7th August 2015
Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa Marae,
8 Uenuku Way, Auckland Airport

Speaker Profiles

Nick Waipara, Auckland Council

Nick Waipara has a background in bioprotection based research specialising in plant pathology, mycology, biocontrol and environmental microbiology. His current position at Auckland Council includes coordinating and implementing biosecurity research and innovation that underpins operational pest management programmes. This work includes the national Kauri Dieback programme (Kia Toitū He Kauri) and Treasure Islands (Protecting the Hauraki Gulf - Tīkapa Moana o Hauraki). His is as a Māori champion and kaiāwhina (mentor) in the Bio-Protection Research Centre and his role is to facilitate, link and promote research topics prioritised by Māori. Of particular interest is research which incorporates mātauranga Māori to help improve management of biosecurity threats as well as mitigate future risks to primary production and native ecosystems.  Nick is also a member of the Māori Kaihautū for New Zealand’s Biological Heritage, one of the National Science Challenges.

Alby Marsh, Plant & Food Research

Alby Marsh is the Stakeholder Relationship Manager - Māori  at the Institute for Plant and Food Research based in Palmerston North. He is the Deputy Chair of Te Ara Putaiao, the collective of Māori Mangers from the  7 Crown Research Institutes (CRI's), participant member to a number of committtees including NZ Agricultural Greehouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC), NZ Food Safety Science and Research Centre (NZFSSRC) and 2 National Science Challenges, Biological Heritage and High Value Nutrition. Alby is the Project Leader in an Australian Plant Biosecurity Collaborative Research Centre (PBCRC) funded project titled, Engagement for Resilience in Indigenous Communities. A collaborative venture with Indigenous colleagues from the Northern Institute , based at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. The objective is to develop a model that can be utilised by government organisations and agencies seeking improved  engagement with indigenous communities of both countries.

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Bio-Protection Research Centre

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt is the Māori Research and Development Manager for the Bio-Protection Research Centre (a Centre of Research Excellence) and the Māori Manager for New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. She is also a key research and the named manager for the MBIE Vision Mātauranga Capability funded project Establishing a National Māori Biosecurity Network. Melanie is also the current Chair of Te Waipounamu District Māori Council, a district of the New Zealand Māori Council and holds numerous roles in the community and is owner of Māori Education Ltd. Melanie’s research interests are in the broader Māori and indigenous development area with specific interest in; supporting Māori communities to develop new industries, rangatahi (youth) development, social responsibility and revolution (including civics), Māori leadership, governance and management, and Māori workforce development especially in the sciences and primary sector(s). 

Aleise Puketapu, Plant & Food Research

Aleise Puketapu, Te Atiawa, Tainui Applied Entomology Research Associate at The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. I am a graduate of Massey University with a MSc in Plant Protection, my thesis and some of my early research with Plant & Food Research was based on the relationship between the tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli, Sulc.) and Māori food sources particularly taewa or Māori potatoes (Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum and andigena). One of my research interest areas is working with Māori communities and growers to improve traditional Māori vegetable agronomy particularly taewa and more recently kamokamo (Cucurbita pepo ssp. pepo) . This area of my job involves liaising with traditional Māori growers, implementing field trials, assessing agronomy, providing management solutions and communicating results. I have also been a committee member for Tahuri Whenua – The National Māori Vegetable Growers Collective for the past four years.

Chris Green, Department of Conservation

Chris Green PhD – Technical Advisor, Threats, Science and Policy Group, Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai.  Chris is based in Auckland and has a specialist background in entomology.  Most of Chris's current role in DOC is related to biosecurity and he is the sole representative of the department on the Better Border Biosecurity Science Partnership Forum .  He has been a member of many Technical Advisory Groups set up by MAFBiosecurity/MPI to eradicate pests such as Painted Apple Moth, Red Imported Fire Ant, Fall Webworm, and Asian Gypsy Moth all of which have led to successful eradications.  He is currently on the Technical Advisory Group set up by DOC to eradicate the Great White Butterfly. Chris is also the leader of a programme to develop an eradication procedure for Argentine ants. In addition, Chris is involved with threatened insect recovery programmes and leads the Wetapunga (Te Hauturu o Toi (Little Barrier Island) giant weta) Recovery Programme to re-establish the species on other islands in the Haruaki Gulf. 

Andrew Sander, Ministry for Primary Industries

Andrew Sander has been with MPI now for almost 2 years after working for myself for over 10 years in a small business in Wellington as well as corporate Terrorism and Threat Assessment Training.  I was in the New Zealand Police for over 16 years prior to that as a Sergeant in Wellington, Constable in Auckland and also O/C of the Bomb Search Group specialising in all terrorism and specialist search operations in NZ.  My role now is to manage the contract that MPI has with AsureQuality (AQ) (Biosecurity Services Agreement) and to link MPI with AQ in the management of the NBCN and responses that use our members.

Toni Withers, SCION

Toni Withers is a senior forest entomologist at Scion, the Forest Research Institute in Rotorua, and specialises in managing pests that have established on trees “post- border”. Much of Toni’s research focuses on the management of insect pests using biological control, and how to assess whether or not new organisms are safe to introduce into New Zealand. Toni’s current focus is on assisting the Gum Leaf Skeletoniser biological control agent Cotesia urabae to establish throughout New Zealand, and investigating introducing a new biological control agent for Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle.

Peter Scott, SCION

Peter grew up in Perth, Western Australia. I have studied the biology and management of Phytophthora plant diseases in native ecosystems in Australia for 10 years. In Western Australia I have worked with people from the Nyoongar nation as an educational support work. In 2012 I moved to Aotearoa to work at Scion, the New Zealand Forestry Research Institute, as a forest pathologist and research scientist. My work includes forest and plant pathology research, diagnostics, mycology, adaptive plant disease management and plant disease risk assessment. I also curate the New Zealand Forestry Mycological and Culture Collection. My current research includes work with Better Boarder Biosecurity (B3) aimed at identify which Phytophthora pathogens might pose a greater risk to Aotearoa than others, and how we can reduce the spread of Phytophthora pathogens into new areas. I contribute to the Kauri dieback program’s response to Kauri dieback, caused by Phytophthora agathidicida (formerly known as Phytophthora taxon Agathis or PTA), by identifying Phytophthora agathidicida from soil samples. I also work on projects aimed at identifying Kauri plants with resistance to Kauri dieback. My long term goal is to conduct research with practical management outcomes to improve environmental stewardship.

Hone Ropata, The University of Auckland/Plant & Food Research

Hone Ropata is a student at the University of Auckland, studying toward a BSc in the biological sciences with a focus on fungal diversity and plant pathology. This past Summer he was one of the 30 students selected to spend 13 weeks working as a Summer Student at Plant & Food Research. Hone’s research project examined the impact of myrtle rust on Maori taonga plant species and their uses. The aim of the research was to investigate the probable impacts on taonga plant species, such as Manuka and Pohutukawa, should the pathogenic fungus Puccinia psidii  blow over from Australia.

Professor Ruth Wallace, Charles Darwin University

Professor Ruth Wallace is the Director of the Northern Institute.  Ruth leads the Workforce Development, Migration and Pathways to Learning theme which focuses on collaborative approaches to workforce development and engagement with community, governments and industry that are sustainable and scalable. Ruth was also the ‘Secure Futures’ Program Leader for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, with a focus on building resilience through community engagement and collaborative knowledge and management systems for biosecurity surveillance.  Ruth is collaborating with Plant & Food Research on a project called ‘Building resilience in Indigenous Communities through engagement - a focus on Biosecurity threats’.