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Source: Auckland Council

A two-kilometre interpretive trail designed to educate Aucklanders on the risks to Aotearoa New Zealand’s flora has been selected as a finalist in this year’s NZ Biosecurity Awards.

The Biosecurity Trail is a finalist in the Community Pihinga Award, a category of the Biosecurity Awards that celebrate new projects and initiatives.

Making the finals of the awards is a real tribute to those who were involved in the creation of the Biosecurity Trail says Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committte.

“It’s a wonderful achievement for the team involved in bringing this concept to fruition. It is important for all of us to understand the role we can all play in protecting our environment and economy.

“This trail is a great way to learn, so we are delighted to see the mahi involved in creating the path being recognised.”

The awards are part of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Ko Tātou This Is Us that encourages all Kiwis to be kaitiaki (guardians) and play a role in protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique environment from pests and diseases.

The Biosecurity Trail was launched in April 2019 and was the result of a joint effort between Auckland Botanic Gardens and Better Border Biosecurity (B3). The trail wanders around the upper part of the gardens.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, the trail has twelve checkpoints where people can learn about different invasive species and the damage they can cause, such as the brown marmorated stink bug, myrtle rust and kauri dieback.

There is also multimedia provision through the STQRY app for visitors to explore and discover more as they walk the trail.

Julia Watson, who is the Education and Partnerships Co-ordinator for Auckland Botanic Gardens says the trail can lead to real change.

“We believe the Biosecurity Trail is a great way for the public to engage with this important topic. If people can recognise what an unwanted pest or disease looks like and knows what to do when they come across one, then the trail has done its job well.”

Councillor Filipaina is proud of the work the staff of ABG do and the trail adds to the insights they pass onto the public.

“Our Botanic Gardens staff are highly knowledgeable about plants and want to help people engage with plants and gardens. Helping people learn to recognise those biosecurity risks that may have crept into the country means we can move quickly to eradicate the pests and diseases before they take hold. That’s great for our environment and our agricultural sector.”

The Biosecurity Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate some of the exceptional contributions that so many New Zealanders make to safeguard our biosecurity system, says Penny Nelson, head of Biosecurity New Zealand.

“Every entrant deserves recognition and support because they are all stepping up to do something to protect and preserve our environment, primary industries and way of life.

“Their magnificent mahi is fundamental in keeping our biosecurity system strong, and every day they are putting in the hard yards to ensure New Zealand continues to have a world-leading biosecurity system,” Penny says.

The winners of the NZ Biosecurity Awards will be announced in mid-November.