South and West Pacific Ocean Regional Center

Map of South and West Pacific Ocean Regional Center area
Center Head

Regional Data Portal

South and West Pacific Regional Community Survey

Center Teams

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

  • Jaya Roperez, Data Analyst
  • Belen Baron, Center Manager
  • Erica Spain, Principal Technician 
  • Tilmann Steinmetz, Data Analyst & Administrator

Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science)

  • Vaughan Stagpoole, Emeritus Scientist
  • Jenny Black, Data Technician - Geospatial Data and Analysis Team; IBCSO editorial member
  • Brook Tozer, Marine Geophysicist

Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

  • Adam Greenland, NZ National Hydrographer; member of the IHO SWPHC
  • Glen Rowe, Senior Tide Analyst - Hydrographic Authority
  • Stuart Caie, Manager - Hydrographic Survey; IHO SWPHC Seabed 2030 / CSB Coordinator

Center Role

The South and West Pacific Center acts as the regional focus for data compilation and co-ordination activities for Seabed 2030 in the South and West Pacific region.

The Center has responsibility over 123 million of ocean from South America to Australia, between 10°N and 50°S, and the western part of the Pacific Ocean to 50°N. The region includes the world's deepest trenches, internal seas, and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) from Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT). In the most remote regions, bathymetric data originate from existing ship tracks that are spaced up to 100 km apart.

The center is based at the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and is one of Seabed 2030's network of regional and global centers.

Center Overview

The center is coordinated by a Technical Management Committee consisting of staff from: the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which hosts the New Zealand Hydrographic Office.

For the last 50 years NIWA and its predecessor, the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute (NZOI), have been pioneers in seafloor landmark discovery around Aotearoa-New Zealand, including active faults and volcanoes.

The South and West Pacific Center's 2018 delivery populated ca. 13.3% (~16.5 million km2) of the GEBCO 2019 Grid. The main contributions included the high-resolution depth models for Northern Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, the New Zealand bathymetry compilation, and numerous multibeam data collected by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the Japan Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department (JHOD), and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI, Germany). The compilation includes multibeam echosounder data from GMRT v.4.0.

Connections with Regional Hydrographic Offices around and within the Pacific are providing substantial data input to Seabed 2030. Of note is the strong connection established with the AusSeabed national seabed mapping coordination program.

Promotion of the Seabed 2030 Project has featured prominently in the activities of the center, with more than 30 conference attendances, stakeholder meetings, and media interviews over the first 18 months of activity. The center is continually seeking opportunities to enhance its visibility and activity in the region and boost contribution from all potential partners. Coordination with the Pacific Community (SPC) is expected to bring more engagement of PICTs with the Project.


SaWPaC's Technical Management Committee during the MOA signing between New Zealand government and Seabed 2030 on 21 July 2021. From left: Glen Rowe (LINZ), Stuart Caie (LINZ), Vaughan Stagpoole (GNS), Jaya Roperez (NIWA), Kevin Mackay (NIWA), Arne Pallentin (NIWA), Adam Greenland (LINZ).
SaWPaC's Technical Management Committee members during the MOA signing between New Zealand Government and Seabed 2030, 21 July 2021.

From left: Glen Rowe, Stuart Caie, Vaughan Stagpoole, Jaya Roperez, Kevin Mackay, Arne Pallentin, Adam Greenland. (Photo Credit: Pascale Otis, NIWA)