Alex Pyne

Antarctic Drilling Adviser
Antarctic Research Centre


BSc(Hons) VUW; MSc VUW

Roles and responsibilities

Alex formally retired in June 2019. For over 42 years, he was involved with the design and management of scientific drilling operations, particularly in Antarctica, for marine sea floor coring on sea ice and ice shelf platforms. He was the Science Support Manager for the Cape Roberts Project (CRP) and the Drilling Science Coordinator and Drill Site Manager for ANDRILL. Additional drilling related activities include drilling permafrost cores, ice cores and designing coring equipment in shallow lake and wetland environments in New Zealand.

He is also involved in glacial marine sedimentation including the design of submarine sampling equipment, ROV operations and sampling, GPS surveying specifically for sea ice movement for drilling, and established and operated the Cape Roberts Tide Gauge from 1990-2006 (now operated by LINZ).

Currently, Alex has a fixed term contract to support the ARC with the development and planning of the Antarctic Intermediate Depth Drill (in collaboration with GNS Science), as part of the Antarctic Science Platform Project 1.


New Zealand Antarctic Medal

Alex Pyne was awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Medal in the 2010 New Year Honours List for services to Antarctic engineering.

Royal Society's New Zealand Science and Technology Bronze Medal 2008

Alex Pyne has shown outstanding innovative thinking, scientific understanding and technical skill in polar technology and operations, most notably drilling. He has designed and managed drilling systems that have recovered continuous records of past environments in the most challenging situations imaginable, most recently coring over 1200 m below the Antarctic sea floor and millions of years into the past. These records have allowed scientists to report on times when there was no Ross Ice Shelf and even earlier when the Antarctic coast was forested, contributing directly to our understanding of the history and behaviour of the world’s largest ice sheet.


View a list of publications from Alex Pyne.