Taihoro Nukurangi, meaning, "where the waters meet the sky," is the Maori name for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Ltd. (NIWA). And what an appropriate name it is for this top research organization. Think of El nine and la Nina, major ocean conditions effecting global weather, and you'll begin to understand the importance of an organization like NIWA. In their own words, their mission is to provide a scientific basis for the sustainable management of New Zealand's atmospheric, marine and freshwater systems and associated resources.
Although their primary interests are national, research at NIWA is of global importance. New Zealand sits right in the path of a major current of water coming out of Antarctica. That current is one of a handful of Arctic and Antarctic currents responsible for distributing Earth's surface heat and setting up climate and weather patterns around the world. Understanding the interaction between currents and climate, sky and water, and all the associated resources is what NIWA is all about. Established in 1992, NIWA is one of a number of New Zealand Crown Research Institutes. With a staff of over 600 and more than a half-dozen offices, NIWA is well equipped to carry out its mission.