The NIWA / University of Waikato Te Waiora Joint Institute for Freshwater Management is looking for keen and enquiring graduates to be part of the next-generation of freshwater scientists and water managers.

Te Waiora collaborative scholarships

Develop kōura fishery enhancement techniques in tributaries of the upper Waikato River using a combination of mātauranga wai and recent western science research findings, thereby addressing iwi aspirations for restoration of their mahinga kai resources.

Degree funded: PhD


  • Assoc Prof Kevin Collier - University of Waikato
  • Dr Erica Williams - NIWA
  • Dr Sue Clearwater - Department of Conservation

Status: Seeking PhD candidates

This project addresses a need for development of restoration techniques, to enhance freshwater crayfish (kōura) abundance and survivorship to harvestable sizes, and to increase their resilience to climate change.

The work will be focussed on tributaries of the upper Waikato River in the Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa rohe, and will involve field studies and manipulative experiments to address questions involving impacts of predators on kōura populations and habitat requirements relative to other pressures in developed catchments.

Apply: For more or to apply email Assoc Prof Kevin Collier or Dr Erica Williams

Determine how tidal flat ecosystem function changes following the re-diversion of freshwater into a degraded estuary and whether interventions to enhance seabed recovery can accelerate whole estuary recovery.

Degree funded: PhD


  • Prof Conrad Pilditch, Dr Joanne Ellis - University of Waikato
  • Dr Richard Bulmer, Dr Drew Lohrer, Dr Paul-Burke, Dr Elizabeth Graham - NIWA
  • Dr Josie Crawshaw - Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Use a case study approach to investigate the application of differing types of GBI systems for restoring and protecting waterway health under a changing climate, delivering co-benefits for the health and wellbeing of people, and developing corresponding land use planning policies.

Degree funded: PhD


  • Dr Silvia Serrano-Neuman, Prof Iain White - University of Waikato
  • Dr Annette Semadeni-Davies, Dr Lucy McKergow - NIWA

Status: Seeking PhD candidates

This PhD will investigate the application of green-blue infrastructure systems to greenfield developments for managing water quality and quantity and protecting urban stream health.

The project will focus on the potential effects of climate change on green-blue infrastructure, investigate health and well-being co-benefits for people, and develop corresponding land use planning policies. This includes the potential for blue-green infrastructure design to be adapted over time for climate change (design today for tomorrow’s conditions), how the planning process can facilitate the implementation of adaptive design to respond to changing conditions, and the potential for blue-green infrastructure to be an adaptation for climate change. This project will use co-design research practice, including engagement with relevant iwi

Applicants will be independent and highly motivated with:

  • An Honours or Masters degree in a relevant subject (e.g., environmental planning, environmental science, environmental management, environmental engineering or equivalent)
  • Sound skills in analysing quantitative and qualitative data
  • Excellent communication skills in English (spoken and written)

Annual stipend for 3 years: $35,000 (includes $7,500 annual fees)

Closing date: 15th January 2020. The position will start between March and June 2020.

Apply: Applicants, please send a letter of motivation and CV (including contact information for two referees) to Dr Silvia Serrao-Neumann. Your letter of motivation should describe why you are interested in the specific nominated PhD scholarship.

Develop and streamline a methodology appropriate for the safe development and inclusion of mātauranga in multi-criteria decision at the scales of catchment management and ki uta ki tai, with relevance to the Te Arawa Lakes catchments down to the estuaries and coast of the Bay of Plenty Region, where engaging with the rights and interests of many iwi is an important consideration.

Degree funded: PhD


  • Prof Troy Baisden - University of Waikato
  • Dr Erica Williams - NIWA
  • Nicki Douglas - Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Status:Seeking PhD candidates

We seek a PhD student enthusiastic to forge progress at the nexus of mātauranga with the use of quantitative scientific data in environmental management. The student will work with leaders in Te Arawa Lakes Trust, the University of Waikato and NIWA within a kaupapa built on the foundation of Te Tūāpapa o ngā Wai o Te Arawa.

The project aims to create a future in which the process of freshwater decision-making recognises and communicates Te Arawa values while defining and protecting water quality in the Te Arawa Lakes and wider catchments of the region – ki uta ki tai.

Te mā o te wai e rite ana kia kite I ngā tapuwae ā te koura -  The quality of the water is such that you can see the footsteps of the koura

Apply: Students should meet the requirements to enter a PhD programme at the University of Waikato in an appropriate discipline. For more or to apply, email Prof Troy Baisden or Nicki Douglas, Manager – Environment

Develop tide gate fish passage mitigation options that increase the duration and aperture of tide gate opening to enhance fish passage and upstream habitat quality

Degree funded: MSc


  • Prof Brendan Hicks - University of Waikato
  • Dr Paul Franklin, Dr Ellie Gee, Dr Cindy Baker - NIWA
  • Dr Heide Friedrich - University of Auckland

Status: Seeking Masters candidates

This MSc project will tackle the challenge of defining performance standards for tide gate fish passage mitigation options. Tide gates are often one of the first barriers encountered by migratory fish and can severely limit fish recruitment.

They also significantly alter in-stream habitats, favouring more tolerant exotic species over native fishes. This project will characterise the operating regime of conventional and fish friendly tide gates and take a case study approach to evaluate fish passage efficiency under varying gate opening regimes in the field.

The project will suit someone with an engineering or environmental science/ecology background.

Apply: For more or to apply email Dr Paul Franklin