Kiwifruit industry champions celebrated at national awards
Representatives from the kiwifruit industry have been awarded in recognition of their outstanding contributions towards protecting New Zealand from pests and diseases.
At the annual New Zealand Biosecurity Awards held in Wellington Monday 16 November, Linda Peacock was awarded the Minister’s Biosecurity Award for services to the kiwifruit industry, and Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) accepted the New Zealand Biosecurity Special Award for outstanding commitment to biosecurity on behalf of the kiwifruit industry.
In awarding Linda, who is a long-standing industry liaison and technical specialist at KVH, Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor said she has worked tirelessly with growers and technical teams from across the regions for more than 30 years, taking science-based lessons and turning them into easily understood, practical solutions to help kiwifruit growers.
“Highly regarded across industry, Linda has been an incredible mentor who always puts the needs of growers first, with passion and empathy.”
“She’s also an active contributor to regional biosecurity networks KiwiNet and Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital, and a member of the Psa research steering group and the Zespri crop protection steering group.”
“Linda’s leadership, expertise and unwavering commitment to guarding against unwanted pests and diseases has been an asset to the industry and our communities across Aotearoa.”
In presenting the Special Award to KVH, Minister O’Connor said the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the face of biosecurity incursions, driving research and managing the impacts, while also ensuring the welfare of our growers.
“The industry, alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries, laid the foundations for a new era of biosecurity partnership, with the first signing of the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response Deed – a commitment to working together on preparing for pests and disease and on managing them if an incursion occurs.”
“The resilience demonstrated by this industry during earlier responses has carried through to today; it continues to pride itself on driving a collaborative approach to biosecurity and is an early adopter of new and innovative ways to managing this on behalf of its growers and the wider New Zealand food and fibre sectors.”
KVH chairman Dr David Tanner said the awards recognise the pivotal role people from within the kiwifruit industry, and KVH, have had in managing Psa since the initial outbreak of the disease and in developing robust biosecurity processes and resources to boost the industry’s biosecurity integrity.
“This is recognition for the industry as a whole.” Dr Tanner said.
“KVH was formed 10 years ago as the industry reeled from the discovery of Psa. Over the decade since, KVH - including Linda - has worked alongside industry and Government to help growers recover and prosper. The team is dedicated to its role in helping protect the livelihoods of New Zealand kiwifruit growers from all pests and diseases, through monitoring, education, technology, and partnerships with Government and biosecurity agencies.”
KVH chief executive Stu Hutchings said the awards celebrate the partnership approach which has ensured the industry is better placed for any future biosecurity event.
“There is no doubt that by working in partnership, we can achieve better biosecurity outcomes. The entire industry has embraced a collaborative approach for many years and it was an honour to accept this award on behalf of all our growers and those across the kiwifruit industry who support our work and come together as one committed team” Mr Hutchings said.
“We’ve worked hard in the biosecurity space to ensure a resilient and united voice for the kiwifruit industry, and it’s great that our efforts - and those of the people who have worked with us over the years - have been recognised with this award.”
Head of Biosecurity New Zealand, Penny Nelson said on the night "this mahi is fundamental to keeping our biosecurity system strong, and every day the award winners are putting in the hard yards to ensure we continue to have a world-leading biosecurity system.”
“These awards give us a chance to take a moment and honour the important achievements happening within our biosecurity system by individuals and organisations from all over New Zealand.” The full list of New Zealand Biosecurity Award winners is available here.