Please click the button below to send your search enquiry to us and we will be in touch with you shortly.
BSc (Hons.), MSc, D.Phil.
Dr Manue Martinez always knew what she wanted to do with her life.
“I knew from a very early age that I wanted to study and work with cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises.”
Manue grew up in Mazamet and Castres, South West of France, and went abroad to England to complete a Bachelor of Zoology (Hons) at Leicester University. After finishing her honours dissertation on the potential effects of human activities on populations of dolphins, she knew what her passion was. Manue followed her heart halfway across the world to study at the University of Otago in New Zealand – where the Hector dolphins live. She completed a Master of Environmental Science, with her thesis focusing conducting a pre-disturbance study of Hector’s dolphins prior to a dolphin-watching operation in North Canterbury.
Manue furthered her studies and earned a PhD in Marine Science at Massey University in 2011, under the supervision of Professor Mark Orams, looking at how the Hector’s dolphins responded to vessel activity in Akaroa, Canterbury. From the findings from her thesis, the government decided to reduce the number of permits to increase the protection of dolphins in this area.
“I love the Pacific Ocean – that is where my heart is. New Zealand is such a beautiful country, it is an important place for me - it allowed me to achieve my childhood dreams.”
After travelling and working as a Senior Scientist for the Pacific Whale Foundation from 2012-2015, Manue returned to New Zealand and started to teach as a tutor for the Environmental Management programme at NorthTec in 2016.
“The best thing about being a tutor at NorthTec is that we have small classes to teach, so we get to know my students really well. We also get the chance to learn every student’s dreams and passions and, whenever possible, give them opportunities to pursue those – like volunteering or work experience in a field in their field of interest.”
In the field
“My passion has always been marine mammals,” says Manue. “By co-supervising PhD and Masters Students from Massey University and AUT, I have been able to stay involved in my passion. I love passing on my knowledge to students, teaching them new skills, and helping them grow as scientists.”
Manue says she is grateful she is able to get the opportunity to pursue her own research at NorthTec.
“When I travel in around the world, I see is plastic everywhere in our environment. It is so heartbreaking. I know what this does to the wildlife – you see the plastic ending up in turtles, fish, birds, and of course whales and dolphins – even in smaller organisms such as plankton.
“We know this is also an issue in New Zealand– but we don’t know the extent of it. There is a lot of environmental groups doing different things to measure the extent of rubbish and plastics not being disposed of properly, and I thought it would be a good idea to track and centralise some of that data – starting in Northland.”
With the help of the Northland Regional Council in the form of a NorthTec graduate – Nick Bamford – they created the Te Tai Tokerau Debris Monitoring Project or TTTDMP. The TTTDMP uses an app designed in the United States and adapted to the project to track how much rubbish, and what type of rubbish gets picked up.
“The best thing about it is that members of the public can be part of the TTTDMP by becoming citizen scientists and helping protect our environment.
“Anyone can use this app. The average person at the beach who picks up rubbish can use it to let us know what they have found and where exactly they found it. If someone wants to pick up 1 piece of rubbish or 1,000 pieces of rubbish, this app will store the data.”
“The more data we have, the more accurate the results that we can then pass on to the Whangārei District Council, the Northland Regional Council, and to the New Zealand Government."
“Research empowers people to do something. We can help bring awareness to this issue to change people’s behaviour, to be more careful about how we dispose of plastics and other rubbish. . Jane Goodall rightly said: “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” Therefore, the more people that know about the plastic issue, the more people that will care and do something about it.”
What inspires Manue’s research is her passion to make a difference.
“I believe that no matter how small you think your actions are, every step we take can make a difference and inspire others to do the same, which is amazing.
“It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless. We are impacting all wildlife’s and their habitat but they can’t say anything about it. By researching and collecting data, we are able to prove what is going on to hopefully empower people to be more aware of the consequences of their actions and change their attitude, which ultimately also makes a difference for our wildlife.”
If you hadn’t figured it out yet, Manue is very passionate about the ocean.
“I love being under, above and on the ocean. My favourite experience is diving in Hawaii and hearing humpback whales singing. I also enjoy Waka Ama (being one with the team and the ocean) or going Stand up Paddle Boarding with manta rays under me; just observing how the animals in the ocean have perfectly adapted to their environment. I could also watch David Attenborough on repeat forever!
“Passing on knowledge is really important to me. People behave a certain way because they do not know the consequences of their actions. My duty as a tutor and as researcher is to educate and inspire people to make the right choices on a daily basis.”
Find the list of Manue's publications here:
“The tutors here have strong professional links which open doors to work experience and this can often progress into...
“Shifting my focus from studying animals, to studying and improving the environment they live in, is one of the best choices I’ve made.” Darlene’s first passion was animals and she planned to study zoology at Massey University until she had a chat with one of the tutors at NorthTec. “He had studied zoology at uni but recommended this degree instead because it offered more field experience and more involvement. He was also incredibly enthusiastic and had a real passion for what he teaches.”
“Staying closer to home also means I can study in Whangarei during the week and go home to my part-time job and connect with family in the weekends. It’s a bit of a balance because I have five younger siblings and my Mum is also studying her degree, so we support each other to make sure we have enough quiet time away from the younger children to study, and take turns managing the household. But I’m happy with my grades and I’m realising I’m more capable than I thought.”
“The course has opened my eyes to a whole new world and has given me new knowledge. I now realise how inter-connected everything is and how a healthy environment supports healthy species.”
Darlene is already applying what she is learning to where she is from. “For my third year project, I’m monitoring with Project Island Song which is a partnership between the Guardians of the Bay of Islands, Te Rawhiti hāpu and DOC. During this process I will be able to build relationships and connections with people in this field. Once the monitoring is done, I will be writing a report on our results which will be beneficial to Project Island Song.”
“The tutors here have strong professional links which open doors to work experience and this can often progress into paid employment. When I finish my degree I’ll take a short break from study to recap and absorb what I’ve learnt as I’ve come straight from graduating high school. I also want to do some volunteering work to get experience in all areas relevant to this field. ”
“I want to acknowledge my tutors and academic advisers for their input and feedback on my writing, and thank my family for their massive support to make my study possible. My long term dream is to make a difference back home with my hapū, iwi and family so that they’re equipped to know the greater context of the environment that we live in. Already my sister is inspired to pursue this degree as well.”
We get to go on various field trips and talk to people in the conservation industry that are making a difference, and...
“It’s so important that as students we have the first-hand experience of the pollution in our region - sometimes you can’t see it until you look for it and it creates more awareness about the problem. We get to go on various field trips and talk to people in the conservation industry that are making a difference, and it is just that invaluable experience of being able to say I have experienced this myself first-hand that is crucial as an Environmental Management student.”
The step from year 12 to here (level 2 to level 5) is a challenge in self-discipline, but I’m so much more motivated...
“I went overseas with my family, and by seeing the extent of what needs to be done, I renewed and deepened my interest in conservation. I realised this was what I want to do and I was keen to start on that journey as soon as possible. By doing the certificate here straight from year 12, I kick-start my career a year earlier, it’s cheaper and more practical than uni, and I’ll have my degree by the time I’m 19.”
“The step from year 12 to here (level 2 to level 5) is a challenge in self-discipline, but I’m so much more motivated to learn. I also love that we have a small class with direct access to the tutors.”
“I’m from Waipu, so it also means we’re learning about our own region. Already I have a new-found appreciation for the inter-connectedness of the environment.”
“I know I want to be part of the change on the planet and I’m keen to travel more with my knowledge. I don’t have long term plan yet, but I know I’m in the right field, that this is what I want to learn, and that opportunities will present themselves as I go on.”
I’m keen to help the next generation spend more time outside and to serve as a role model for them in some way. We...
Lyndon was out of work as a dive instructor so saw the Hunting and Pest course as an opportunity to extend his outdoor skill set. “I love working outside and have always had an interest in conservation. This course will give me a land based qualification to add to my sea based background.”
“The tutors are hugely knowledgeable with years of experience and it’s great being with a range of students all interested in the outdoors. We’re covering the theory side of things at the moment, which I’m used to, but I’m really looking forward to being out into the bush and getting hands-on experience in that learning environment.”
“Conservation is my passion and I’ve always loved the idea of working with D.O.C. Hunting is simply a means of controlling pests.”
“The dream to me would be working in a place with both a bush and beach environment. I have a friend who works monitoring and looking after animal numbers at Mimiwhangata. Living and working somewhere like that would be the ultimate.”
“I’m keen to help the next generation spend more time outside and to serve as a role model for them in some way. We have this amazing natural resource in the north and I want to encourage youth to enjoy getting out amongst it.”
I love being amongst students who are keen to learn and tutors who are dedicated and enthusiastic about what they are...
“I’m fascinated with space and microbiology . I initially did business and administration here but science is far more my world and has unlimited potential for progress.”
“I started my science journey with foundation studies to get the basics, thinking I may go into nursing, but I realized it’s the science rather than the caring that interests me. One of the tutors then pointed me to lab work, and this applied science course gets me walk-in ready for that work.”
“I love being amongst students who are keen to learn and tutors who are dedicated and enthusiastic about what they are teaching. Our classmates come with backgrounds ranging from beauty therapy, to water treatment to the arts.”
“Running DNA gels and growing cultures are part of what fascinates me in this course. I love learning about microbes on the skin and the gut. Nature is amazing and we’re so limited in what we know about it yet. Discoveries are happening so fast that sometimes the tutors have to re-write the course content each semester.”
“I’d love to learn more about chemical properties and their correlating colours because this info relates to everything from marine biology to the stars. I’m clearly on my path now and it is a science path. I hope to go on do level 6 of this diploma when it is introduced.”
“And my dream is to aim for stars – literally. I want to be an astro-physicist.”
“I’ve learned that if you want to do something, do it. Even if you don’t succeed at first, just adjust and self...
“I’ve always hunted and been keen on fishing and diving but my work life has been in the building/construction industry. When the last venture I was with finished, I decided it was time to study what I was passionate about. I had walked and swum through our natural environment but I wanted to learn some of the science and biology behind how it was all linked together so I stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up for study here for a year. I became so enthusiastic that I’ve continued to level 6.”
“The best thing about the course is the dedication and passion of the tutors and how they deliver their knowledge. It’s also really cool meeting new people with new opinions and new input. I’m naturally reserved so the course has taken me out of my bubble and helped me develop new skills including giving presentations. The challenge for me is the computer and technology but the support is there from both the tutors and younger students, and I can help them with some of my bush experience.”
“By monitoring and interpreting data, we’ve learned that everything we do in an eco-system has consequences, including which plants we introduce. I’m hoping that the course will give me enough confidence to go out in a group and initiate, apply and pass on what we’ve learned. We’re learning a massive amount so it takes a bit to condense it and choose which path to follow after study. I’m keen to get work when we finish and already a few options with local projects are presenting themselves.”
Steve’s long term goal is to work amongst the extensive natural environment around Ruakākā and help enhance it. “Stepping out of my comfort zone to come back to school has been great for me. In my backpack with my ordinary kit of my tools, lunch and safety gear, I also carry my goals and aspirations. That way I keep them close to me so I can keep reviewing them, renewing them and re-filling them.”
“I’ve learned that if you want to do something, do it. Even if you don’t succeed at first, just adjust and self-correct. What you do after you come through those little knocks, makes you a stronger person.”