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Bibiliography of New Zealand Earth Science Theses
2nd edition: up to December 2000

Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 113, 2002
ISBN No: 0-908678-91-6
Compiled and edited by Simon Nathan, Bruce Thompson & Bruce Hayward


University theses provide one of the largest and most diverse sources of information on New Zealand geology. In 1989 the Geological Society of New Zealand produced the first edition of "Bibliography of New Zealand earth science theses", that included 2417 theses produced up to December 1987. Over the succeeding 13 years there has been an enormous increase in postgraduate study, and the present list, up to December 2000, includes 4087 entries. [In addition, there are also a few entries for 2001].

The 1989 edition was a conventional paper volume, containing lists sorted by author, topic and topographic map sheet. In considering how to publish a revised version, the National Committee of the Geological Society of new Zealand decided to make it available as a spreadsheet that can be downloaded from the Society's web site. This means users can download it and then use it in their own bibliographic software, or alternatively print it out for themselves. It also saves the Society the considerable costs of printing, storage or distribution. We would be pleased to hear whether users find this format useful, and to receive suggestions for future upgrades.

Breadth of coverage

For the purposes of this bibliography, all known theses in the following categories have been included:

  • Theses undertaken within all Geology and Earth Science Departments in New Zealand. [This includes theses on overseas topics].
  • Theses with substantial original research in solid earth sciences (including soils but excluding meteorology and atmospheric and ocean studies) undertaken in other departments in New Zealand universities.
  • Theses with substantial original research in solid earth sciences of New Zealand (excluding Antarctica) undertaken in overseas Universities.
  • New Zealand DSc degrees in earth science, although most have no thesis as such, but are awarded for a collection of submitted publications.

Most early New Zealand masters degrees in earth science either have no known thesis or the thesis is not held in a library, and they are therefore not included in this bibliography. The Union List of Higher Degrees is a useful source of information on all New Zealand higher degrees awarded, whether or not a thesis was required.

Some theses may have been omitted from this bibliography, especially if they have been prepared in an overseas University. The editors would appreciate receiving information about such theses, which will be recorded in the database and included in any later edition of the bibliography.

Format of data

This edition follows the format of the 1989 edition, with data stored in the following fields:

Author's name and initials
Year of presentation of thesis
Title of thesis
Degree of diploma for which the thesis was presented
University Department/subdepartment
University name (+ country for universities outside New Zealand)
Library (using standard New Zealand library identifier)
Major subject areas

Keywording and subject listing have been done by a number of different people, and consequently there is some inconsistency between entries from different universities.

Degree abbreviations


Associate of the Otago School of Mine


Batchelor of Arts with Honours


Batchelor of Agricultural Science


Batchelor of Agricultural Science with Honours


Batchelor of Horticultural Science with Honours


Batchelor of Mineral Technology


Batchelor of Mineral Technology with Honours 


Batchelor of Science


Batchelor of Science with Honours


Diploma of Imperial College of Science & Technology 


Diploma in Agricultural Science


Diploma in Applied Science


Diploma in Environmental Agricultural Science


Diploma in Geothermal Technology


Diploma in Horticultural Science


Diploma in Science


Diploma in Science


Master of Arts 


Master of Agricultural Science 


Master of Agricultural Science in Horticulture


Master of Applied Science


Master of Engineering


Master of Horticultural Science


Master of Mineral Technology


Master of Philosophy


Master of Resource and Regional Planning


Master of Science


Postgraduate Diploma in Resource and Regional Planning


Postgraduate Diploma of Science


Doctor of Philosophy


  1. All Doctor of Philosophy degrees have been recorded as PhD (rather than DPhil, used by a few Universities)
  2. Although some Masters degrees are awarded with honours, only the degree itself is listed - e.g. MSc rather than MSc(Hons). Usage within and between Universities is quite inconsistent, and the usage we have adopted follows the protocols established by the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Subject fields

Coal Geology
Engineering Geology
Igneous petrology

Marine geology
Metamorphic geology
Metal-ore deposits
Non-metalliferous deposits
Petroleum geology

Plate tectonics
Quaternary geology
Sedimentary petrology
Structural geology

Formation Names

Some theses propose new formation names, and these are regarded as informal unless they have been subsequently published. For consistency the initial letter of each formation or other stratigraphic unit has been capitalised, whether formally published or not. However, soil names have not been capitalised except when they are place names.

Accessibility and access to theses

Once examined, University theses are normally deposited in the library of the University where they originated. An additional copy is often held in a departmental collection, and some authors present copies to other libraries. It is a widespread convention among Universities that theses should be available for reference, although there is often a 1-2 year restriction immediately after a thesis has been completed. There are often restrictions on borrowing, although interloans can be arranged by inter-library agreement.

The thesis holdings of the now-defunct Otago School of Mines have been split between Otago University and Auckland University.

A thesis can be used for reference in the same way that a researcher would use any other book. This means that when information from the thesis is used or if the the thesis is cited there should be full acknowledgement and referencing in any publication, thesis or report. A suggested form of reference is:


Jones, A.B. 2001: Neotectonics and Holocene deformation around  Whangarei, Northland. Unpublished MSc thesis, Geology Department, University of Auckland, Auckland. 47 pp.

It is important to remember that a thesis is not regarded as a formal publication such as a journal article or book, which would have undergone peer review and revision. If information from a thesis is subsequently published, the published article should be cited rather than the thesis.

The copyright of a thesis remains with the author (unless assigned elsewhere), as it does with any other written/published work. The Copyright Act allows for fair use of any work for "research and private study". Persons wishing to use a thesis for commercial use or to publish data taken directly from a thesis should obtain the author's permission. When an author cannot be contacted (deceased, whereabouts unknown), then permission should be sought from the head of the department where the thesis originated.

The listing of a thesis in this bibliography does not mean that a copy is automatically available for consultation. If permission is refused, it is suggested that you contact the University Librarian to seek a written explanation.


This edition builds on the work undertaken to prepare the 1989 edition, and the contributions of all involved in that edition is acknowledged with thanks. For the succeeding decade Bruce Thompson systematically collected titles of new theses, which formed the backbone of a revised edition. From 1999 onwards there was a concerted attempt to prepare a revised edition, and up-to-date lists were requested from University departments. The following are thanked for their help in providing information and answering queries:

Sydney Wright (University of Waikato), Clel Wallace (Massey University), Gillian Ruthven (Victoria University), Joan Mawson (Canterbury University), Adrien Dever (Otago University). Claire Thurlow and Bridget Ayling undertook much of the data entry and verification. Librarians at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science are thanked for their assistance answering queries over a long period.

Bibliographic Reference

Nathan, S.; Thompson, B.N.; Hayward, B.W. 2002: Bibliography of New Zealand earth science theses. 2nd edition: up to December 2000. Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 113.