Nik Hannam is team leader of the fish department at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium. He says he started absorbing water and ‘smelling like a fish’ at about four years old and has been addicted to anything related to sea life since.
Nik holds a two-year diploma in Marine Studies at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and in his role with Kelly Tarlton’s looks after the fish and sharks.
He has been involved in numerous shark and ray research projects, mostly catching, tagging and releasing sharks of all shapes and sizes. He has also worked in aquariums as far abroad as Kazakhstan, training and assisting aquarist and divers to look after diverse marine species in aquariums.
- What do you hope to achieve on this expedition to the Three Kings?
Assisting with this trip will introduce me to a new area of the country that I have not visited and also to new people and, hopefully, to new species. To be offered the opportunity to help collect marine species with the museum crew is a privilege and an opportunity not to be missed.
- What skills are you bringing to the team on this expedition?
As part of my job, I collect fish and other marine species using many different and often novel techniques and methods. Many years of experience with diving and other marine projects have given me great skills for collecting sharks and fish on this expedition.
- When you’re not on an expedition what does a “day at work” looks like for you?
As team leader of the aquarium fish department, I am responsible for the health and wellbeing of the marine species we display and their water they live in. The average day for me could sea me doing anything from wading in mudflats catching shrimps for the seahorses to eat, scaling 40kg of mullet to feed the sharks or even catching deep-water Hapuku for our tanks. I may talk with people about stingrays or organize a shark dive for someone who has never dived before. Every day is different and every day is awesome.