Winners of 10 awards were celebrated at the 2019 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards, with the supreme award going to Te Arawa Lakes Trust for Te Arawa Catfish Killas.
The annual awards celebrate people across New Zealand who are contributing to biosecurity – in our communities, businesses, iwi and hapū, government, in the bush, our oceans and waterways, and in our backyards.
Biosecurity New Zealand Supreme Award and the New Zealand Biosecurity Department of Conservation Community Pihinga Award (for new initiatives/projects)
Te Arawa Lakes Trust
Project: Te Arawa Catfish Killas
Te Arawa Catfish Killas is a pest management initiative led by Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC).
The initiative started in November 2018 in response to the 2016 incursion of catfish in Lake Rotoiti; one of the ancestral lakes of Te Arawa and under the mana whakahaere of TALT.
The response has now moved to long-term management with the establishment of catfish in Lake Rotorua.
Te Arawa Catfish Killas is a collaboration of one TALT staff member, multiple contractors and countless volunteers and hungaitiaki. They manage the catfish population with the use of fyke nets.
In addition, the Te Arawa Catfish Killas has worked to increase awareness of the threats posed by catfish and supported an increase in biosecurity practices to prevent the spread and establishment of catfish.
Te Arawa Catfish Killas is a great example of a biosecurity initiative using a Te Ao Māori approach to a contemporary issue.
Guided by tikanga and mātauranga, this initiative is a testament to true collaboration between mana whenua and local and central government.
Minister's Biosecurity Award
David Cade, commonly known as ‘Didymo Dave’, is a passionate and long-standing champion and volunteer for freshwater biosecurity, pest control and conservation; and a tireless promoter of the Check, Clean, Dry campaign to stop the transfer of freshwater pests and prevent the introduction of new ones.
Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said, "David is a very worthy winner of this award – he has led from the grass roots.
“He’s widely known for being a passionate and long-standing champion and volunteer for freshwater biosecurity, pest control and conservation. He is a tireless promoter of the Check, Clean, Dry campaign to stop the transfer of freshwater pests and prevent the introduction of new ones," O'Connor said.
“David truly illustrates the impact a passionate person can have in making a difference for biosecurity in New Zealand."
Minister O’Connor was engaged in trade talks in Thailand so Forestry Minister Shane Jones presented the award on his behalf.
Department of Conservation Community Kahiwi Award for established projects/initiatives
Te Roroa Commercial Development Company
Project: Kauri Dieback Response Plan
"Ko au te ngahere, Ko te ngahere ko au, I am the forest and the forest is me."
This statement underpins the cultural and historic relationship connection Te Iwi o Te Roroa has with the Ngahere o Waipoua (Waipoua Forest) and is born from its concern, passion and deep-rooted responsibility they feel for the forest.
Te Roroa has shown outstanding leadership in response to the presence of kauri dieback being located close to Tane Mahuta in the forest. Being the kaitiaki of Waipoua ngahere, Te Roroa acted to provide leadership and advocate for a multi-agency approach to respond to this threat.
This threat lead Te Roroa to:
- develop a response plan to undertake biosecurity measures to mitigate further spread of the disease; and
- develop longer-term goals and objectives across the wider forest through implementation of the plan.
This required collaboration, co-ordination and approval of several stakeholders at a time when quick and critical decisions were required.
Te Roroa, being at the forefront of the plan’s development, implemented much of the workstreams resulting from the plan, and continue to lead the biosecurity on and around kauri dieback.
Te Puni Kōkiri Māori Award
Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust
Project: Tiaki Manaakitia te Tangata, Tiaki Manaakitia te Taiao
More than 20 years ago, the Ngāti Hauā Mahi Trust was established by Ngāti Hauā kaumātua of the five marae within Ngāti Hauā at the time to bring iwi, church and community together.
Their kaumatua knew that Māori needed to work in partnership to have any chance of creating change for their people and making a difference for their precious environment.
In 2012, the Trust re-emerged with a vision: “Tiaki manaakitia te tangata, Tiaki manaakitia te Taiao” – ”Looking after our people, Looking after the environment”.
As a ‘flax roots’ organisation, the Trust began in 2012 with a passion to make a difference within the Ngāti Hauā rohe, with a vision of growing native plants and securing sustainable long-term funding.
To achieve biosecurity needs, the eco-sourced native plants need to thrive, which has highlighted the need for all employed to be competent in working within two worlds – Matauranga Māori and Matauranga Pakeha.
The Trust employs 12 kaitiaki who are leading environmentalists.
Its wetland restoration and riparian planting on culturally significant catchments – such as the Karapiro, Mangaonua, and Mangaone – feed directly into our awa tipuna ‘Waikato’.
GIA Industry Award
Livestock Improvement Corporation
Project: Helping to protect the national herd from Mycoplasma bovis
When Mycoplasma bovis was confirmed in New Zealand in July 2017, LIC rapidly instigated a massive, company-wide biosecurity response.
New Zealand dairy farmers rely on LIC’s artificial breeding programme to get cows in calf every season. LIC felt that if they failed to eliminate the risk of spreading M. bovis, they would fail New Zealand dairy farmers.
In the past 18 months, LIC has implemented a comprehensive testing regime for its bulls and introduced rigorous MPI-approved, biosecurity protocols across all its business operations.
They partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries at farmer meetings to help address questions and invented a method of tonsil swabbing live animals. Tonsils are the most reliable place to detect M. bovis in the head of an animal prior to bacteria entering the bloodstream. They performed the test on all their bull calves, along with blood testing.
They overturned its business as usual to implement a stringent daily semen testing regime with results confirmed before any semen was dispatched. M. bovis has not been detected in any sample.
As New Zealand continues to grapple with M. bovis, LIC continues to support dairy farmers, protecting the reputation and value of the New Zealand dairy industry through effective, workable, best practice in biosecurity.
Eagle Technology Local and Central Government Award
Project: Auckland Council's Island Biosecurity Team
Auckland Council’s Island Biosecurity team is responsible for protecting the natural and ecological values of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The Gulf is nationally significant for seabird, terrestrial and marine values, and its pest-free islands contribute to many national conservation goals.
These islands provide defendable refugia for vulnerable native biodiversity against invasive species, with generally less pests and higher biosecurity values than the mainland and a natural water barrier to help prevent pest incursions.
The Island Biosecurity team protects these valuable islands through the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice, advocacy and partnerships.
Two primary initiatives are carried out in partnership with the Department of Conservation.
The first of these initiatives – Pest Free Warrants, seeks to regulate commercial operators in the Hauraki Gulf, particularly those going to pest-free islands. These operators’ access to pest-free islands is restricted unless they qualify for a warrant by meeting biosecurity standards.
The second initiative – Pest Free Hauraki Gulf (formerly Treasure Islands), seeks to work towards and maintain the existing pest-free status of Gulf islands by preventing spread and establishment; and controlling, eradicating and promoting public awareness of the threat of rodents, mustelids, possums, Argentine ants, pigs, plague skinks and certain weed species.
Bio-Protection Research Centre Science Award
Myrtle Rust Research Consortium
Project: Ngā taonga - Safeguarding the mauri of myrtles and dependent ecosystems
The Myrtle Rust Research Consortium outlined an integrated and rapid research response to myrtle rust.
Myrtle rust (caused by Austropuccinia psidii) was found for the first time in New Zealand in March 2017. The disease has devastated ecosystems in Australia and impacts for New Zealand could be similar if there is no intervention.
Since the incursion in Australia, New Zealand’s government and science groups had been developing readiness. When the pathogen was detected here, a response was initiated.
Within a short period of time, a comprehensive research programme was assembled and commissioned through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
As a group, government (MPI, Department of Conservation, MBIE), the science community, iwi, industry stakeholders and other key organisations worked together via workshops, interactive research networks and a Myrtle Rust Strategic Science Advisory Group to design and undertake high-quality research, delivering tools and knowledge to safeguard New Zealand’s taonga (treasured) species and at-risk ecosystems.
Research was targeted to resolve fundamental questions about myrtle rust biology and how this disease affects myrtaceous hosts in the New Zealand environment.
Outcomes have addressed Te Ao Māori perspectives, building effective community engagement and social license, and identifying methods to survey, treat and control.
Mondiale Innovation Award
Automotive Technologies Ltd
Project: Heat treatment
Automotive Technologies Limited (ATL) is a Japan-based, New Zealand-owned biosecurity inspection and treatment company dedicated to providing the highest level of biosecurity protection for New Zealand.
After the 2018 brown marmorated stink bug issues on vehicles from Japan, ATL set about designing and building its own specialised heat treatment facilities designed specifically for the effective heat treatment of vehicles.
It completely designed its heat treatment system from scratch. It built and tested multiple versions, overcame issues and improved its design until its was completely happy with its design and functionality.
The project started in April 2018 and all sites were operational within just five months, successfully running throughout the 2018/2019 season.
Innovation played a huge part in the setup of ATL’s heat treatment system. There are no off the shelf heat treatment chambers available in the marketplace specifically designed for the heat treatment of vehicles to kill insects.
While paint drying rooms and kiln units would have done the job, as they were not specifically designed for the heat treatment of vehicles ATL felt that the risk to New Zealand was too high.
To get the best results and fully understand its systems, ATL decided that a fully customised solution was best. Working to a very short time frame, ATL was able to fully design and implement its own heat treatment systems.
AsureQuality Emerging Leader Award
Northland Regional Council
Kane is an outstanding young man who, over the last nine years, has fully utilised his farming background and formal environmental education to forge sustainable community and iwi-led biosecurity programmes and help turn the tide on dwindling kiwi populations across Northland.
His training includes gaining a bachelor’s degree in applied environmental science and a marine science diploma. He has had previous employment with Auckland Council open sanctuaries and has assisted with pest incursions and farm management. He currently leads a major programme of pest management within Northland Regional Council.
Kane demonstrates great leadership skills and has the ability to realise the potential of others around him in an engaging and positive way. These leadership qualities transfer to his ability to work successfully with communities.