Recently returned from the Rangitāhua Islands, the multidisciplinary Expedition Kaharoa held a record number of female crew members. From voyage leader, small boat skippers and vessel officer, to analyzing complex data, the 15 women onboard had diverse roles and responsibilities all contributing to the expedition's success.  

Blog by Lauren Timms, Assistant Collection Manager, Te Mana o Rangitāhua

Hosted by the RV Tangaroa and part of the Te Mana o Rangitāhua project, the voyage had ambitious aims to perform a range of scientific and cultural activities. To understand the waters surrounding Rangitāhua, Joe O’Callaghan, Sarah Searson, and Susi Woelz completed oceanography and mapping of the region. Looking at algae and ecosystem dynamics, divers Roberta D’Archino and Ella Lis uncovered secrets at the very base of the food web. Mary Sewell and Georgia Pollard sampled plankton and larvae, a relatively unknown part of the ecosystem. Whilst Rochelle Constantine, Esther Stuck, and Jaynie Lelievre surveyed tohoraha (whales) on their migration south to Antarctica. Understanding this pristine environment at every level is a key component of the project’s mahi, and it is amazing to see so many women involved at every stage of discovery. 

A number of crucial activities were also undertaken by women: Zoe Gilmer (Medic) and Jo Jackman (Steward) made sure we were all well cared for. Operating boats on the high seas, Miranda Farr, Marissa Judkins, and Esther Stuck got us through swells and storms. Processing support, Lauren Timms, and our onshore support team assisted throughout the journey.  

For cultural guidance and Mana Whenua kaitiaki Jaynie Lelievre, this was the first time to Rangitāhua. A key priority for the voyage is to reconnect Ngāti Kuri with the islands and Jaynie completed crucial mahi on behalf of her iwi.  

It was inspirational to see women at the forefront of research and technical operations at sea. Historically a male dominated field, adventurous discoveries and expeditions are involving more and more women. Aboard New Zealand’s prime research vessel the RV Tangaroa, knowledge will be gained across many fields to better know these islands.  

Image 1: Enjoying the better weather on the bow of the Tangaroa. 
Image 2: Whale surveying by the islands; Esther Stuck, Susi Woelz, Rochelle Constantine, and Lauren Timms. 

Our female crew members:

Georgia Pollard, Marissa Judkins, Miranda Farr, Lauren Timms, Jaynie Lelievre, Jo Jackman, Ella Lis, Esther Stuck, Rochelle Constantine, Roberta D’Archino, Zoe Gilmer, Joe O’Callaghan, Susi Woelz, Mary Sewell, and Sarah Searson.  



Rangitāhua expedition

Explore the full series of blogs from the Rangitāhua voyage.