Scientist’s significant biosecurity contribution awarded


13-11-2018 10:00 am

A leading scientist’s significant contribution to biosecurity in Aotearoa has been acknowledged with a New Zealand Biosecurity Award.

Dr Amanda Black, a Principal Investigator within the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University, has been awarded this year’s New Zealand Biosecurity AsureQuality Emerging Leader Award.

The Award highlights an-up-and-coming leader making an important impact in biosecurity. Dr Black, who has been working in the biosecurity space for the past two years, was surprised and honoured to be named the 2018 Emerging Leader.

“To be acknowledged among many worthy candidates is humbling. These awards emphasise the issues we face within biosecurity and recognise those working to address them,” Dr Black said.

Originally from Whakatane and of Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, and Whānau-ā-Apanui descent, Dr Black has been described as a voice for nature with a keen focus on improving our country’s biosecurity systems.

“Like climate change, biosecurity impacts us at every level, from our livelihoods to biodiversity, health and wellbeing, and cultural identity. As an island nation, we are more vulnerable to these impacts because of our unique environment and culture,” Dr Black said.

It’s Dr Black’s strengths from both a scientific and cultural perspective that has helped her to become highly regarded and enabled her to work across many different projects and roles.

Dr Black’s research expertise is environmental soil and water biogeochemistry, focusing on soil health. Her recent research focused on ecosystem resilience, forest health and tree dieback, with a particular emphasis on investigating disease resistant traits.

As well as being a Principal Investigator, she’s a founding and executive member of Te Tira Whakamātaki, the Māori Biosecurity Network, and she’s been a key liaison with Māori within the biosecurity space working for Te Kawerau a Maki (iwi within the Auckland region) and Te Roroa (the people of the Waipoua Forest).

“My passion is in contributing to positive outcomes for biosecurity in New Zealand. I’m involved in a number of biosecurity projects, but helping save our forests is probably one tangible and positive thing I can put my skills towards - especially kauri dieback,” Dr Black said.

As with all genuinely inspirational leaders, Dr Black’s motivation is outwardly focused and her sense of pride is in the dedication of those around her.

“I’m motivated by the people on the ground and communities, whānau and hapū who are actively working to protect the land out of a sense of duty and love. I’m also inspired by the students who come through my office door wanting to make a difference and knowing that they can - their outlook and optimism is refreshing,” Dr Black said.

To find out more about the awards, visit