Celebrating a successful local Biosecurity Week

16 November 2017

This year’s Biosecurity Week at the Port of Tauranga was a success with hundreds of people taking part in various activities alongside biosecurity experts and special guest Ruud ‘The Bug Man’ Kleinpaste.

The week, which ran from Monday 30 October through to Saturday 4 November, highlighted the importance of biosecurity and the role that everyone plays in managing unwanted risks.

Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns said there are passionate people who work on and around the port who know biosecurity is a critical issue and something that affects everyone in one way or another.

“The wider port community is large, with just over 10,000 people operating on the frontline. We had more than 22 million tonnes of cargo move across the wharf last year and there are just over 80 cruise ships arriving this season. Biosecurity matters because it’s also a significant business risk.”

“Our key message is if something happens, there will be a cost to you, your job or your business, and you need to know what you can do to stop it.”

As the organisation responsible for leading biosecurity preparedness on behalf of the kiwifruit industry, KVH is a key partner in the initiative as it makes sense to coordinate efforts in striving towards the common goal of biosecurity excellence and improving understanding of risk.

“By working together, we can protect the kiwifruit industry - and other horticultural industries - from unwanted biosecurity risks. The port community knows that they make a difference by being vigilant and aware of new and emerging threats” said KVH Chief Executive Barry O’Neil.

“Knowing what to look for and reporting anything unusual, including unfamiliar insects or suspicious looking pests will help protect all our businesses.”

Early in the week biosecurity staff from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) visited transitional facilities throughout the Bay of Plenty to share up-to-date information about managing risk and to learn more about the biosecurity systems in place.

The week coincided with the arrival of one of the first cruise ships for the season and the introduction of a new initiative where KVH staff met tour bus drivers to talk with them about the help they can provide in looking out for and reporting risks when travelling to kiwifruit orchards (and other popular regional sites) with international cruise ship passengers. This was very successful and will be repeated.

The Bug Man visited a local polytechnic, primary school and post-harvest facility, to engage hundreds of people in visual and exciting conversations about the importance of keeping our local communities, industries, and environment free of unwanted threats. Holding interactive presentations and Q&A sessions like this will be something we look at expanding on next year.

An official function was also held mid-way through the week and was attended by senior staff from government, industry, transport and logistic groups. The Bug Man who kept all attendees entertained and reiterated the success of the group in setting a regional example of partnering to build a biosecurity team of 4.7 million.

Biosecurity Week is part of the ‘Biosecurity Excellence Partnership’ between the Port of Tauranga, Ministry for Primary Industries, Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Avocado, Forest Owners Association, Dairy NZ, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Customs NZ. The initiative’s goal is ‘no biosecurity incursions coming through the Port of Tauranga’.

A photo gallery from the week is available here.