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Council Wins Coveted Peter Nelson Biosecurity Award

Council Wins Coveted Peter Nelson Biosecurity Award

A wide range of pest control work with thousands of people over more than a decade has netted the Northland Regional Council a sought-after national biosecurity award – and the admiration of its peers.

Don McKenzie, the council’s Biosecurity Senior Programme Manager, says the council was delighted to receive the Peter Nelson Memorial Trophy from the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute recently.

The institute said the award had gone to the council for its “significant efforts and outstanding success in engaging the wider community in a range of pest control initiatives” throughout Northland.

These included:

providing advice and assistance to significant private ecological restoration projects

supporting community groups and volunteers

sponsoring training programmes for both young and old and;

providing training assistance and opportunities for participants to gain formal qualifications under the NZQA unit standards framework (via its possum trapping, fur and pelt recovery initiative ‘Project Possum’, carried out under the umbrella of the popular national Enviroschools programme).

Mr McKenzie, who collected the award on the council’s behalf at the institute’s recent annual conference in Greymouth, described it as the ‘Grammy’ of its field - keenly sought after and highly-regarded among the national biosecurity community.

The distinctive trophy – a kokako carved from Northland swamp kauri standing above the bronzed skulls of several predators including rat, a possum and a stoat – is one of two prizes presented by the institute at its annual conference

It’s named after Peter Nelson, who made an invaluable contribution to establishing professionalism within the pest management field in New Zealand.  His long career in pest control – in various roles – had its origins in the 1960s and continued until his death from cancer in 1998.

“We see this very much as a trophy not just for us as a council, but also the many Northlanders from all walks of life who have worked closely with us over the past decade in a huge range of pest control initiatives both on land and in the water,” Mr McKenzie says.

He says the latest win comes just a year after former council staff member, Peter Joynt, was posthumously awarded the other major trophy the institute awards annually, the Peter Ingram Award.

Mr Joynt spent much of his working life battling pest plants in the Kaipara and was given the award to recognise his many years of biosecurity efforts.

The 73-year-old, who died at his Ruawai home in November 2011, was a much-respected member of New Zealand’s biosecurity community and was himself president of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute from 1996 to 1998.

ENDS

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