Deep South Challenge

The Deep South Challenge aims to uncover the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining New Zealand’s climate and future environment. With knowledge, strategies can be developed to help people adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate

Matt hardy 6 Ar T Tluciu A unsplash


Deep South is one of the New Zealand government's National Science Challenges. It is hosted by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

These challenges aim to tackle the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing New Zealand. They bring together the country's top scientists to work collaboratively across disciplines, institutions and borders.

Project details

Deep South has five interlinked programmes.

Vision Mātauranga

Ko ngā mahi inaianei hei oranga mo rātou apopo | For those who will benefit from our efforts today

Climate change impacts and opportunities for Māori. This is the largest ever Māori-led research effort into the implications of changing climate conditions for Māori society.

Impacts & Implications

Ensuring New Zealanders can consider and evaluate key impacts of climate change in multiple contexts and make decisions about adaptation.

Processes & Observations

Understanding the components of the Southern Hemisphere - Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the atmosphere above them – to improve the reliability of future climate predictions.

Earth System Modelling & Prediction

Further development of the first New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM) to inform international assessments of climate.


Working with communities, Māori, industry sectors and local and central government to ensure this research actually helps New Zealanders adapt to a changing climate.

What they hope to achieve

The programme will create a greater understanding of the role of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean in determining New Zealand’s future climate and the impact this has on key economic sectors, infrastructure and natural resources. It will enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate.

Matt hardy 6 Ar T Tluciu A unsplash


Deep South National Science Challenge

Read more about tools and adaptation planning to help you adapt to climate change