Leigh Marine Laboratory

Perched on cliffs above the sea, Leigh Marine Laboratory is our marine research base and most northerly campus (about 100km northeast of Auckland City).

Leigh Marine Laboratory

The laboratory provides students access to the nearby Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (also known as Goat Island Reserve and the Leigh Marine Reserve).

Goat Island Reserve is New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve. Established in 1975 for the purpose of scientific study, it covers 518 hectares of marine environment.

The laboratory itself offers a range of facilities including:

Research facilities

  • Laboratories - wet, chemistry, and microscopic
  • Constant temperature room for algal culture
  • Seawater system for holding live animals
  • Tank rooms with large and small aquaria with both flow through and reticulated seawater capabilities
  • Workshop - fully-equipped with two full-time technicians
  • Coastal climate station with 30 years of records

Teaching and learning

  • Coastal and marine library reference collection
  • Computer and software resources
  • Teaching laboratory and seminar room with remote video link to the city campus

Boat Fleet

  • Home to the largest boat fleet at any New Zealand University
  • 15-metre RV Hawere research vessel (able to support six people for up to a week at sea)
  • A fleet of smaller (<6m) outboard motor vessels for local coast access


  • Temporary bunkroom accommodation for up to 24 students
  • Four longer-term student accommodation units
  • A nearby self-contained cottage for visiting researchers

Postgraduate students can also access the following facilities at NIWA:

  • Deepwater RV Tangaroa, the only vessel of its kind in New Zealand
  • A range of other ocean-going research vessels 
  • Bream Bay Aquaculture Park 
  • National Centre for Aquaculture

For more information about visiting, volunteering or conducting research at the laboratory, please contact:

Phone: +64 9 422 6111
Email: ugadvice-marine@auckland.ac.nz