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Areas deemed hotspots have expanded significantly during the past week in the North Island, while in the South Island the previous hotspot encompassing Nelson and nearby portions of Tasman has continued to strengthen during the past week.
Two Māori carvers head to Antarctica next week to complete and install a traditional carving at Scott Base, New Zealand’s headquarters on the ice.
The water in the New Zealand region is significantly warmer than it was 30 years ago, and all indications are the warming trend will continue, says a NIWA scientist.
The previous hotspot in the Far North dissipated around the Aupouri Peninsula in the past week, but has spread south into northern Whangarei and Kaipara districts. The current hotspot in Tasman could strengthen in the next week, while central Canterbury may see a new hotspot form in the coming week.
The previous hotspot in the Far North has expanded in size during the past week, now encompassing much of the eastern Far North and the Aupouri Peninsula. A hotspot remains in place across Nelson and nearby portions of Tasman, but no other South Island hotspots are in effect at this time.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable story.
If you think science and art have nothing in common, think again. At environmental science institute NIWA, it’s all about one inspiring the other.

Read other Summer Series 2018 stories

A weekly update describing soil moisture across the country to help assess whether severely to extremely dry conditions are occurring or imminent. Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed “hotspots”. Persistent hotspot regions have the potential to develop into drought.
As a young child growing up on an Irish farm, one of Eimear Egan’s chores was to regularly clean out the well from where her family drew its drinking water. In the well lived a large eel that, no matter how many times it was shifted, just kept coming back.
A group of intrepid scientists leaves Wellington for Antarctica this week on board NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa for what their leader calls “a voyage of discovery”.

Ross Sea Environment and Ecosystem Voyage 2019

A leopard seal, who has made the balmy waters around Auckland home, is prompting a NIWA scientist to campaign for her to be made a New Zealand citizen.
Based at Bream Bay, Whangarei, Crispin Middleton is also an acclaimed underwater photographer and the recipient of numerous photography awards. His work regularly appears in New Zealand Geographic, dive magazines, scientific journals and conservation/ government documents.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 
Across the North Island, soil moisture levels either decreased slightly or remained the same during the past week. Across the South Island, soil moisture remained near normal or above normal in the central and eastern part of the island during the past week while areas in the west have near normal or below normal soil moisture.
A NIWA-led team of marine ecologists are using seal-mounted cameras to get a first-hand view into the behaviour and movements of Weddell seals under the Antarctic ice.
NIWA scientists have made an important breakthrough in the battle to save New Zealand’s freshwater mussels.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in an area stretching from coastal Manawatu-Whanganui northeast to Taupo. The driest soils across the South Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in far southern Westland District. A small hotspot has emerged in Nelson in the past week.
A new hotspot emerged in the Rangitikei District in Manawatu-Wanganui during the past week. This is the only current hotspot in the North Island. There are currently no hotspots in the South Island.
All previous hotspots in the North Island dissipated this past week due to the heavy rainfall. Substantial rainfall in the past week caused the small hotspot in northwestern Marlborough to dissipate, and no other hotspots are currently in place in the South Island.
The diary and hand-drawn maps of a nineteenth century geologist has enabled NIWA scientists to confirm the former site of the iconic Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana.

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