Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Our people

Jamie Wood in the Ancient DNA section of the new Palaeoecology Suite. Image - Tom Fraser

Jamie Wood in the Ancient DNA section of the new Palaeoecology Suite. Image - Tom Fraser

Goal: Landcare Research has an organisational culture that is adaptive in the face of change, attracts high quality talent, produces great leaders and which is supported by effective systems and processes.

Workplace culture

We strive for a vibrant, thriving, healthy and high-performing culture. An internal working group of Tier 3 science and support leaders was established with a mandate to help build this culture. To date the group has focused on (1) the development of shared values, (2) an improved leadership development programme, and (3) individual resilience, including the introduction of a wellness programme open to all staff and their families.

This year, 79% of our staff took part in the staff engagement survey. Despite a difficult year with reductions in operational and salary costs, engagement levels remain stable at 70% – well above the CRI average at time of survey. Our middletier science team leaders are the most engaged group of employees, which is pleasing as they are at the heart of the organisation and key to our performance.

We actively foster an awareness and appreciation of mātauranga Māori in our workplace as well as in our science programmes. Our Guiding Philosphy recognises the Treaty of Waitangi, as does our Māori name:


The pan-CRI leadership framework has been used to refresh our internal leadership development programme for Tier 1 and below. Complementary to this, a pan-CRI proposal for a joint senior leadership programme is underway. This will enable unique networking opportunities and sharing of common leadership challenges and solutions.

All Tier 3 and Tier 4 leaders were encouraged to participate in Managing Non-Performance Workshops. As a result, the engagement survey showed significant improvements in perceptions of performance measurement, management of non-performance and collaboration across teams.

Our performance management processes received praise from the independent Four-Year Rolling Review panel. Our paper-based system has now been developed into an electronic process, which saves time and enables us to better monitor completion rates, the quality of objectives and measures, and development needs.

Developing our science capability and capacity

Our Science Advisory Panel recommended that we should increase our capacity and leadership in economic and social science, and further enhance our contribution to informatics research. We appointed a new Governance and Policy Science Team Leader and will support a visiting scientist from the UK to lead further development of our economic and social research. We also appointed four new staff with specialist skills in resource economics and Māori science, four with spatial/modelling skills in soil science, and two with modelling expertise in ecological science.

All science teams have capability plans in place. This ensures we effectively monitor the growth and development of key talent and have the right number of people with the right skills to deliver on our outcomes and impacts and meet customer needs.

In total 18 staff were appointed to science positions during the year: 6 of these were internal appointments and 12 were externally advertised; 8 appointees were from overseas. Our accredited employer status with Immigration New Zealand makes overseas appointments a much smoother and less complicated process. All vacancies are now advertised through the new pan-CRI recruitment website, a one-stop-shop for both job seekers and CRIs looking for new talent.

During the year, we hosted seven postdoctoral researchers – talented young scientists who are at an early stage in their science careers – from New Zealand, France, Spain, UK and USA.

Landcare Research fellowships

We have three fellowships named after former senior scientists recognising their significant contributions to Landcare Research and their science fields over the span of their life and career. Recipients work with Landcare Research on particular projects or PhDs that contribute to our knowledge pool.

  • The Ross Beever Fellowship for fungal research, awarded to Teresa Lebel, continued into its second year.
  • The Murray Jesson Scholarship for soil science continued to support Simon Vale in the third year of his PhD on sediment ‘fingerprinting’ to determine critical source areas in the Manawatu River. The data will also be used to help calibrate an erosion and sediment model we have developed.
  • The Des Ross Scholarship was awarded this year to Rashad Syed for PhD studies into the development of effective biofi lters to mitigate methane emissions from anaerobic effluent ponds collecting dairy waste water.

Landcare Research awards for staff

Landcare Research maintains a focus on very high Health & Safety standards. During New Zealand Safety Week, we recognised eight staff for their extra effort and commitment to improving our workplace Health & Safety. In addition, 18 staff were recognised with Excellence Awards to recognise their distinguished service above and beyond the normal parameters of their work.

Key performance indicators

Our performance and compliance are reported comprehensively online:

  • H&S; Wellness; EEO; gender, age, length of service and pay equity; commitment to Treaty obligations; labour relations and diversity are covered under Good Employer
  • Our support for the Mainstream Programme, superannuation and student loan repayments, and employee assistance programmes (EAP) are covered under Social Responsibility
  • Our subsidiary Enviro-Mark Solutions follows the same policies and procedures as the parent company.
For the year ending 30 June: 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total staff (FTEs) in Landcare Research 379 356 329 315
  In science teams 261 250 232 224
    With postgraduate qualifications (HC) 210 195 180 1601
  In science support 45 55 42 41
  In general support 73 62 55 50
Enviro-Mark Solutions (subsidiary) staff (FTEs) - 19 12 222
Women (% science team staff) 37.6% 38.4% 32.8% 38%
Women recruited (% science team staff recruited) 62.5% 48% 53.8% 56%
Māori science staff (HC) 9 8 8 9
Days sick leave (self or for family dependant) 4.5 4.4 4.8 4.9
Lost-time injuries 1 1 1 23
Average days lost per lost-time injury 1.8 40.6 4.7 1.5
Staff turnover (based on HC) 14.7% 11.5% 16.1% 9.2%4
Turnover of key senior scientists 3.4% 8.6%5 5.9% 6.6%5

1 In addition, 24 support staff have postgraduate qualifications. Note that metrics for previous years have included Honours and Postgraduate Diplomas as postgraduate qualifications
2 Includes the Enviro-Mark Programme, which merged with our carboNZero Holdings subsidiary to form the new company Enviro-Mark Solutions on 1 July 2014
3 Lost time injuries per million hours worked = 3.3 (includes injuries where only a part-day was lost)
4 Turnover of science staff = 8.4%; science support = 4.4%; general support = 16.4%; (includes 5 staff redundancies)
5 Key senior scientist = Band 6, Science Team Leader or Science GM. The only reduction in resource of key staff included a reduction in hours for one of our principal scientists.