Tanayaz Patil

Tanayaz Patil

Inshore Fisheries Analyst, Fisheries New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries
Bachelor of Science in Applied Conservation and Marine Biology

She has always been fascinated by animals, our planet and the universe, says Tanayaz Patil who completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Conservation and Marine Biology.

“Growing up, I used to spend a lot of time with my head buried in encyclopaedias or being lost in documentaries. As I got older, I started to identify more with the conservation of our planet and its animals, especially in the marine space. I originally enrolled at AUT to major in applied conservation but during my first year a lecturer noticed my keen interest in my marine-based papers, and suggested I major in marine biology too.”

Going on a field trip to the Solomon Islands for one of her courses confirmed that studying marine biology was the right choice, Tanayaz says.

“I spent two weeks in the Solomon Islands studying the coastal ecology. After finishing a long day of scuba diving and data collection, we were on the boat back to Kolombangara Island where we were being hosted. There was a beautiful sunset with seabirds soaring through the sky, a stingray jumped out of the water and I remember having this feeling of euphoria and my eyes welled up. I felt incredibly lucky to be in that moment and I had such an intense appreciation for our ocean.”

Highlights and connections
AUT provided her with lots of highlights, Tanayaz says.

“I especially enjoyed the opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge out in the field. I had the opportunity to apply my skills in estuaries, zoos and intertidal shores to name a few.

“Throughout my time at AUT, I met some amazing people who I have developed rich relationships with, and their passion really inspired me. I met some of my closest friends and the lecturers gradually became friends too. I was also one of the founding members of AUT’s sustainability group, Future Proofers.”

Being able to research a topic of her interest as part of her degree was another highlight of her studies.

“My biggest achievement was probably receiving a distinction on my dissertation, which explored the effects of elevated temperature and carbon dioxide on sediment oxygen consumption. I remember the year-long process being a real challenge – mentally, emotionally and physically – and the sense of accomplishment was incredible when I received the grade I did.”

Protecting the aquatic environment
Since graduating from AUT at the end of 2018, Tanayaz now applies her understanding of marine biology as an analyst for Fisheries New Zealand, which is part of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“Inshore fisheries encompasses shellfish, freshwater, and finfish fisheries as well as other aquatic life. I currently look after the shellfish portfolio within my team, and am working on scallop, kina and intertidal shellfish management. I’m also part of the collaborative, cross-agency team that is working on implementing The Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan.”

Tanayaz enjoys the complexity of the projects and issues she gets to work on.

“There’s so much involved in each process and there are so many different aspects to consider when we’re trying to solve an issue or working on a project. There’s a lot of passion about New Zealand fisheries and the wider aquatic environment, and I get a lot of exposure to that. It’s incredibly fulfilling knowing that I’m contributing to the protection of our environment and resources.

“The skills I developed during my time at AUT heavily influence the work I do now and have given me opportunities to contribute to the things I’m most passionate about.”

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