Professor Kim Natasha Dirks

BSc, MSc (1st Hons), PhD


Kim completed a BSc degree in Physics and Meteorology at McGill University in Canada before moving to New Zealand to complete both an MSc and PhD in Physics and Environmental Science at the University of Auckland.

Her research focusses on the ways in which urban civil infrastructure impact on the health and wellbeing of urban residents, in particular on air pollution and noise from road transport.  In air pollution, her work includes the measurement of human exposure using portable sensors, the modelling of air pollution levels in response to changes in local meteorology and transport infrastructure, and the uptake of pollutants in the body through analysis of biomarkers.  In the area of noise, her research focusses on the impact of road traffic and community annoyance, as well as the role of urban greenspace in promoting community health and wellbeing.

Research | Current

Research interests

  • Liveable cities
  • Urban air pollution exposure
  • Environmental noise exposure
  • Urban green space
  • Road transport infrastructure

Teaching | Current

  • ENGGEN 769 - Research Methods for Engineers
  • ENVENG 200  - Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
  • CIVIL 706 - Water Sensitive Cities

Postgraduate supervision


  • PhD: Danial Jahanshahi - Civil Engineering (with S Costello)
  • PhD: Isra Abdulhalim  - Civil Engnieering (with R. Amor)
  • PhD :Ganani Senanayake - Civil Engineering (with M. Kieu)
  • PhD: Nipuni Wimalasena - Civil Engineering (with A. Chang-Richards and K. I-K. Wang)
  • PhD: Ma Katrina Raneses - Civil Engineering (with A. Chang-Richards and K. I-K. Wang)
  • PhD: Fengxuan Liu - Civil Engineering (with with A. Chang-Richards and K. I-K. Wang)
  • PhD: Na Zhou - Civil Engineering (wtih A. Chang-Richards and K. I.-K. Wang)
  • PhD: Natalie Porter - Mechanical Engineering (with P. Dhopade)
  • PhD: Jiana Wu - Audiology (with D. Welch)
  • PhD: Wendy Fan - Environemntal Science (with J. Salmond)
  • PhD: Hannah Marley - Environmental Science (with J. Salmond)
  • PhD: Hamesh Patel - Environmental Science (with J. Salmond and D.Williams)


  • Sustained Excellence in Teaching - UoA
  • Butland Award of Sustained Excellence in Teaching  - Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences - UoA


Editorial Board Membership:

  • Frontiers in Sustainable Cities: Health and Cities (Associate Editor)
  • Elsevier - City and Environment Interactions: Climate, Sustainability and Resilience

Areas of expertise

Air pollution

Environmental noise

Urban design


Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • University Academic Staffing Committee  (UASC) Member
  • Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries (CAI) - UASC Representative
  • Faculty of Science - UASC Representative 
  • New Zealand Universities Women in Leadership Programme - Member of Steering Group

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Patel, H., Talbot, N., Salmond, J., Dirks, K., Xie, S., & Davy, P. (2020). Implications for air quality management of changes in air quality during lockdown in Auckland (New Zealand) in response to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The Science of the total environment, 74610.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141129
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jennifer Salmond, Hamesh Patel
  • Brook, M. S., Black, P. M., Salmond, J., Dirks, K. N., Berry, T.-A., & Steinhorn, G. (2020). Erionite in Auckland bedrock and malignant mesothelioma: an emerging public and occupational health hazard?. New Zealand Medical Journal, 133 (1518), 73-78. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin Brook, Jennifer Salmond
  • Dirks, K. N., Chester, A., Salmond, J. A., Talbot, N., Thornley, S., & Davy, P. (2020). Arsenic in Hair as a Marker of Exposure to Smoke from the Burning of Treated Wood in Domestic Wood Burners. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17 (11).10.3390/ijerph17113944
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Thornley, Jennifer Salmond
  • Adhikari, B., Mishra, S. R., & Dirks, K. N. (2020). Green space, health, and wellbeing: considerations for South Asia. The Lancet. Planetary health, 4 (4), e135-e136. 10.1016/s2542-5196(20)30056-5
  • McBride, D., Lovelock, K., Shepherd, D., Dirks, K., & Welch, D. (2020). Epidemiology in the Community: A Cross-Sectional Study of a Community Living Through a Waste Remediation Project in Rural New Zealand. London, UK: SAGE Publications. 10.4135/9781529730777
  • Shepherd, D., Welch, D., McBride, D., & Dirks, K. N. (2020). Health-Related Quality of Life across a Variety of Community Contexts. International Journal of Community Well-Being, online first10.1007/s42413-020-00076-5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Welch
  • Brook, M., Black, P. M., Salmond, J., Dirks, K. N., Berry, T.-A., & Steinhorn, G. (2019). Exposure to erionite: health effects and implications for geotechnical risk management in the New Zealand construction sector. New Zealand Geomechanics News, 98, 78-81. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin Brook, Jennifer Salmond
  • Brook, M., Berry, T.-A., Black, P., Dirks, K., Salmond, J., Steinhorn, G., ... Patel, J. (2019). Zeolitic erionite in the Auckland region and implications for tunnelling and excavations. Paper presented at Geosciences 2019, Hamilton, New Zealand. 28 November - 1 December 2019. Geoscience Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin Brook, Jennifer Salmond


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 11, Room 1107
New Zealand

Web links