About us


Te Tumu Whakaoho Mauri o te Ao Koiora

The pillar restoring the life force of the natural environment

Our Centre provides excellence in scientific research, and delivers that research in a form that benefits the local community, conservation managers and the commercial sector.

We are an interdisciplinary Centre, based in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, benefitting from strong links to the Schools of Geography, Maths & Statistics, Architecture & Design, and beyond. Postgraduate students come to Victoria University of Wellington from all over the world to receive the best training available in conservation management and research, in a country that has earned international acclaim for its conservation practices.

Our location

With its central location in New Zealand, Wellington City provides excellent connections with many local agencies and research institutions involved in biodiversity, conservation and biosecurity.

Active collaborations are maintained with:

  • Department of Conservation (DoC)
  • Karori Sanctuary Trust, Zealandia
  • Wellington Zoo
  • The Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Local and regional councils
  • Environmental Futures Centre at Griffith University
  • UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal

Our Māori name

Our Māori name has been carefully chosen to reflect the values we hold as a research Centre:

Tumu is a post or pillar, used to hold things together or as a hitching post. Whakaoho means to awaken or restore. Mauri is life force or essence - all things must have mauri to be considered alive. Te Ao (the world) is short for Tai Ao, meaning the environment and Koiora means biology or living things.