Past contributors

Federico Baltar

Lecturer- University of Otago

Fede was a lecturer at the Department of Marine Science, and is an aquatic microbial ecologist focusing mainly on the role of bacteria in aquatic ecosystems. His research group investigated what factors control bacterial carbon cycling in coastal and open ocean communities, and how this bacterial function is and will be influenced by human-induced change (e.g. acidification, increased temperature, eutrophication). They are also worked towards better understanding the dynamics of microbial indicators of fecal contamination in relation to environmental parameters, and its relation to shellfish food safety. Fede continues this work as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Limnology & Bio-Oceanography, University of Vienna, Austria.

Peri Subritzky

Research Fellow- Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu & the University of Otago
Peri first joined the TMK team in 2009, through a University of Otago studentship. Peri completed his Masters degree in 2012, his research focusing on identifying juvenile pāua habitat. Peri is currently a Vision Matauranga Placement Fellow Co-funded through Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund (MBIE) and the University of Otago working on providing baseline information to customary fisheries managers. Hailing from Kaitaia, Peri is of Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi descent.

Ashli Akins

Assistant Research Fellow
Ashli Akins recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a master’s degree in international human rights law. She previously attended the University of Victoria (Canada) in 2009, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies, Latin American studies, and professional writing (journalism & publishing). She is the founder and director of Mosqoy, an international charitable organization that works with remote communities of the Peruvian Andes to provide economic opportunities while nurturing their threatened indigenous culture. Additionally, Ashli is a photographer, writer, researcher, and editor, aiming to educate about human rights and environmental injustices through arts and the media. Such contracts include National Geographic (New York), Health for Humanity (Guatemala), and the Salmon Coast Field Station (Broughton Archipelago).

Alaric McCarthy

University of Otago
Born on a tiny coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Alaric McCarthy has always been fascinated by culture, the sea and conservation of marine life. Alaric came to Dunedin to study zoology and geography before completing a master’s degree in Marine Science at the University of Otago. His research took him back to the tropics, where he investigated how the ‘ozone hole’ affects vulnerable parts of the food web across different latitudes. Alaric has a history of community involvement and is passionate about cultural resilience and diversity. Within the Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai project, Alaric helps conduct and synthesise research relating to the sustainability of local fisheries, promotion of bottom-up community-based fisheries management, and incorporation of bicultural collaborative management partnerships.

Alex Gilks

Alex designed the Mahinga Kai website, and the issues of Kai Kōrero magazine. He works in Dunedin, mostly for small companies and not-for-profits. As well as doing design for screen and print, he also does some illustration and writing and dabbles in music. He has taught art and design at local schools and at the University of Otago. Alex and his young children love rock pools, picking blackberries, having barbeques and checking out the vege patch.

To so many extraordinary team members – researchers, advisors, mentors, and administrators, that have contributed their energy, time, and skills over the past decade. We could not have achieved what we have without these individuals. Thank you!


Chris Hepburn, Marine Sciences Department, University of Otago
Office: 310 Castle Street, Room 144  |  Tel: 64 3 479 7462  |  Email: