Putting biosecurity in top place
Many communities claim to be the capital of something and build giant icons to support their claims, be it kiwifruit at Te Puke, carrots at Ohakune or the drink Lemon and Paeroa at Paeroa.
However, an oversized statute isn’t likely to be erected to trumpet Tauranga’s ‘capital’ claim because it’s an absence of something, not a presence to which the community aspires.
In mid-October the region officially became Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital (TMBC) with the launch of the initiative by Minister for Biosecurity and Primary Industries, Damien O’Connor.
It was appropriate that Tauranga, as New Zealand’s export trade capital, should become its biosecurity capital too, he told the event attended by around 80 representatives of iwi, local and regional councils, industry bodies, community and business groups with an involvement or interest in biosecurity.
The Minister said biosecurity depends on the actions of every New Zealander and he congratulated TMBC for its formation as one of the lead initiatives for the government’s Ko Tatou This
Is Us campaign. TMBC aims to be an exemplar for other regions to emulate, all with the aim of enlisting 4.7 million New Zealanders into a biosecurity team to keep the country safe from unwanted pests and disease.
Biosecurity New Zealand head, Roger Smith, among the speakers at the launch said the world and trade was changing, “and we have to change how we do biosecurity”.
“More ships, bigger ships and sometimes dirty ships are arriving as are more travellers with different wants and needs. Other countries are expanding their exports to us making biosecurity more difficult. We need to look through a different lens and fundamentally change how we work together.”
The Biosecurity 2025 strategy had brought together industries which had never talked to each other including non-Government organisations which had not talked to Government. Instead of blaming someone else for biosecurity breaches, he said the initiative had “started something good” in which everyone accepted ownership of biosecurity and took on the challenge of the sustained effort required to keep unwanted pests and disease out. As well as recruiting every New Zealander to the biosecurity team, the aim was for every business, no matter what their sector, to make biosecurity part of their values.
Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital
dairy products, 40 percent of fishing quota and 36 percent of forestry. “That’s the dollar economy in which M-aori would suffer the same impact as others but if we look at the risks to the cultural economy, you can’t put a dollar figure on that,” he said. “M-aori would take a double hit as for iwi the environment is part of our health, knowledge, language, respect, spirituality, guardianship, leadership, self-determination and cultural practice. Biosecurity threats are starting to pull apart our cultural fabric. For example, we whakapapa to the kauri, they are our family.” Carlton said M-aori had much to lose if the disease kauri dieback kills the giant trees. It had not yet arrived in the Bay of Plenty and the region may become the saviour for the trees, but only if everyone worked to protect them.Doing so is among the goals of TMBC which also include growing biosecurity awareness and social licence and running joint campaigns such as Biosecurity Week in October.
TMBC aims to advocate for better biosecurity for the region and be a catalyst for action. Enabling collaboration to achieve better results, sharing information and lessons, and taking opportunities to grow the regional team committed to biosecurity excellence, are also aims.
The founding members of the TMBC coalition are; New Zealand Avocado, Forest Owners Association, Kiwifruit Vine Health, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Better Border Security (B3), Zespri, Biosecurity New Zealand, House of Science, University of Waikato, Trevelyan’s, Ngai Te Rangi Iwi, Ngati Ranginui Iwi, Tauranga City Council, the Department of Conservation, Landcare Trust, Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Port of Tauranga and the National Science Challenges New Zealand’s Biological Heritage.
More information is available at co.nz/ and www.thisisus.nz