Kia ora! Welcome, and thank you, for visiting.

I’m an emerging critical social scientist based in the Social Science team at Cawthron Institute, in sunny Whakatū (Nelson), Aotearoa (New Zealand). I work within several interdisciplinary research teams, broadly focused on (1) freshwater values and biodiversity (e.g., Fish Futures; New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge), (2) food systems (including food security and sovereignty), and (3) the national research system (e.g., Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Kindness in Science project). These projects intersect my training in conservation genomics, freshwater ecology, and community-based research, and my research interests in human geography, transdisciplinary conservation science, complexity theory, and science and technology studies. It brings me great joy to work in such smart and kind teams, all of whom are addressing critical issues relating to science, society, and the environment.

Previously, I was based at the School of Biological Sciences (University of Canterbury) in the ConSERT research group. During my PhD, we examined relationships encoded in oral narrative and genomic markers for kēkēwai (wai kōura or freshwater crayfish). That work, which you can find below, represents the collective knowledge and efforts of many, including Kāi Tahu whānui, local communities and practitioners (e.g., KEEWAI, Tūhaitara Coastal Park, Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau).

Ko wai au? I’m Pākehā (a non-Indigenous New Zealander of Irish / English descent), from a dairy farm in Te Waipounamu. Research aside, you’ll generally find me outdoors, with friends or family.

You can access my full CV below. If you’d like to chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out.



You can find some examples of our work below:

blogs and other popular media

When rehoming wildlife, Indigenous leadership delivers the best results

Moving plants and animals to establish new populations or strengthen existing ones can enhance species recovery and ecosystem resilience. But few projects are led or co-led by Indigenous Peoples, or centre Indigenous ways of knowing. In this article for The Conversation, we explain why we need transformative change that brings together diverse knowledge and worldviews to restore ecosystems as well as cultural practices and language. Read more... You can also listen to our RNZ interview here.

How can we best use genomics to enhance conservation translocations?

In a rapidly changing world, conservation programmes seek to build resilience in threatened species so that they can respond—or adapt—to change. But the best way to enhance this adaptive potential is often debated in the conservation genetics community. In this Bioheritage blog, we discuss how genomics can help us to make more informed decisions in threatened species management. Read more...


Rayne A, Blair S, Dale M, Flack B, Hollows J, Moraga R, Parata RN, Rupene M, Tamati-Elliffe P, Wehi PM, Wylie MJ, Steeves TE. 2022. Weaving place-based knowledge for culturally significant species in the age of genomics: Looking to the past to navigate the future. Evolutionary Applications. 15: 751–772. Open Access

Forsdick N, Adams CI, Alexander A, Clark AC, Collier-Robinson L, Cubrinovska I, Croll Dowgray M, Dowle E, Duntsch L, Galla SJ, Howell L, Magid M, Rayne A, Verry AJF, Wold J, Steeves TE. 2022. Current applications and future promise of genetic/genomic data for conservation in an Aotearoa New Zealand context. Science for Conservation. Open Access

Rayne A, Byrnes G, Collier-Robinson L, Hollows J, McIntosh A, Ramsden M, Rupene M, Tamati-Elliffe P, Thoms C, Steeves TE. 2020. Centring Indigenous knowledge systems to re-imagine conservation translocations. People and Nature. 2: 512–526. Open Access

Collier-Robinson L, Rayne A, Rupene M, Thoms C, Steeves TE. Embedding indigenous principles in genomic research of culturally significant species: a conservation genomics case study. NZ Journal of Ecology. 43: 3389. Open Access


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