Having a volcano in his 'backyard' has led to a Stratford man completing a PhD in geology and volcanology.
Dr Shane Rooyakkers, 28, completed his doctorate at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in April last year.
Shane says he has always been interested in volcanoes.
"I always liked science and the natural world, and I became very interested in geology when I was quite young. I was 13 when I decided I wanted to be a volcanologist."
He says fond memories of his childhood include being a member of the Youth Council and climbing Mount Taranaki.
"I've climbed the mountain a number of times. I always loved going up the mountain, Stratford is so lucky to have it in its backyard."
Shane says he enjoyed being a member of the Stratford District Youth Council.
"It was a great experience that introduced me to loads of awesome people and helped me to develop lots of useful skills, but we also had lots of fun. I have many great memories from that."
Shane attended St Joseph's school in Stratford and then went to Francais Douglas Memorial College, receiving Dux in 2009.
In 2010 Shane went to Victoria University in Wellington, studying a bachelor of science majoring in geology and geophysics which he completed in 2013.
He continued his studies and completed a master of science in volcanology. Shane graduated with first class honours in geology from Victoria University. He left for Montreal in Canada in 2015, where he attended McGill University.
All up, Shane has spent 10 years at university, with his PhD taking four and half years to complete.
"I wanted the experience of living abroad for a while and making new connections with researchers outside of New Zealand."
His PhD was focused on a volcano in Iceland called Krafla.
"There is a big geothermal power station right in the middle of the volcanic area, and a few years back they were drilling for steam to generate electricity when they unexpectedly drilled into a very shallow body of magma. It turned out to be a type of magma called rhyolite, which is not very common in Iceland but can be very explosive."
His work focused on looking past rhyolite eruptions at Krafla to understand how the magma is produced and stored inside the volcano and how it has previously erupted.
"This helps to get a better understanding of the active system and what a future rhyolite eruption at Krafla might look like. This involved a combination of fieldwork to look at the deposits of past eruptions, and work in the lab to look at the chemistry of the material ejected from the volcano in order to reconstruct what was happening inside the volcano in the build-up to eruptions."
He says one of the highlights of his research for the PhD was discovering the magma body that was accidentally drilled into had previously erupted about 300 years ago.
"It has been sitting quietly inside the volcano since that time. Volcanologists now think this magma body might erupt again sometime in the future, and could do so with very little warning. We are now working to understand what warning signals we might expect and how likely a future eruption is.
"Many thousands of tourists visit Krafla every year and the power station is right in the middle of the volcano, so even a small explosive eruption could be quite devastating."
Shane is back in New Zealand working on an outreach blog to explain volcano science to a general audience.
"I've started it off by going through and explaining my PhD research, and once I've finished that I'm planning to continue with some posts about New Zealand volcanoes and eruptions, including Mount Taranaki."