Port partners come together to watch for pests

Port partners come together to watch for pests

A biosecurity excellence programme runs year-round at the port, and to coincide with the Symposium and Grower Day, there were morning teas on offer as a team comprised of Port of Tauranga, Biosecurity New Zealand and KVH staff visited smoko huts and staffrooms to chat to frontline staff about their work and how they identify and report potential biosecurity threats.

Over two days there were visits to busy staffrooms on both the Mount and Sulphur Point sides of the Port, full of passionate people who know biosecurity is a critical issue that can affect everyone in the community. Resources that help identify pests – including the annual pest calendar and ID posters – were distributed, and staff were given the results of AgResearch’s biosecurity awareness surveys last year, which many of them took part in.

As a result of positive feedback from the staffroom visits this year new mobile biosecurity kits will be placed in staffrooms across the Port so that staff can more easily and quickly catch and report anything unusual that they may spot while working.

Social scientists will return next year to do more surveys and monitor the change in biosecurity awareness amongst Port staff, as well as the usefulness of tools such as education materials and the mobile kits.

At the end of the week, 30 people from companies who are involved in Port of Tauranga operations (mostly transitional facilities, who are responsible for inspecting and clearing goods) joined an exclusive Vessel to Vine coach tour hosted by the Port, KVH and Biosecurity New Zealand to showcase how the Port, local kiwifruit industry, community and economy are connected and how we can all keep working together to protect these taonga from unwanted pests and diseases.

After a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mount and Sulphur Point sides of the Port, the group headed to Te Puke for tours of a kiwifruit and avocado orchard, and heard about the importance of on-orchard biosecurity practices to growers so that they can protect their businesses. The impact of an incursion to Te Puke and local orchards really hit home while standing under the vines. James Trevelyan from Trevelyan’s pack-house was on-hand to talk about the financial impact of Psa to his business and his growers before the group moved to the pack-house for a tour of the facility and to meet some of the many staff.

The coach tour was a great success, with attendees saying they have a much greater appreciation for the scale of potential impacts from a biosecurity incursion, and most importantly, that they have a major role at the Port/border to keep unwanted threats from making their way into the Tauranga Moana environment and our orchards.