Pioneering meteorologist who helped discover the hole in the ozone layer

Born in Hungary, Elizabeth Farkas emigrated to New Zealand in 1949 as a refugee after the end of World War II.

Before leaving Europe, she had graduated with a degree as a mathematics and physics teacher at the Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Budapest. She later completed a MSc Degree in Physics at Wellington's Victoria University as her qualifications from Europe weren't recognised in New Zealand.

Farkas then worked as a meteorologist in the research section of the New Zealand Meteorological Service, specialising in the area of ozone monitoring for about 35 years.

During that tenure she became the first female MetService staff member and first Hungarian woman to set foot in Antarctica.


Working in a male-dominated field at the time, Farkas' work was instrumental in the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer.

In 1986 she became the first woman to be awarded the New Zealand MetService Henry Hill Award. Two years later she was honoured at the Quadrennial Ozone Symposium in Germany for her three decades' worth of work on ozone research.