Sunday, May 19, 2024

Biosecurity champions honoured

Two New Zealanders who have used their unique skills to help fight the exotic caulerpa seaweed were named as this year’s Biosecurity Awards Supreme Winners overnight.

Biosecurity Minister, Andrew Hoggard said strong biosecurity was vital and underpinned the whole New Zealand economy and the nation’s native flora and fauna.

These awards celebrate all those in New Zealand who protect our biosecurity, he said.

Arana (Rana) Rewha and Viki Heta (Ngā Hāpu o Te Rāwhiti and Ngāti Kuta rāua Ko Patukeha) last night received this year’s supreme award for their outstanding work in biosecurity.

“Rana’s in-depth knowledge of local ocean currents and hydrology is helping response teams to identify and target their efforts to prevent further spread of this destructive seaweed in Northland Te Tai Tokerau,” said Minister Hoggard.

“Viki is pulling together the local community to respond to Caulerpa, which includes leading hui to ensure hapū and the Russell community remain up to date on response efforts.

“Rana and Viki are also championing the eradication of Sika deer in Russell Forest and Ngaiotonga Scenic Reserve. This has led to a 20-year forest health plan to restore the health and biodiversity of the area.

“The New Zealand Biosecurity Awards celebrate inspiring and diverse biosecurity champions who are making significant contributions to biosecurity in New Zealand.”

Mr Hoggard also announced Dr Brian Richardson as the winner of this year’s Minister’s Biosecurity Award.

“The Minister’s Biosecurity Award recognises an individual, group or organisation that has contributed at least 10 years of continuous and outstanding service to biosecurity in New Zealand.”

“Dr Richardson is an internationally recognised expert in forest vegetation management who has championed forest protection over nearly four decades.

“He has made significant contributions to New Zealand’s biosecurity responses, weed science, and research into aerial pesticide applications, and he is also passionate about the role science can play in protecting New Zealand’s native flora.”

Mr Hoggard says this year’s finalists and winners represent a high calibre of New Zealanders who are leading efforts to protect our way of life and our unique environment for future generations.

“Our finalists and winners are undertaking groundbreaking science, research, and innovation and inspiring new generations of biosecurity champions.”

“Their work is preserving and restoring New Zealand’s landscapes, empowering local community groups, fostering innovation, improving pest management practices, and boosting awareness and understanding of biosecurity throughout New Zealand.

“I’d like to congratulate to all our winners and finalists in this year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards and thank them for their ongoing commitment to biosecurity and their communities,” he said.

The full list of New Zealand Biosecurity Award winners is available at Ko Tātou This is Us | NZ Biosecurity Awards – 2024 finalists.

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