About us.Learn more about our programme.
Soilsafe Aotearoa offers a range of different ways to get involved and share experiences with soil and gardens.
Soilsafe Aotearoa is a citizen science programme started by the School of Environment at the University of Auckland and GNS Science in partnership with Macquarie University. Join in and have your home garden soil tested for lead and other metals, free of charge.
Soilsafe Aotearoa is a programme for understanding our soils.
Working with communities to co-produce knowledge on local soils.
Soilsafe Aotearoa is exploring how the communities of Aotearoa value their soil. We seek to work with different community groups such as schools, marae, and community gardens. You can come to us with any ideas you have for projects, education, or even artistic ideas to communicate the countless values associated with soil.
A partnership between The University of Auckland and GNS Science means that Soilsafe Aotearoa provides an excellent platform for students and soil enthusiasts alike to investigate their areas of interest in soil and social science. We already have several student projects running through Soilsafe Aotearoa, with the capacity to facilitate many more.
Providing a platform for students and gardeners to explore soil.
Meet the team at Soilsafe Aotearoa.
Soilsafe Aotearoa is run by a team in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. We are from diverse academic disciplines (environmental and social science, science communication, public engagement, and education), career stages, backgrounds, and bring diverse skillsets to the programme. We make contributions of scientific significance, educational value, and create positive change for communities and individuals.
Dr Melanie Kah
Melanie trained in Soil Science and Agronomy. Her research looks at the occurrence and fate of contaminants in the environment. She is particularly interested in understanding the chemistry side of things, how different contaminants behave in different environment and whether this can be related to what people are exposed to. Melanie is a keen gardener… but not a very good one.
Dr Emma Sharp
Emma’s background is in geography, biology, environmental science and Māori studies. Her research interests are in food politics, values (social, environmental and economic), and citizen engagement in science and the environment. Emma enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her family – her two small children, Finn and Isla, are budding gardeners!
Adam is a specialist in the chemistry of the deep Earth, volcanoes and of soil. His research interests follow how metals pass from deep in the Earth into the rock, soil and water we interact with every day and how this changes our environment and effects human health. Adam enjoys spending time in the hills and trying to coax seedlings to grow in his native garden at home.
Declan (He/Him) has a background in zoology and is currently in the Master of Science in Environmental Science programme at the University of Auckland. In his spare time Declan enjoys playing football with his mates and going out for great food around Tāmaki Makaurau.
Rose is a Senior Geologist at GNS Science, based in the Dunedin office. Her research in the soil space (she’s a hard-rock geologist!) have largely involved undertaking national, regionaland urban soil geochemical surveys throughout Aotearoa. She is particularly interested in identifying and tracing human impacts on soil chemistry, and the potential long-term effects of soil contamination on human health. Rose spends all her spare time with her young family exploring the outdoors, and cooking food grown from her garden.
Meet the Alumni
We’ve had the pleasure of working with many fantastic Alumni from a variety of academic and career pathways.
Georgia’s academic training is in Economics and Human Geography, she completed her Masters on Māori Economies and Māori Food Sovereignty in 2019. She is currently undertaking a PhD on Māori economies. Georgia spends her spare time playing soccer and gardening.
Cody graduated with a geography degree from Singapore, and is currently in the Master of Environmental Science programme in Auckland. Before moving to Auckland, he had worked in Singapore’s public service holding a variety of roles. He has keen interest in both environmental and social sciences, and one of his work in Singapore was on the engagement of community gardens.
Nick has a background in communication studies, media, and marketing. He has since returned to study biology and a Master of Science in environmental science with a particular focus on environmental planning, food systems, and science communication. Nick loves to garden and cook at home, with far too many other hobbies taking a backseat to a busy study schedule.
Lauren has a background in media and film studies, and is now working towards a post graduate diploma in Geography. She has an interest in food systems and sustainability, particularly in regards to coffee. In her spare time Lauren loves to go on nature walks, read adventure stories, and practice yoga.
Fiona is a summer research student who is completing her undergraduate studies in Environmental
Management and Indigenous Development at the University of Otago. In her spare time, she loves
to explore the outdoors and volunteer, as well as cook for family and friends with whatever is
overflowing in the garden.
Georgi is a Research Assistant who has recently completed an undergraduate degree in Geography, Anthropology and Ancient History at the University of Auckland. She has an interest in the environment, sustainability, and social sciences. In her free time, Georgi enjoys travelling around Aotearoa and adding to her indoor plant collection.