Scientists are to study the long term environmental impact of the grounding of the container ship Rena in Bay of Plenty.
The 47,000 tonne cargo ship ran aground on Astrolabe reef, off Tauranga, in October last year, spilling oil and and debris and causing pollution that killed large numbers of wildlife.
Waikato University chair of Bay of Plenty coastal science Chris Battershill is leading a research team.
Professor Battershill says scientists already know the impact of oil pollution has been on seafood species. The team's focus is on the long term effects of the contamination on the ocean and coastline.
He says by obtaining this information, scientists will be able to better advise authorities on the impact of similar maritime disasters on other coastal communities.
Field work is due to begin next week and most projects will be completed by next year.