The Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Symposium 2023

Generational change: Working together to strengthen biosecurity for generations to come

Over 150 biosecurity champions converged upon Mercury Baypark Arena on the last day of Winter to share, engage and learn at the 2023 Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Symposium. The day launched with a mihi whakatau and karakia lead by mana whenua representing Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapahore and continued with an entertaining introduction from facilitator, Pip Loader.

Keynote speaker, Nicola Toki from Forest and Bird shared her thoughts about Biodiversity and Biosecurity with a memorable message that ‘we are the voice of nature’ and really set the scene with a vision of a world where nature flourishes. This set the scene for some great learning throughout the morning showcasing a variety of community initiatives working to protect ‘what we love’. From Lynmore Primary’s award-winning predator control programme to the pest-free Howick award winner Ethan McCormick, the diversity of the session was tied up perfectly by House of Science Director, Chris Duggan.

Co-governance is a core value for TMBC so understanding the intergenerational approach of Māori was an important session with learning about the role of time shared by Waitangi Wood (Ngatirua) and Carlton Bidois (Co-Chair TMBC). A busy morning was closed by Stu Hutchins sharing a strategic update from Biosecurity NZ.

Before an incredible lunch (thanks to the organisational skills of Lisa Cowan!), the dynamic presentation by, Andrew Robinson (Chief Executive Officer, CEBRA and Professor of Biosecurity) explored the eradication of Med Fly in 1907 as a case study for incursions today.

Abigail from the Find-a-Pest project eased everyone into the afternoon with a bit of fun and the next session took a local and scientific focus including information about the Tauira Mahi cadet programme, Kaimai Kaponga, eDNA as a tool for listening to nature and RNA for targeted pest control.

Climate Change is highly topical with natural disasters seemingly a weekly occurrence globally and the late afternoon session gave insight into the impact of weather on biosecurity shared by Nava Fedaeff and Graeme Inglis from NIWA and a local view on the impact climate has on pest control and forestry.

Deputy Director-General for Biosecurity NZ, Stuart Anderson closed off a very full day with a great review and insight of the collective learnings ending the 2023 TMBC Biosecurity Excellence Symposium for another year.