Ecology in Action

A rigorous field-based program with a focus on practical skills and conceptual thinking, along with opportunities to contribute to local conservation and resource management initiatives.

Students have the option of a full 15 week Semester program or a shorter 5 week Summer program.

Semester Program

15 Weeks, 16 Credits, 4 Courses

The catch-phrase ‘Ecology in Action’ is a fitting description for the programs we have run for 21 years. The EcoQuest Ecology in Action Aotearoa semester programs are delivered from the mountains to the sea, in a variety of ecosystems in both te Ika a Maui (the North Island) and te Waipounamu (the South Island).

Our interactive field-based programs incorporate hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and a focus on both practical skills and conceptual thinking. 

EcoQuest gives students the chance to gain and develop transferable knowledge and skills to make a difference anywhere on the globe. 

Directed research projects are comprehensive field-based studies that equip students with the knowledge and skills required to become effective, modern researchers. All research projects in which EcoQuest engages, have scientific and societal relevance. Projects enable students to make significant contributions to (often longitudinal) research, benefiting the environment, local communities, collaborators and partners. 

student snorkelling at the Poor Knights marine reserve

Summer Program

5 Weeks, 8 Credits, 2 Courses & 3 Islands: an unforgettable Summer Program in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our five-week summer program provides an unequalled opportunity to gain academic credits while working toward sustainable solutions for the management of natural resources. 

All learning opportunities offered by EcoQuest are packaged into a curriculum framework which addresses ecology and environmental policy pertaining to the real-life case studies and span the full spectrum of restoration opportunities on offshore islands in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand's largest marine embayment. 

Since 1999, Ponui Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island have been core destinations for the Summer Program. Tiritiri Matangi  was one of the earliest predator-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Restoration of this island ecosystem is well-advanced. It is now one of a large – and still growing – number of islands from which introduced mammals have been removed.

During the 5-week program we incorporate one or more of the other islands in our field trip schedule (in addition to Ponui and Tiritiri Matangi). The islands are integral to the meta-habitat that the Hauraki Gulf provides. Understanding ownership and governance models of these islands is part of our learning.  

We have at least one overnight stay on a marae which allows a glimpse into Māori culture and traditions.

A Message from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment

“The magic of EcoQuest is the personal journey—quite simply, I have never known a student unchanged after their return from New Zealand. The personal and academic growth is self-evident and manifests itself in focused pursuit of academic and professional goals. Students return announcing “I am ready, challenge me!” 


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