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Community, students inspire award-winning scientist

13 November 2018

The scientist named as New Zealand’s emerging leader in biosecurity says she is inspired and motivated by the tireless efforts of volunteers and community groups in protecting New Zealand’s environment.

Dr Amanda Black, a Principal Research Officer with the Bio-Protection Research Centre, based at Lincoln University, last night won the AsureQuality Emerging Leader Award in the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards.

“I am constantly inspired by people in the community working to save our environment, and doing it simply for love, without any payment,” Dr Black said. “They motivate me to continue working in this area.”

Dr Black (Tuhoe, Whakatōhea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui), has recently been researching whether the fragmentation of kauri forests has helped to spread kauri dieback, the devastating – and always fatal – disease ravaging kauri forests.

She made headlines this year when calling for kauri forests to be closed to protect remaining healthy trees, and also for research that suggests Phytophthora agathidicida, the organism that causes kauri dieback, may survive in pasture and pine forest.

“I’m grateful to be living in a country where I can speak out on what can often be sensitive and difficult issues,” Dr Black said. “Science is not always straightforward, especially when researching new issues. But it’s essential that scientists are allowed to speak freely on what their research shows.”

Dr Black also said she was also inspired by the postgraduate students she supervised, and their determination to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference.

“They are full of optimism, and know they can help to save the world. I’m privileged to help them gain the skills to do that.”


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