Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital launch week
On Tuesday Minister for Biosecurity, Damien O’Connor, joined local business and community leaders and biosecurity personnel at the official launch of the newly formed Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital (TMBC).
About 100 representatives from 19 organisations in the region attended the launch and symposium, including KVH, Zespri, post-harvest, Port of Tauranga, the three local councils and local iwi. The Minister was welcomed with a powhiri and spoke to attendees about his view on TMBC being a show of unity and co-operation, where communities within a region are taking on the responsibility of what he sees as New Zealand’s number one challenge – biosecurity.
Guests on the day heard inspiring stories and case studies and were involved in interactive workshops as well as a detector dog demonstration that included Georgie, the labrador trained and dedicated to sniffing out Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB), one of the biggest threats to the kiwifruit industry and local area.
Following on from the launch, the TMBC Biosecurity Week is underway, with a series of local activities celebrating biosecurity awareness and the role everyone in the community plays in protecting our local environment and economy from biosecurity threats. For the kiwifruit industry this included todays Kiwifruit Biosecurity Grower Day, covering readiness activities; research into soil borne diseases and the importance of traceability; BMSB preparedness; and an outdoor drone demonstration as part of a Scion project to create a toolkit for biosecrity responses in urban environments.
KVH has been running the Port of Tauranga Biosecurity Excellence programme, which involves the Port, KVH and the Ministry for Primary Inustries (MPI) working with Port staff and contractors during the week to raise awareness of the importance of best-practice when it comes to biosecurity vigilance, what pests to be on the lookout for, and how to report unusual finds. This year KVH has visited around 100 people at the Port to share information and learn more about what we can do as an industry to help raise awareness even more.
Staff from KVH are also part of the free training this weekend to help keep myrtle rust off Mauao and have been out in the field the last few days with students learning all about on-orchard bug hunting as part of a joint programme to build horticulture and biosecurity awareness in local schools.