University marine biologist wins environment award

11 June 2018
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Blue whale mother and calf in the Hauraki Gulf, 2010.

Associate Professor Rochelle Constantine has been named inaugural winner of the Sir Peter Blake Trust environment award for her work in marine research and conservation.

An inspiring science teacher and leading researcher in the School of Biological Sciences and the Institute of Marine Science at the University, Associate Professor Constantine has spent her career studying the ecology and behaviour of marine mammals both within Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and throughout the wider Pacific including Antarctica and the Kermadec Islands.

Her work on a campaign to increase protections for whale populations within the Hauraki Gulf led to slower speeds for large vessels which has dramatically reduced the number of whales injured or killed by ship strike. She has been instrumental in leading a number of initiatives for expanded protection for humpback whales and Māui’s dolphin including revision of guidelines for international dolphin-watch tourism.

She was also a strong advocate for the creation of a marine reserve at the Kermadec Islands. A highly valued mentor and teacher, Associate Professor Constantine is Group Leader of the Marine Mammal Ecology Group within the School of Biological Sciences.

“I'm delighted to accept this award, it is humbling to be singled out from the many others who have worked on so many projects to help protect our marine environment,” she says. “I do see this award as acknowledgement of all of those people and their dedication and commitment to the important research that has led to real benefits for these species.”

The Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards are named after New Zealand sailor and environmentalist Sir Peter Blake and are given to leaders who have shown determination and a will to succeed.


Watch a video featuring Rochelle Constantine

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