New collaboration between University of Auckland and Conservation International

07 July 2014
Standing (from left to right):  Olive Andrews – Conservation International; Roger Lins – Assoc Dean, Partnering & Strategic Projects; Gillian Lewis – Head SBS. Seated (from left to right): Sue Taei – Conservation International; John Hosking – Dean of Science; Simon Thrush – Head IMS
Standing (from left to right): Olive Andrews – Conservation International; Roger Lins – Assoc Dean, Partnering & Strategic Projects; Gillian Lewis – Head SBS. Seated (from left to right): Sue Taei – Conservation International; John Hosking – Dean of Science; Simon Thrush – Head IMS

New marine research programmes for the Pacific region will be developed under an agreement between the University of Auckland and international conservation agency Conservation International.

The new collaboration will also see Conservation International staff based at the University’s city campus.

Conservation International is a global NGO with a focus on the Pacific region. It has offices in more than 30 countries including Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa.

Dean of Science Professor John Hosking said Conservation International’s strong presence throughout the wider Pacific brought new opportunities for students and staff. This included new research programmes studying marine and island life in the wider Pacific environment.

“This will strengthen the University’s links and connections in the Pacific region with opportunities for both students and staff to participate in regional activities flowing from this new agreement,” Professor Hosking said.

Head of the University’s Institute of Marine Science, Professor Simon Thrush, said the collaboration with Conservation International would help highlight major marine conservation issues in the Pacific.

“This partnership provides new opportunities for students and staff to engage in research addressing integrative conservation and resource management issues in our region. The opportunity for University staff and students to strengthen our understanding of important conservation issues facing our region is important and working with CI we will be better placed to train students and engage them in solution-focused research.”

Professor Gillian Lewis, Head of the School of Biological Sciences, said the new relationship with Conservation International would add to existing research collaborations between the University and agencies working in biodiversity and biosecurity.

“There is a lot of potential in the marine space for our scientists to carry out research programmes that will enhance our understanding of the unique ecosystems in this part of the world and to use that research to help protect the marine life that is such an important part of the economic and cultural life of Pacific nations.”

Executive Director of Conservation International for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Sue Miller Taei, said the collaboration meant diverse research and conservation initiatives would be supported in the new research and conservation hub based in Auckland.

“One of the challenges for us is a lack of research capacity in the region and the University stood out as a natural base for that and the creation of new research programmes involving both Faculty and post-graduates,” she said.