A national Māori Biosecurity Network led by researchers at Lincoln University has been recognised in the inaugural New Zealand Biosecurity Awards.
Te Tira Whakamātaki meaning ‘the watchful ones’, was awarded the top prize in the Māori category. The Biosecurity Awards, presented at Parliament on 2 August, celebrate those who are making important contributions to New Zealand’s biosecurity.
“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister and crucial in protecting our economy and way of life. These awards recognise that it is a shared responsibility for all New Zealanders, and celebrate the efforts of people who are doing their bit for biosecurity every day,” s Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy said.
Te Tira Whakamātaki’s founders, Melanie Mark-Shadbolt and Dr Amanda Black from Lincoln University and Dr Nick Waipara from Auckland Council, set up the network to ensure Māori have a voice in New Zealand’s biosecurity system, and to integrate Māori perspectives and solutions into biosecurity research.
“The Award shows that our work is being noticed, and highlights the vital role of an inclusive biosecurity system that is robust, resilient and representative of the country as a whole,” said Melanie Mark-Shadbolt.
“I would really like to thank iwi and Māori katoa for supporting the kaupapa, and Haami Piripi for supporting our mahi.”
The Network’s Chair Glenice Paine was delighted that the team’s hard work over the last three years has been recognised.
“A biosecurity system that can better reflect Māori knowledge, culture and perspectives is what we are ultimately aiming for,” she said.
Te Tira Whakamātaki’s team are involved with North Island communities dealing with myrtle rust. They provide reliable information for iwi throughout the country and also consult on current and future biosecurity threats, such as kauri dieback, brown marmorated stink bug and the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.
“By harnessing the contribution, skills and views of Māori, who have the longest memory of our environment and ecosystems, Te Tira Whakamātaki are helping to ensure New Zealand has the best biosecurity system, and we fully support that,” Bio-Protection Research Centre Director Professor Glare said.
The Network is supported by the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, the Bio-Protection Research Centre and Plant & Food Research.
Caption: Dr John Hellstrom (judge), left, Director-General Ministry for Primary Industries, Martyn Dunne Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Glenice Paine, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy Photo Credit: Hayley Benoit, Ministry for Primary Industries.