July 18, 2017

Making Waves

It made headlines around the world when it recorded a massive 64 foot wave in the Southern Ocean, and now DTA’s much celebrated wave buoy has been recognised in a prestigious award ceremony in Auckland.

Sally Garrett from DTA and Dr David Johnson Technical Director of MetOcean Solutions at the KiwiNet Awards

Sally Garrett from DTA and Dr David Johnson
Technical Director of MetOcean Solutions at the KiwiNet Awards

The wave buoy is part of a collaborative project between DTA and MetOcean Solutions, and was named as one of the top three finalists in the Research and Business Partnership category of the KiwiNet Awards.

The awards celebrate research commercialisation success and according to CEO Dr James Hutchinson the finalists gave some very inspirational pitches. “They’re showing that with some entrepreneurial spark, and the right support and commercial expertise, in New Zealand we can take our cutting-edge technology innovations to the world.”

The wave buoy is moored 11km south of Campbell Island, in a water depth of 150m within the New Zealand Economic Zone. It was launched in February to enable better forecasting and design of vessels built to withstand Southern Ocean conditions.  In May, the buoy recorded the 64ft wave, which is taller than a six storey building, and the largest ever recorded in the region.

“Southern Ocean waves are described by sailors as ‘liquid Himalayas’ and remain largely unstudied, including our ability to forecast them,” said DTA researcher Sally Garrett, shortly after the buoy was launched.  Having the ability to accurately measure conditions will help in the understanding of waves and air-sea interactions in extreme conditions, which will ultimately lead to better forecasting,

DTA’s Director of Network Systems, Robert Read says it was a great achievement for the team. The wave buoy was also the only finalist not in the medical or biotech industry.

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 16 universities, Crown Research Institutes and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research. Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

For more information on the KiwiNet Awards winners see

To find out more about KiwiNet go to their website