The programme leader is Dr Foss Leach, Honorary Curator of Archaeozoology at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Foss's professional involvement in archaeology is broad-ranging from aspects of archaeometry (particularly obsidian studies), to culture-history in the Pacific region. The archaeology of fishing has become a special focus of his research interests in recent years. He has carried out excavations in New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands, Kapingamarangi in the Caroline Islands, the Yap Islands, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea.
His approach to archaeology merges the physical and natural sciences with an anthropological focus on prehistoric communities. He has published extensively on New Zealand and Pacific Prehistory, and operates a research fishing boat MV Kaselehlia. This vessel is used for underwater archaeology, benthic survey work, and expeditions for collecting comparative material.
Programme Co-Leader Dr Janet Davidson is Curator (Pacific Collections) at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Janet has carried out excavations in the Society Islands, Nukuoro in the Caroline Islands, Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. She is outspokenly culture-historical in her approach to archaeology, and has published extensively on the prehistory of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Karen Greig was formerly Senior Research Assistant at the Archaeozoology Laboratory, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She is currently employed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as Archaeologist for the Central New Zealand Region. Karen has recently been investigating pre-European and historic period settlement on the Kapiti Coast through a series of archaeological salvage excavations on sites scheduled to be modified by industrial and residential development.
Karen has worked on the Laboratory's ongoing research investigating pre-European Maori and Moriori fishing in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. Her MA thesis was a study of tuna fishing in the tropical Pacific.
Jim Samson is currently Senior Research Assistant at the Archaeozoology Laboratory, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Jim works on the Bridge and Barrier project assisting specifically with research into pre-European subsistence economics in the Cook Strait region.
Jim has worked previously at the Archaeozoology Laboratory in 1996. He is interested in the seasonal scheduling of resource exploitation in pre-European times and is currently completing a doctoral dissertation examining the history of Maori 'curio' collecting in southern New Zealand. Jim is becoming increasingly interested in the history and archaeology of European settlement in the Pacific region.
Dr Ian Smith is the leader of historic archaeological research in Bridge and Barrier. He is Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology Department, University of Otago.
Ian has a particular interest in the archaeology of the historic period in New Zealand, and has recently investigated the first sites of European occupation in New Zealand in remote Fiordland.
Ian is also an authority on pre-European and early historic sea mammal exploitation in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Graham Harris is co-leader of research into experimental gardening of kumara and gathering of fernroot. Graham is a Senior Lecturer in Horticulture and Ethnobotany in the Natural Resources Centre at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Mike Burtenshaw is co-leader of research into experimental gardening of kumara and gathering of fernroot. Mike is also Senior Letcturer in the School of Natural Resources at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Penny Leach is a casual research assistant in the Archaeozoology Laboratory at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She is an expert at metrical analysis of fish bones. Penny is completing a Diploma of Internet Technology at the National College of Design and Technology.
Larry Paul is carrying out research into fish otoliths from archaeological sites being studied in the Bridge and Barrier project.
Larry is a scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). His present research is on stock assessment of school shark, groper, and other fish species, and environmental effects on snapper recruitment and growth. He has published many scientific papers and is the author of several popular works on New Zealand fishes.