Our Team

Dr Ingrid Visser with Rudie the orca at Taiharuru

Dr Ingrid N. Visser with Rudie the Orca at Taiharuru, Northland.

Dr Ingrid N. Visser – Founder & Principal Scientist

Born in New Zealand, Dr Visser remains the only researcher specializing in orca in New Zealand waters.

Her research officially began in 1992 when she embarked on her life-long dream to study the orca. Since then she has worked with orca not only around New Zealand, but also in the waters of Antarctica, Argentina and Papua New Guinea.

Whilst travelling aboard eco-tourism ships or on private expeditions, she has also contributed to orca research projects in the Kamchatka region of Russia; Washington, Alaska and British Colombia off North America as well as Iceland (where she worked with the team releasing “Keiko” the star of the Free Willy movies).

Her work has appeared in various magazines and on numerous documentaries made for TV. She has written two children’s books as well as an autobiography “Swimming with Orca” which was a finalist in the 2005 NZ Montana Book Awards.  Since the tragic death of the trainer at SeaWorld in Florida, Ingrid has been actively speaking out for orca held in captivity.  She is a co-founder of the Free Morgan Foundation, working to raise awareness of her plight as she is used commercially at the entertainment theme park Loro Parque, in Spain.

Dr Visser’s research does not receive Government or University funding, but is run through the non-profit, Orca Research Trust, a New Zealand registered Charity.

Dedicated to protecting the orca, Dr Visser believes in making science ‘consumable’ for the general public and as such she is often seen out in the community giving talks about these incredible apex predators.

The Orca Research Trust is run primarily by Dr Ingrid Visser.  She occasionally receives assistance from the other crew members featured here (& don’t forget to check out the Orca Research Boat).


Terry Hardie – Researcher, Trustee

Terry with Keiko at release site

Terry with Keiko (“Free Willy” star) at the release site in Iceland.                                                                   Photo Ingrid Visser / Orca Research Trust

Born in South Africa, Terry immigrated to New Zealand as a youngster and expanded on his interest in the computer sciences. Founding one of the first publicly-accessible email companies in New Zealand, he was soon head-hunted to the United States of America where he currently resides.

Terry’s skills in the electronic / IT arena makes him a valuable asset to a number of orca research projects. For the New Zealand based Orca Research Trust, he is not only a Trustee, but also a valued field researcher. Utilizing various types of equipment (e.g., HD cameras, hydrophones) Terry’s contribution to the research has enabled us to gain insights into these incredibly adapted animals.

He is a co-founder of the Free Morgan Foundation, working to raise awareness of her plight as she is used commercially at the entertainment theme park Loro Parque, in Spain.

As an avid photographer and videographer, images taken by Terry, for the Orca Research Trust, have been published around the world and are continually used to promote the Trusts’ mission statement : “To Protect Orca & their Habitat, through Conservation, Education & Scientific Research.”


Wendy Turner – Research Assistant

Wendy gently rolls a pilot whale as it regains its balance after a stranding.  Photo: Ingrid Visser

Starting out as a volunteer, Wendy has now been involved with the Orca Research Trust since 2008 when she helped with the release of the young orca Rakey-Cousteau.  Wendy has since been involved in the rescue of many pilot whales as well as the disentanglement of a humpback whale wrapped in a net.

With her many boat handling certifications Wendy has become a vital part of the on-water team and was the key boat driver and helped Dr Visser during the filming of the BBC/Discovery Channel/ Big Wave documentary which has screened around the world.


Sarah Dwyer – Researcher

Sarah, on the Orca Research Trust boat, up close and personal with an orca.   Photo: Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust

Having grown up mainly in the UK and Ireland, Sarah completed her undergraduate studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland where she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Marine and Environmental Biology.

She then moved to New Zealand in 2006. Sarah began volunteering for the Orca Research Trust in 2007 and gained valuable field-work experience with Dr Visser through a number of projects including cetacean survey’s in Papua New Guinea and providing support during the filming of the documentary, ‘Killer Whales’, which features the New Zealand Orca and the Orca Research Trust.

After working with Dr Visser for over two years Sarah has since completed her PhD at Massey University, Auckland under the Coastal-Marine Research Group as part of the New Zealand Common Dolphin Project (NZCDP). While she was out in the field conducting her PhD research investigating the distribution, density and fine scale habitat use of common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, Sarah continued to collect data for the Orca Research Trust.

Kate Norton – Teacher

Kate Norton (right) & Ingrid Visser with some orca items in anticipation of an orca themed school day

In 2007 Kate came to work with the Orca Research Trust during a one-year teacher fellowship.  She has been a primary school teacher since 1999 and has helped to develop ideas and presentations for younger children which she now uses in her classroom. She collaborated with Ingrid to write a book about Nobby the orca, one of the many she met during her year working with the Orca Research Trust.

Kate continues to work closely with Ingrid and the orca.  She believes in providing children with factual information so they gain an interest in the learning process. Kate has also visited Punta Norte Orca Research in Argentina, of which Ingrid is a co-founder, the location famous for the orca coming on to the beach to take sea-lion pups.  She and Ingrid co-authored the children’s book Nobby the Orca.

Heiko Grimm – Research Assistant

Currently based in Germany, Heiko has spent extended time in New Zealand working closely with the Orca Research Team, assisting with a wide range of projects from documenting orca out in the field during encounters, assisting with necropsies and providing support for students during their internships with the ORT.  As a keen photographer his skill set was used during filming for an international documentary with a Japanese film crew as well as appearing in the scientific article; Visser I.N., Cooper T.E. & Grimm H. 2020. Duration of pseudo-stalked barnacles (Xenobalanus globicipitis) on a New Zealand Pelagic ecotype orca (Orcinus orca), with comments on cookie cutter shark bite marks (Isistius sp.); can they be used as biological tags? Biological Diversity. 11(4):1067-1086, of which he was also a co-author.    Currently, Heiko is completing a university degree in Germany, with the intention to return to New Zealand in order to conduct more field work with the orca.

Heiko Grimm working in the coral laboratory in Germany



Steve Hathaway – Underwater Cameraman

Steve Hathaway on location filming with the Orca Research Trust.  Photo www.stevehathaway.com

Since 2008 Steve has filmed in association with the Orca Research Trust.  Some of his footage was used for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures documentary “The call of the killer whale” and Discovery Channel’s “Killer Whales”.  He was also the underwater cameraman for the BBC documentary “The woman that swims with killer whales”.

Steve is a contract cameraman, specializing in underwater filming.  To him, however, it is more than a job to him …. it’s his passion and a venue for him to show the underwater world he loves.


Juan Copello – Researcher, Consultant

Juan Copello looks for orca off the Argentinean coast.  www.pnor.org

Juan lives and conducts most of his research at the famous Punta Norte site, where the orca come onto the beach to take sea lion pups.  He grew up on the farm which is home to these incredible beaches and has observed these orca since he was a child.

Juan also conducts eco-tours to view the orca of Punta Norte.  He and Ingrid have worked together to study the orca in the waters of New Zealand and along the coastline of Argentina for many years now.

Juan periodically returns to New Zealand to assist with orca research and consult with film crews.




Andy Casagrande films wildlife all over the world, including with the Orca Research Trust. www.abc4explore.com

Andy Casagrande films wildlife all over the world, including with the Orca Research Trust.





Andy Casagrande – Film Maker, Cameraman & Consultant

Andy Brandy Casagrande IV aka (ABC4) is a 2 x Emmy Award winning cinematographer, field producer & television presenter specializing in blue-chip wildlife documentaries around the world. His work has included king cobras & killer whales, great whites sharks & polar bears, Andy’s innovative cinematography & unorthodox camera techniques are helping revolutionize the way the world sees & perceives wildlife.  From super-slow motion & thermal-infrared to night-vision & remote-controlled spy-cams, Andy shoots with the most advanced camera technologies on the planet and continues to push the boundaries of wildlife film making to shed new light & perspective into the hidden lives of the planet’s most feared & misunderstood predators. With more than 100 wildlife films credits to his name Andy has shot & produced films for the world’s top television networks including National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, ABC, NBC, CBS, Animal Planet, etc.  He regularly consults with the Orca Research Team and has helped us capture some incredible footage of the orca.

Прежде чем приступать к конкретным действиям — будь то заказ услуг SEO-компании или самостоятельная раскрутка сайта — нужно: определить, чего именно вы хотите достичь и для чего вы начинаете продвижение TopOdin Studio