17-18 May 2021
Te Papa,

Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative

International Year of Plant Heath 2020 logo


Juliet Gerrard

Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ, HonFRSC 

Juliet trained at Oxford University and moved to Aotearoa in 1993 where her career has included roles in both Crown Research Institutes and universities. Juliet’s research background is broad and interdisciplinary, with particular interests in fundamental and applied protein science. She has held an Industry and Outreach Fellowship with Callaghan Innovation, founded a start-up company, chaired the Marsden Council, served on the Board of Directors of Plant and Food Research, and is currently on the Board of Te Papa.

Since Juliet’s appointment in 2018 as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia, she has worked from a base of four founding principles: rigour, inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility. She has supported the science and science advisor community to provide advice to the PM, ministers, and the public on a wide range of topics, including advice on the Christchurch mosque shootings, the response to the Whakaari | White Island eruption, the Cannabis referendum and the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Office released a major report, Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand, which created a vision for a new relationship with plastic. .

Melanie Shadbolt

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt 

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt is of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Te Atiawa, Mackintosh and Gunn descent. She is an indigenous environmental sociologist and is currently the Kaihautū Chief Māori Advisor to the Ministry for the Environment, the Director Māori of NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, CEO of Te Tira Whakamātaki and a member of the B3 Collaboration Council.  She is a specialist in traditional knowledge issues in the areas of biosecurity and sustainable natural resource management. Her recent work has focused on developing research partnership models, utilising both modern science and indigenous knowledge, to create solutions for current environmental issues.  Her leadership of Te Tira Whakamātaki has also been very effective in enabling a Māori biosecurity network with a particular focus on matauranga Māori.

Penny Nelson

Penny Nelson 

Penny is Deputy Director-General for Biosecurity NZ. Penny joined the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2018 as Deputy Director-General Policy and Trade, where she led work shaping the future of the primary sector - enhancing the sector’s sustainability and growth. Before joining the Ministry, Penny worked across a range of areas of government, including the environment, economic development, and social development. Prior to joining MPI, Penny was Deputy Secretary at Ministry for the Environment where she was responsible for climate change, the marine environment, environmental reporting, and the science system. Penny has also worked within the private and science sectors including roles at DairyNZ, the Sustainable Business Council, and Landcare Research. Penny holds a Masters of Science in Resource Management (Honours) from Lincoln University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Otago.