Our Science Department Managers

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Our Science Department Managers are responsible and accountable for the delivery of GNS’ science programmes. This includes all aspects of operational delivery – planning, leading and delivering work programmes, financial management, sustainability, strategic alignment and stakeholder and external relationship management.

Sim Mike 2343

Mike Sim

Laboratories and Collections Manager

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  • Mike combines science expertise with commercial acumen in his role managing GNS’ analytical capabilities...

    BSc (Chemistry), Victoria University of Wellington

    Portfolio includes:

    • Earth and Environmental Science team
    • New Zealand Geothermal Analytical Laboratory
    • Rafter Radiocarbon & XCAMS Team
    • Geological Research and Collections
    • Mechanical and Electronic Workshops

    Number of staff: 50

    Mike combines science expertise with commercial acumen in his role managing GNS’ analytical capabilities. His early career focused on oil, petrochemical and energy industry research and development in New Zealand, Europe and the UK. He then developed his technical skills and knowledge to move into the commercialisation of science, building relationship management, client service delivery, sales, marketing and business development skills.

    Mike’s highly skilled teams are supported by cutting edge technology, and their depth of experience and broad set of capabilities enable them to deliver a range of sample processing and analyses, research and product design, data interpretation, and collection management and curation services. The team supports internal geoscience, earth resources and materials science and research and they also work with external clients and industries to support development and commercial opportunities, most notably providing critical support to New Zealand’s geothermal energy sector.

    The department has built a deserved reputation for innovation, accuracy and precision and analytical capabilities; their work contributes to and influences national and international research, as well as being used extensively in the development of environmental programmes, strategies and policies.

    Included in Mike’s portfolio are some of New Zealand’s – and the world’s – most renowned and well-equipped laboratory facilities. They include the Rafter Radiocarbon laboratory, which is the oldest continually operating radiocarbon facility in the world, and the Tritium and Water Dating laboratory - the world’s most accurate tritium dating facility. 

Dellow Sally 1137

Sally Dellow

Earth Structure and Processes Manager

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  • Sally has spent her career at the ‘practice end’ of the science spectrum...

    BSc Geology; MSc Engineering Geology, University of Canterbury.

    Portfolio includes:

    • Volcanology
    • Seismology – Source to Surface
    • Earthquake Physics and Statistics
    • Geodynamics
    • Crustal geophysics
    • Petrology and Geochemistry
    • Paleoseismology
    • Tsunami

    No. of staff: 80

    Sally has spent her career at the ‘practice end’ of the science spectrum; her work has enabled New Zealand communities to better understand, manage and respond to natural hazards. She specialises in landslide and earthquake hazards and her work has contributed to the investigation and construction of some of New Zealand’s largest infrastructure projects, most notably its hydro-power dam network. A cornerstone of Sally’s work over the last twenty years has been developing the landslide response and landslide data capture capabilities as part of the GeoNet Project.

    As Department Manager, Sally oversees the entire spectrum of science, from the fundamental and discovery phases, its application through monitoring, modelling and analysis, to its ultimate use in ‘real world’ situations. The work undertaken by her teams helps us to understand the natural hazards that New Zealand communities are exposed to. It is used to influence and inform decision-making and policy-making at local and regional government levels, and it enables the insurance industry, and design, planning and engineering professionals to understand the options available to  help communities manage, adapt to, mitigate or build resilience to these risks. 

    Link to: (pages)

    • GeoNet
    • Land and marine geoscience
    • Hazards and Risks
    • Volcanoes

    Link to: (projects)

    • Te Riu a Maui / Understanding Zealandia
    • Hazard and Risk Management
    • Beneath the Waves
    • Rapid Characterisation of Earthquakes and Tsunamis
Roncaglia Lucia 2225

Lucia Roncaglia

Surface Geoscience Manager

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  • Lucia is an experienced geologist with interests in stratigraphy, sedimentology, and environmental research...

    MSc (First Class Hons), Geology;  PhD, Paleontology 

    Portfolio includes:

    • Hydrogeology and geophysics
    • Groundwater modelling
    • Engineering geology
    • Paleontology
    • Geological Mapping and Stratigraphy
    • Environmental chemistry
    • Environmental processes and modelling

    Total number of staff: 80 

    Lucia is an experienced geologist with interests in stratigraphy, sedimentology, and environmental research. Her expertise has been applied to the management and delivery of large-scale multi-disciplinary projects and research associated with environment and climate, natural hazards and risks and energy across many aspects of geosciences in New Zealand. Her team also provides scientific leadership, oversight and development for GNS’s laboratories and collections. Lucia has previously led the Paleontology Department, and she joined the Science Management Team in 2019 as Department Manager of Surface Geosciences.

Girdwood Bruce 3796

Bruce Girdwood

Data Science and Geohazards Monitoring Manager

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  • Bruce has broad experience across government, energy and private sector organisations ...

    Bruce Girdwood: Data Science and Geohazard Monitoring Department Manager
    BSc (Mechanical Engineering); MSc (Civil Engineering), University of Capetown; PhD (Materials Engineering) University of Wales, Swansea.

    Portfolio includes:

    • Science System Architecture
    • Remote Infrastructure Management
    • Data Science Platform
    • Science Operations and Data
    • Science System Development
    • Geohazard Operations Centre
    • Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics (AI & AA)
    • Geospatial Data & Analysis
    • GeoNet Programme

    Total number of team members: 100

    Bruce has broad experience across government, energy and private sector organisations in New Zealand and overseas. His specialist knowledge has influenced regulatory frameworks, increased commercial opportunities, and helped develop behaviour change and efficiency programmes in New Zealand’s energy sector.  Bruce is able to navigate regulatory environments to ensure best commercial outcomes and he understands the value and importance of positive stakeholder, government and community engagement.

    In his Department Manager role at GNS Science, Bruce looks after the teams monitoring New Zealand’s four main natural hazards – earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity, and landslides – as well as the teams who analyse, measure and interpret monitoring data to ensure communities have the information and knowledge they need to respond, adapt and build resilience to these hazards. Data relating to geohazards is also accessed and used by scientists around the world.

    Bruce’s teams also provide artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, and geospatial analysis, which is applied across a range of data and builds data science capability across GNS Science. Their collective capability contributes to GNS Science’s strategic direction and science priorities, including the Science Roadmap (link) and Science Theme Plans.

Orozco German 3822

German Orozco

Earth Resources and Materials Manager

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  • German combines technical field knowledge gained in over two decades working in the energy sector...

    B. Eng (Geological Engineering) National University of Mexico; Geothermal Technology Diploma, Auckland University; MBA, Heriot Watt University, Scotland.

    Portfolio includes:

    • Geothermal Geology and Modelling
    • Materials Science
    • Hydrothermal systems and Minerals
    • Geophysics
    • Basin Analysis

    No. of Staff: 58

    German combines technical field knowledge gained in over two decades working in the energy sector, with line management, project management, consulting, sales and marketing and business development skills. He enjoys leading technically minded people and transferring value into business.

    German’s technical experience includes geological field mapping, seismic data management, 2-and 3D seismic interpretation, geological static modelling and reservoir characterization for exploration and production projects in the energy sector. He has led an extensive range of projects - well productivity, drilling optimisation, reservoir management and asset evaluation projects – in Australia, Mexico, USA and the Middle East.

    In his role as Earth Resources and Materials Manager, German leads a highly skilled and diverse team of earth science and material science specialists with a strong focus on the energy industry. The team’s main research areas include Geothermal, Hydrogen and Technologies for a low-carbon future. The group works in partnership with other GNS scientists, national and international research partners, as well as other external stakeholders from energy companies and regulators.

    German is a member of the New Zealand Geothermal Association, International Partnership for Geothermal Technologies and the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG).

    Link to Pages:

    • Energy Futures

    Link to Projects:

    • partnership between Contact Energy and GNS Science in the Tauhara project where new technologies and workflows are applied to enhance the field development.
    • Geothermal: The Next Generation
    • Green Hydrogen



Daly Michele 2408

Michele Daly

Society and Infrastructure Manager

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  • Michele's work has influenced national approaches to managing risk, most notably in Indonesia and Samoa...

    MSc (1st Class Honours) Geology, Exploration Geophysics; PGDip Environmental Management (University of Auckland)

    Portfolio includes:

    • Social and Behavioural Science
    • Planning and Risk Management
    • Risk and Engineering

    Total number of team members: 30

    Michele has a background in disaster risk management, with prior experience in local government (water resource and natural hazards management, and emergency management) and in the private sector with a focus on capacity building in the Pacific Since joining GNS Science in 2010, she has led a number of international development programmes in the Asia and Pacific regions, and her work has influenced national approaches to managing risk, most notably in Indonesia and Samoa. She also co-led a research programme looking at the economic consequences associated with disruption events, which resulted in the creation of the decision support tool, MERIT.

    In her Department Manager role at GNS Science, Michele uses her specialist skills to enable and support her teams to deliver strategic research, development and applied science projects. The group’s focus is largely around risk science, risk engineering, risk modelling, risk management, hazard and risk communication, land-use planning, policy development and analysis, and social and behavioural science.

    Michele is keenly focused on delivering excellent science and impact for Aotearoa New Zealand. As well as contributing to world-class fundamental research, her teams also have a strong commercial focus on client services and working closely with communities, Iwi-Māori, government and local authorities, and industry and infrastructure partners, both in New Zealand and across the Asia-Pacific region.

    Michele is a member of the National Lifelines Council(external link),  the RiskScape(external link) governance group and GNS’ joint venture with Damwatch.

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