Matt Blacka

Matt Blacka

Adjunct Senior Lecturer
UNSW Water Research Laboratory
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Matt is Chartered Professional Engineer (Civil, Environmental), and is currently based on the island of Rarotonga where he is leading a large-scale, multi-agency program focused on enhancing climate and ocean services and establishing early warning systems for the Cook Islands.

For the past 17 years he has led projects in the fields of coastal processes and hazards, estuary processes, coastal structures and coastal climate change adaptation. His projects in these areas include engineering design, vulnerability assessment, management planning, physical modelling, field data collection and monitoring. Matt’s work extends throughout the east coast of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He holds a Master of Engineering Science with specialisation in Coastal Engineering and Management, and a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) with first class honours in Coastal Engineering. 

Matt’s qualifications in Civil Engineering combined with his passion for the natural coastal environment allow him to bring a balanced approach to his work in the areas of coastal management and coastal protection. His experience provides a wealth of knowledge on the use and mis-use of coastal protection systems, and the impacts of coastal management works on the environment. Matt’s expertise in coastal and maritime structures extends to include physical modelling, wave loading assessments, design, condition assessments and analysis of environmental impacts from coastal protection works. Matt regularly leads desktop and field investigations in these areas, and he has many years of practical experience undertaking environmental data collection in the coastal zone.

In the past decade Matt’s work has focussed on coastal processes and hazards for reef-fringed Pacific Islands. His work in the Pacific region includes analysis of waves, storm surge and hydrodynamic processes, assessment of coastal hazard risks for island communities, as well as planning and adaptation of infrastructure in the coastal zone. Matt spends large amounts of time deployed within the region, with a focus on field investigations and close engagement with regional organisations, government agencies and communities of Pacific Island Countries.

Matt is an active member of the Australia/Pacific Islands coastal engineering profession, regularly publishing work in technical conferences and presenting in industry forums. He is a corresponding committee member and former secretary of the Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean and Port Engineering Panel and a member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (Oceania).


0438 812 978, 0011 682 73804