About the Challenge

  • Credit: ©John Doogan, All Rights Reserved.

    Credit: ©John Doogan, All Rights Reserved.

The BioHeritage Challenge focuses research happening across Aotearoa New Zealand's land-based and freshwater ecosystems – on the conservation estate and in private ownership – in order to:

  • reverse the decline of biological heritage
  • blend traditional knowledge with modern research
  • reconnect people with nature
  • create thriving ecosystems; and
  • leave a legacy for future generations. 

Leading the Challenge is Dr Andrea Byrom, Manaaki Whenua

Prior to taking up her role as Director in 2015, Andrea managed Manaaki Whenua's Invasive Species research portfolio.

Andrea’s research interests lie in the ecology of multiple invasive mammal species in New Zealand, and their interactive effects on native flora and fauna in tandem with other drivers of global change, such as climate and land-use change.

Background to the Challenge

New Zealand is undertaking a major strategic re-alignment of its science and research activities under 11 large national priority areas - the National Science Challenges. One such Challenge, by popular demand, is New Zealand’s Biological Heritage.

In 2013 the Government mounted a public submission process to ask New Zealanders which areas were most important to them. Environment was highly rated. People value highly New Zealand’s natural, production and urban environments, and appreciate that these environments are vital to our economy, integral to our sense of national identity and well-being, and have invaluable cultural significance. The Challenge encompasses land and freshwater ecosystems, and natural and primary production sectors. A key question is how to improve our environment without any loss of productivity.

The Challenge Mission

“Reverse the decline of New Zealand’s biological heritage, through a national partnership to deliver a step change in research innovation, globally leading technologies and community and sector action.”

This Mission aligns the aspirations of stakeholders, communities, Māori, industry, and scientists. The Challenge, established in 2014, has 18 Parties, who are already doing a huge amount of research towards the Challenge goals. Our job is to bring together and focus all this research.

The Challenge research will focus on assessing our biological heritage, reducing risks and threats, and sustaining and restoring ecosystems.

Our Goals

With our partners we will:

  1. Protect and restore: secure threatened species and resilient ecosystems
  2. Eliminate threats: weeds, pests, mammal predators, and pathogens
  3. Detect and eradicate: zero impacts from biosecurity incursions
  4. Restore healthy freshwater: wai taonga and mahinga kai
  5. Track our progress: a bioheritage scorecard for Aotearoa

Highlights 2017

Read about progress being made toward finding science-based solutions to enhance and restore Aotearoa’s natural and primary production environments in the BioHeritage Challenge’s 2017 Highlights report.

The report outlines each of the goals and is packed full of case studies that showcase Challenge progress. See how researchers are working in partnership with Māori to deepen understanding of what species we have, and to find ways of dealing with environmental threats including pest mammals and insects, weeds, pathogens and climate change. Development of modern molecular tools, and new options for data sharing and integration, feature highly in the report.

Our Strategy

What is the the Challenge going to look like in the future? We are currently running a consultation…

Parties & Affiliates

Hosted by Crown Research Institute, Landcare Research, New Zealand’s Biological Heritage is a partnership between 17 organisations –…

Our People

The Challenge is supported and guided by the Governance Group and Science Leadership Group along with three advisory…

Vision Mātauranga

Mātauranga Māori is a strategic priority for New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. The Challenge acknowledges its…

Our Values

We worked with our Kāhui Māori to identify the values that have become a part of our Challenge…

For more information, email Challenge support