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Tracking pests from space wins big at Biosecurity Awards


21 March 2022

A space-based biosecurity project has taken out the Supreme Award in the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. This year saw an impressive group of biosecurity finalists and category winners, narrowed down from the largest number of entries in the awards history.

Xerra Earth Observation Institute won both the Mondiale VGL Innovation Award and the GIA Industry Award before taking out top honours for their biosecurity project tracking marine pests using satellite data named ‘Starboard - Maritime intelligence to help protect Aotearoa from pests via international shipping’.

Deputy Director General of Biosecurity New Zealand, Stuart Anderson says, “These are everyday New Zealanders who are stepping up to do something to protect and preserve our environment, primary industries and way of life. They have a strong vision and are the backbone of our world-leading biosecurity system.”

“These awards give us a chance to take a moment and honour their important achievements. Without them many of our local areas would be inundated with unwanted animals and plants, like possums or wilding pines, or hitchhiking marine pests. We’re proud to celebrate the organisations, iwi, and tamariki around the country playing a crucial part to protect our bush, our oceans and waterways, and our backyards.”

The ten award winners represent some of Aotearoa’s most outstanding efforts to protect our unique environment from pests and diseases. They include people at the forefront of exceptional intensive biosecurity-related projects, committed communities trapping together to save the endangered Whio (blue duck), and multi-year projects with committed tamariki removing catfish from lakes and eradicating rats.

Judging panel Chair Dr Ed Massey said the judges were impressed by the passion and innovation displayed in the entries.

“2021 was the Awards’ fifth year and the panel found it challenging to judge because the quality was so high.
It is so heartening and inspiring to see the huge efforts going on across Aotearoa to protect what we love from pests and diseases.”

“It takes all of us to protect what we’ve got, and the people behind these incredible biosecurity projects are showing us all how it’s done, and how we can all play a part.”

Find out more about the winners and the awards