers, cameras, corers and a host of oceanographic instrumentation.

NIWA Vessels Ltd is wholly owned by NIWA and is responsible for operating three research vessels. Ikatere (13.9m coastal research vessel), Kaharoa (28m Fisheries and multipurpose research vessel) Tangaroa (70m Ocean Class fisheries and multipurpose research vessel).

NIWA’s vessels conduct many varied marine surveys and investigations, supported by teams of experienced and

well-trained technical staff. NIWA Vessels have conducted over 65 commercial surveys in the last ten years, in addition to numerous scientific (FRST/MBIE) surveys. Some of our recent clients have included Department of Conservation (DOC), Ministry of Fisheries/ Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Auckland Regional Council, Wellington Regional Council, Marlborough District Council, Geological Nuclear Sciences, University of Denmark, University of Malta, Aberdeen University, SCRIPPS, JASMSTEC, University of Washington, Australian Antarctic Division, Transpower, Geosciences Australia, Neptune, Trans-Tasman Resources, Chatham Rock Phosphate, Anadarko, Statoil, Chevron, OMV, and Shell NZ.

The location of NIWA Vessels may provide Eurofleets+ a unique option to cost effectively conduct marine research in the South Pacific, or as a convenient location to launch an Antarctica voyage.


NIWA are involved in WP2 Transnational Access.
Access to Research Vessels and related infrastructure: RV Tangaroa [GlobalOcean]. Providing a highly capable research vessel in the Pacific/Indian Ocean/Tasman Sea/Timor Sea/Antarctica/Ross Sea etc. Mobilisation in New Zealand could provide an efficient Southern Hemisphere/Australasia Research Vessel option for European organisations significantly reducing transit costs. NIWA would also be interested in collaborating with science agencies on a case by case basis in areas of mutual interest.

NIWA will undertake activities in WP1 Project Management and WP5 Stakeholder Engagement.

Modality of access: The ‘User Group’ will be required to submit a voyage proposal to NIWA for review, at least half a year in advance of the voyage. Preliminary voyage details should be discussed with NIWA prior to preparation of the proposal. Any request for collaboration should be held in advance of this voyage proposal. The proposal should state explicitly whether the voyage is time bound and why. Successful proposals will be tentatively scheduled where the schedule allows. A charter contract will be sent to the user group for signing. The user group will be responsible for obtaining all consents and permits required for the voyage.

The vessel will be available for any scientific research proposal within NIWA’s capability. If a collaborative voyage is organised then NIWA may gift extra days dependant on the nature of the collaboration. A price uplift will apply for any Antarctica Voyages. All persons onboard will be required to have STCW90 certification or equivalent (e.g. BOISET) and a full valid NZ Maritime compliant medical certificate.

Outreach to new users: NIWA have a full dedicated outreach team that will develop an outreach plan alongside the ‘user group’. European agencies specialising in location based Pacific or Antarctic marine sciences, or subject based sciences such as geological marine hazards/plate tectonics etc will benefit from access to a local high specification research vessel enabling cost effective access to field work relevant to their various disciplines. RV Tangaroa provides European researchers an alternative cheaper option to sending European vessels to the Pacific, with a smaller environmental footprint. NIWA have hosted two European funded voyages this year. It is expected that there will be high demand for this vessel time in the years to come. Any increase in utilisation will be easily monitored and reported.

Relevant Publications

NIWA puts out a variety of electronic and print publications about their research and services: Web publications:


Private Bag 99940, Newmarket, Auckland 1149
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