NIWA is a Crown Research Institute, established in 1992. It operates as a stand-alone company with its own Board of Directors and Executive.
NIWA's mission is to conduct leading environmental science to enable the sustainable management of natural resources for New Zealand and the planet.
NIWA has working relationships with hundreds of organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Most of NIWA’s revenue is from contestable research funding and commercial consultancy work.
In 2007–08, NIWA’s total revenue, including interest income, was $120.7 million.