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NZ Coast

Scholarship advances seabird research

German PhD student Hendrik Schultz spent two months living on a remote island off the coast of New Zealand while carrying out his seabird research project.

Hendrik and his partner Rebecca, a biologist, lived in a hut with limited electricity and no internet on South East Island, part of the Chatham Islands archipelago. They used GPS tracking to gather data on the daily lives of the brown skua.

“When we tried to attach the GPS devices, the skua would dive on us to defend their territory. It was painful at times, but we love working with these charismatic birds,” says Hendrik, a student at the University of Auckland.

“I hope my study will contribute to a better understanding of these important and unique seabirds.”

Hendrik says gaining a New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarship made it possible for him to focus on his research without having to work part-time.

“I have really appreciated being able to study here,” he says.


The people are super-friendly and welcoming, the Māori culture is very interesting and the nature is one of a kind. Coming to New Zealand has been a great experience.

Hendrik Schultz, PhD student

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