Find out more about the people behind Cawthron Institute.

Cristina Armstrong

Community Educator


  • MSc (Botany). University College Dublin, Ireland, 2008
  • BSc (Hons, Environmental Biology). University West of England, Bristol, UK, 2004

Role at Cawthron

Cristina leads Cawthron's science education initiatives and activities. She is the main contact for schools in the Nelson region, and works closely with primary and secondary teachers in the top of the South Island to enhance science education in schools.

She also organises a range of education and community events throughout the year including the Celebrate Science with Cawthron festival and the Cawthron Science and Technology Fair, teacher training workshops, and NCEA year 13 workshops on aquaculture.

Cristina is passionate about presenting technical science in an easily understandable way, and believes effective science communication is critical to increasing public engagement in significant scientific issues.

She has a background in invasive species' research, control and awareness including her previous work in Ireland at the National Botanic Gardens and managing a project to control the giant rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria).

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, herbarium and ethnobotanical museum collection
  • Invasive species including managing the project to control Gunnera tinctoria (giant rhubarb) on Achill and Clare Island, Ireland 
  • Community education and awareness around invasive species' control and research methods
  • Organic gardener, Koanga Gardens, Northland
  • Snorkelling guide, Leigh Marine Reserve
  • Assistant primary teacher and volunteer for Department of Conservation

Selected publications

Smyth N, Armstrong C, Jebb M, Booth A. Implementing Target 10 at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin case study: Managing invasive non-native species (inns) in important areas for plant diversity in Ireland Sibbaldia. The Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, 11: 125-141.

Publication links

+64 3 5482319 ext 357