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Challenge boosts protection of biological heritage

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister of Science & Innovation

29 August 2014 Media Statement
Challenge boosts protection of biological heritage

The National Science Challenge – New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho – is to receive funding of $25.8 million over five years for research to protect and manage the country’s biodiversity, improve our biosecurity, and enhance our resilience to harmful organisms.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says the Challenge spans a wide range of scientific disciplines and will include researchers from nearly all New Zealand’s relevant research institutions.

The Challenge will be hosted by the Crown research institute Landcare Research. It includes researchers from the other six Crown research institutes, and all eight New Zealand universities.

It also draws on research expertise of Te Papa Tongarewa, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for Primary Industries, regional councils and Ngāi Tahu.

“New Zealand’s future is based on its biological heritage—our economy, lifestyle and sense of identity are all underpinned by our distinctive landscapes and healthy natural and production ecosystems,” Mr Joyce says.

“This Challenge will ensure that New Zealanders have the knowledge, tools and technologies to better protect our primary production-based economy, precious native flora and fauna and unique environments for future generations.”

The Challenge integrates research in biodiversity and biosecurity, research areas that have traditionally been addressed separately, but which are inter-dependent.

“The research proposal developed by the Challenge consortium is a fine example of how the Challenge process has brought together a diverse range of researchers to focus on the big science-based issues facing the country. In this case, research will protect and enhance the natural and managed ecosystems fundamental to New Zealanders’ economy and wellbeing”, Mr Joyce says.

Funding of $25.8 million has been approved for a five-year research programme, subject to the finalisation of contract conditions. Up to $207 million over 10 years is available for Challenge research, including Crown research institute core funding of more than $140 million.

Research in the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage Challenge – Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho – will ensure that we:

• understand New Zealand’s native and introduced biodiversity, and have real-time bioheritage information to inform management decisions
• support natural resource management with understanding of the links between biodiversity, ecosystems, mātauranga Māori, and environmental and economic pressures
• have diverse and vibrant natural and production ecosystems that support long-term sustainability
• have appropriate tools to effectively monitor and evaluate biosecurity and biodiversity status and trends
• build social partnerships as the basis of an enduring social licence to apply new management methodologies, tools, technologies and solutions.

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