Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome from the Head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain

This whakatauki, or proverb, exemplifies the aspirations of staff and students working and studying in the School of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington.

John Townend
On behalf of the School, I welcome you to our website.

This School focuses on some of the most challenging and deeply interconnected issues facing contemporary society: the environment and climate; Earth processes and natural hazards; the formation, utilization, and distribution of resources and energy; and the ways in which culture and society interact with and influence the natural world.

Our location in Wellington, the creative and scientific capital of New Zealand, offers invaluable opportunities to inform research and policy-making in national and local government, in non-governmental organisations, and in the business sector. The strong links that exist between this School and external organisations underpin the quality and continuity of our teaching and research at all levels.

Our expertise in research was recognised in the most recent evaluation of New Zealand universities, when we were ranked top in the country in each of the two broad areas of scholarship within the School — Earth Sciences and Geography — and when Victoria was ranked first in New Zealand for research quality overall.

The teaching programmes delivered by this School span a broad range of disciplines: from the Earth’s deep interior, to the interaction of sea, land, and air and the diverse natural and cultural landscapes that we live in. Undergraduate and graduate programmes are offered in geology, geophysics, geography and physical geography, development studies, environmental studies and environmental science, meteorology, climatology and climate change. In each of these fields, emphasis is placed on laboratory and field work that provide real-world context to academic learning.

Our postgraduate programmes are highly regarded internationally and offer opportunities for students to be involved in research projects of national and international significance. Collaboration with researchers from elsewhere in New Zealand and from overseas bolsters the stimulating study environment and attract students from all over the world.

Each year, this School hosts international scholars who come to collaborate and to use our analytical facilities — including the Geochemistry Laboratory, Electron Microprobe Facility, Geochronology Laboratory, and Luminescence and Cosmogenic Dating Labs, and scientific computing equipment — or to lead joint field projects.

We are closely affiliated with the Antarctic Research Centre and students from this School work with staff in the Centre, which naturally extends our research focus into this unique environment. The School also hosts the Climate Change Research Institute, which provides opportunities for students to tackle problems and the interface between climate research and policy, and the Institute of Geophysics.

From its central location on campus, the School overlooks Wellington’s spectacular harbour landscape and dynamic cityscape. There is easy access to the national research institutes located near the city, as well as libraries, archives and the myriad social and cultural recreation areas of the Science Capital.

Welcome to our School. Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Kura Tātai Aro Whenua.

John Townend