Auckland Council’s island biosecurity programme took the New Zealand Biosecurity Eagle Technology Local and Central Government Award on 4 November.
The programme is responsible for protecting the natural and ecological values of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf which are nationally significant for their seabird, terrestrial and marine values. Importantly, it helps keep the islands free of pests such as rats and stoats.
“This award acknowledges the outstanding contribution and effectiveness of Auckland Council’s biosecurity team, which works hard year-round to protect our precious native species and natural environment,” said Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
“This valuable biosecurity work is made possible by Aucklanders, whose support for the Natural Environment Targeted Rate has allowed the council to increase investment by $311 million over 10 years to protect our environment from introduced pests and other threats.”
There are 400 islands and another 35 island groups, some of which have permanent populations, under constant threat from pest invasion.
The biosecurity work is undertaken through initiatives including the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice, Pest Free Warrants, which seeks to regulate commercial operators in the gulf, particularly those going to pest-free islands, advocacy and partnerships to promote public awareness of the threat pests pose to the islands.
“We are thrilled to have been selected as recipients of this award; it recognises the hard work of the team and the importance of biosecurity in the region, for the national conservation cause,” says Biosecurity Manager Phil Brown.
“The Hauraki Gulf islands are special places that need our protection from pests. We are grateful for the partnerships we have with the Department of Conservation and the communities on the islands to keep them pest-free.”
The Biosecurity Awards were established two years ago to recognise and celebrate exemplary contributions to protecting our taonga and ensuring New Zealand's biosecurity system remains resilient, effective, and world leading.