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Winning Wilders

Date: 1st November 2022

Great excitement at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards last night at Auckland Museum. We are thrilled to announce that our two nominations succeeded in their categories. Congratulations to the Whakatipu Wilding Control Group who won the community award in recognition of their role as biosecurity leaders in their community. They have established and maintain longstanding partnerships to protect Queenstown’s iconic landscapes from wildings.

The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme won the government project category for the coordinated partnership that has led to much of the action on the ground throughout New Zealand. We would also like to acknowledge the Ruawahia 2B Trust who were independently nominated for their work protecting one of North Island’s most iconic maunga – Mt Tarawera from the ravages of wilding trees.

The two wins are well-deserved, not just for these two projects, but for all those people in communities, agencies and crews on the ground around the country all working to pushing back and prevent the spread of wilding pines.

Jo Ritchie WPN Coordinator with Grant Hensman Chair Whakatipu Wilding Control Group

There are hundreds of paid workers and contractors doing the hard physical work, and then hundreds more who volunteer for community-based and Iwi-led projects. There is a lot of energy from people wanting to protect the country from disappearing under a dark blanket of self-seeded trees, that – in contrast to well-managed, carefully planted forestry – bring no benefits to the landscapes they are spreading into.

Sherman Smith Manager Pest Management Programmes (Wilding Conifers) & Randall Milne Senior Adviser Operations, both from Biosecurity New Zealand

This work is about saving the best of New Zealand from a wilding threat that is devastating our unique lands and biodiversity. We must sustain the gains and keep up the current momentum. If we do, we could actually have wilding-free landscapes – that will be an even bigger celebration.

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