The winners of the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards, announced last night at a ceremony in Wellington, represent some of Aotearoa's most outstanding efforts to protect our unique environment from pests and diseases.
The awards recognise organisations, volunteers, businesses, iwi, hapū, government, and tamariki around the country who are contributing to biosecurity – in our bush, our oceans and waterways, and in our backyards.
Taking out top honours with the supreme award was Miraka, a Taupō-based dairy company that has created an extensive course educating their suppliers about biosecurity risks in the dairy industry from cow to bottle.
The winners include people at the forefront of a wide variety of exceptional and innovative biosecurity-related projects, from those who have been trapping possums to protect our native birds, to learning about marine pests.
"This mahi is fundamental to keeping our biosecurity system strong, and every day they are putting in the hard yards to ensure we continue to have a world-leading biosecurity system," said head of Biosecurity New Zealand, Penny Nelson.
"These awards give us a chance to take a moment and honour the important achievements happening within our biosecurity system by individuals and organisations from all over New Zealand," she said.
This year's awards recognised more Kiwi kids taking part in biosecurity with the addition of the Kura (school) Award.
The new Kura Award went to St Paul's Collegiate School in Hamilton for their agribusiness programme, which focuses on biosecurity in the primary sector and where pupils learn about the Queensland fruit fly, and Mycoplasma bovis.
Judging panel chair Dr John Hellstrom said the judges are always fascinated by the innovation displayed by each entry.
"We've had an outstanding number of entries this year, and the number of entries is growing each year which is fantastic to see.
"It takes all of us to protect what we've got, and these people have taken protecting New Zealand into their own hands, for the benefit of everyone," said Dr Hellstrom.
New Zealand Biosecurity Awards' winners
Department of Conservation Community Pihinga Award for new projects/initiatives
- New Zealand Marine Studies Centre of Dunedin – Marine Meter Squared (Mm2): a nationwide citizen science project encouraging the public to gather information about biodiversity.
Department of Conservation Community Kahiwi Award for established projects/initiatives
- Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust of Taranaki – ambition and determination of the community to create and sustain a pest-free sanctuary.
Te Tira Whakamātaki Māori Award
- Te Rawhiti 3B2 Ahu Whenua Trust of Northland – pest control and assisting with native bird relocations in the Bay of Islands.
Kura (School) Award.
- St Paul's Collegiate School of Hamilton – understanding biosecurity future-proofing strategies in New Zealand secondary schools.
GIA Industry Award and New Zealand Biosecurity Supreme Award
- Miraka of Taupō – Te Ara Miraka: achieving enhanced biosecurity awareness and culture change on-farm.
Eagle Technology Local and Central Government Award
- Dr Mary van Andel, MPI, Wellington – strategic leadership for Mycoplasma bovis and COVID-19 responses.
Bio-Protection Research Centre Science Award
- Onside, of Christchurch – network technology to inform risk-based testing, eradicating biosecurity incursions in the food and fibre sector.
Mondiale Innovation Award
- Groundtruth Ltd of Te Awamutu – Trap.nz, a leading software solution, now the largest trapping database in the country, for pest management and outcome monitoring in New Zealand.
AsureQuality Emerging Leader Award
- Thomas (Tame) Malcolm of Te Tira Whakamātaki and Te Arawa Waka – more than a decade's experience and commitment to environmental management roles across the country.
Minister's Biosecurity Award
- Linda Peacock of Kiwifruit Vine Health in Mount Maunganui – worked collaboratively with growers and technical teams for more than 30 years from all growing regions.
- New Zealand kiwifruit industry for outstanding commitment to biosecurity.