Challenge Leadership Team

The Challenge Leadership Team is responsible for scoping, leading and advancing the development of the Deep South Challenge.

Dr Mike Williams stands outside, hills in the background

Dr Mike Williams (NIWA)


Mike’s research interests are in New Zealand's Deep South region, and are centred on ice-ocean interaction both in sea ice, and under Antarctica’s ice shelves. He is also interested in the changing climate in the Southern Ocean and New Zealand’s Subantarctic. Prior to starting at NIWA in 2001, Mike completed a PhD in oceanography at the University of Tasmania, and was an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Copenhagen, where he worked on coastal ocean circulation off Chile and tracking icebergs across the North Atlantic.

Phone: +64 4 386 0389

portrait anne-marie

Anne-Marie Rowe (NIWA)

Challenge Manager

Anne-Marie comes to us from our sister National Science Challenge, Resilience to Nature's Hazards, and brings crucial experience navigating the relatively new, many-headed creatures that are the NSCs. Anne-Marie also has around 20 years of experience in university research management, more recently at Victoria University of Wellington, with previous research management roles at Massey University and University of Otago’s Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Phone: +64 4 382-1616

Dr Olaf Morgenstern stands on snow topped mountain

Dr Olaf Morgenstern (NIWA)

Earth System Modeling and Prediction

Olaf holds a PhD in meteorology and has worked in the UK and Germany on the development of atmospheric chemistry and chemistry-climate models. He has led chemistry-climate modelling at NIWA since 2009 and has been a Programme Leader since 2012. In addition, Olaf is a Principal Investigator of the core Capability and Clouds & Aerosols projects and the contestable Stratospheric Ozone project. The aim of the Capability project is to make available, support, and coordinate the development of the New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM). The Clouds & Aerosols project is targeting the representation of Southern-Ocean clouds and aerosols, and the Stratospheric Chemistry project will improve the representation of stratospheric chemistry, particularly of the ozone layer, in the NZESM.


Phone: +64 4 386-0928

Sandy Morrison

Associate Professor Sandy Morrison (Waikato University) | Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua ki te Tau Ihu, Ngāti Tama ki te Waipounamu

Vision Mātauranga

Sandy is tribally grounded, globally informed and whānau tested against the everyday realities in which whānau exist. From 2004-08, Sandy served as President of the Asia South Pacific Association for Adult and Basic Education (ASPBAE), the largest non-government organisation on adult education in the world. Sandy was also inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame by the University of Oklahoma. Her current position as the Assistant Dean (Academic) for the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies allows her to continue to challenge the thinkers of tomorrow and concentrate on her research interests around Treaties, Adult Education and Indigenous Development. Sandy leads the Te Tai Uka a Pia (Iwi relationships with the Southern and Antarctic Oceans) project in the Vision Mātauranga programme, and is also part of the Culture and Climate Change project of the Engagement programme.

Phone: + 64 7 838 4737

portrait of anita

Anita Wreford (Lincoln University)

Impacts & Implications

Anita Wreford is an expert in the economics of climate adaptation, particularly in the natural environment, agriculture and forestry sectors. She’s been involved in many fields of climate research, from infrastructure to agriculture to trade. Anita has worked around the world, with the IPCC, the EU Commission, the OECD, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change and the Scottish Government’s ClimateXChange programme. 

Mike Harvey

Dr Mike Harvey

Processes and Observations

Mike has a PhD in environmental physics and has led atmospheric research programmes at NIWA for the last 14 years. He’s had a long-term interest in improving our understanding of important environmental processes, which among other things helps us understand the efficacy of some climate change mitigation actions. Mike has been involved in the Phase 1 Clouds & Aerosols project, making targeted observations to improve the representation of Southern-Ocean clouds and aerosols in the NZESM.

Phone: +64-4-386-0308

Latest news and updates

signals and triggers graph

Working backwards to prepare for climate change

New research released by the Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate supports decision-makers to map out how decisions can be made now for ongoing climate change impacts, by starting with the future we wish to avoid. The research report, Supporting decision making through adaptive tools: Practice Guidance on signals and triggers, has been a multi-disciplinary and multi-institute effort, with team members from Victoria University of Wellington, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, and NIWA.

haiku over stop bank in flood

How will climate change-induced increases in extreme rainfall effect EQC liabilities?

Weather-related hazards have already cost the EQC $450 million in (inflation adjusted) payouts since the year 2000. New research by Jacob Pastor-Paz, Ilan Noy, Isabelle Sin, Abha Sood, David Fleming-Munoz and Sally Owen has found that climate change, and the expected increase in intensity and frequency of extreme weather-related events, is likely to translate into higher damages and thus an additional financial liability for the EQC.

Anne-Gaelle Ausseil

Primary industries must speed up adaptation to our changing climate

New research projects a significant seasonal shift in pasture production and changes to wine grape flowering across New Zealand under future climate conditions. Long-term adaptation strategies must be adopted at a faster pace across all primary sectors.