Kaikoura field station


UC has ceased using the Kaikoura field station facilities. We intend to re-establish our teaching and research at a new Kaikoura field station in the future.

History of the Kaikoura field station

The Edward Percival field station (teaching building) was established in 1962 and its prime purpose was undergraduate teaching. Until then field work for zoology undergraduates had been undertaken at Menzies Bay, on Banks Peninsula, but as class sizes increased alternatives were sought. On one vacation zoology undergraduates stayed in the Kaikoura High School with George Knox, and the class rated Kaikoura as an ideal place for a field station.

George Knox looked around for a site and discovered the County Council's old powder (explosives) magazine tucked under the cliffs along the Esplanade.

It was hilly and rough, but he saw it was one of the best sites anywhere in the world for a marine laboratory and for investigating the great diversity of habitats, fauna and flora about the Kaikoura Peninsula.

A shell was built and added to later as circumstances permitted. When it was first occupied, the bunkrooms had neither doors nor ceilings and students had to be diplomatic in their remarks about the staff when they went to bed. Their words travelled far.