eNewsletter Issue 20, July 2018

Update from Director Dr Andrea Byrom

On Monday, we ticked off a major milestone in the Challenge: we submitted our Future Strategy to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. We landed the Strategy after an extensive period of consultation that began in the second half of 2017. It’s felt a bit like running a marathon – not that I’ve actually ever done that!

A fundamental theme during our consultations was that the Challenge should focus on delivering impact for New Zealand through larger, more integrated portfolios of effort involving not just researchers, but also end users, Mātauranga Māori, and citizens – even more than we do now.

Manyof you helped us refine the Strategy to three impacts:

  1. New Zealanders value our biological heritage, understand how it is changing, and are inspired to take action to protect it
  2. New Zealand’s biosecurity system is world class
  3. New Zealand’s natural and production ecosystems are resilient and thriving.

Seven cross-cutting Strategic Outcomes will be focused on these impacts. Please visit our website to read a concise summary of the Strategy.

Along with highlights from our research, this month’s update puts a spotlight on how important the primary sector is to the BioHeritage Challenge. In an example of how ‘New Zealand Inc’ can coordinate across science, industry, government agencies and citizens, our Knowledge Brokers and Science Leadership Group coordinated with plant sector industry groups and MPI (through Biosecurity 2025) to ensure that our Strategy will deliver the science and research needed for a world class biosecurity system.

A message from Dr James Buwalda, Governance Group Chair

The BioHeritage Challenge’s Governance Group strongly endorses the Future Strategy. We expect that through the robust review process that’s now underway, our Strategy will be further refined but, in the meantime, the Governance Group supports work to begin to develop a 2019–2024 research plan alongside the Strategy.

We appreciate the constructive engagement and input we have received across all Challenge Parties and many other stakeholders and end-users, and we now look forward to further contributions as detailed research plans are developed and implemented over the coming months.

DNA could help save threatened species

Levi Robinson sampling kōwaro with students students from Te Kura o Tuahiwi.Image - Ashley Overbeek

Researchers are collecting DNA information from one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most threatened freshwater fish – the Canterbury mudfish (kōwaro) – in an effort to make it more resilient to future environmental change.
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$5,000 grant for science writers

A $5,000 BioHeritage grant for science journalists keen to report on Māori and pest control is part of this year’s Science Journalism Fund – applications are open until 27 July.

Collaboration and sharing information within and across sectors is the desired operating model for plant sector industries, according to a workshop supported by the BioHeritage Challenge.
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Wasp research creating a buzz

Wasp workshop.

The use of pheromones, gene silencing, population modelling and gene drives are all showing promise when it comes to bringing Aotearoa’s wasp problem under control.
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Protecting biodiversity earns award

James Russell traps mice on Antipodes Island.

Congratulations to BioHeritage Project Leader James Russell who has received a Society for Conservation Biology Oceania section distinguished service award for his outstanding contributions to biodiversity protection.
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Register now for EDS conference

It's less than one month until the Environmental Defence Society's 2018 Conference – Green Light or Light Green – and it's not too late to register.

The BioHeritage Challenge is sponsoring the Conservation Reform session at this Auckland conference. Chaired by BioHeritage Director Dr Andrea Byrom, the session will explore what the Government's approach might mean for achieving improved biodiversity outcomes in New Zealand.

Kauri dieback – act now or it will be too late

Kauri infected with kauri dieback disease. Image - Plant and Food Research

The number of trees affected by kauri dieback is increasing at an alarming rate but this isn’t stopping researchers from tackling the disease as fast as possible.
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Eight ways to improve native biodiversity

An example of large scale restoration. Image David Norton

Researchers have come up with eight recommendations on how New Zealanders can help increase the benefits they reap from large-scale native restorations located on private land.
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Predator Free Hawke's Bay

An aspirational plan to make Hawke's Bay Predator Free has been announced, building on the success of a Flagship Site that the BioHeritage Challenge is involved in.

The first phase will focus on removing possums from Mahia Peninsula within four years, building on the success of Poutiri Ao ō Tāne and Flagship Site Cape to City. Watch this video to find out more.

Plant industry wants collaboration on biosecurity science

Plant protection officers in Chile. Image - KVH

Collaboration and sharing information within and across sectors is the desired operating model for plant sector industries, according to a workshop supported by the BioHeritage Challenge.
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