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Tairawhiti finalists in 2020 Biosecurity Awards

Tairawhiti has two finalists in the 2020 Biosecurity Awards for outstanding contribution to protecting New Zealand's environment from pests and diseases.

Department of Conservation East Coast ranger Graeme Atkins of Ngati Porou and the Whaia Titirangi project — a partnership between Ngati Oneone and Gisborne District Council to care for Titirangi/Kaiti Hill — are finalists for the Te Tira Whakamataki Maori award.

This award recognises the unique relationship Maori have through biosecurity with the whenua, wai, and moana (land, water and sea).

This year has seen more New Zealand children taking part with the addition of the Kura (School) Award.

Judging panel chairman Dr John Hellstrom said the efforts of all the entrants was outstanding.

“It was really hard to pick only three finalists in each category and there was a lot of thoughtful debate among the judging panel.

“There were also many examples of people who were making huge personal commitments to biosecurity on behalf of us all.” Dr Hellstrom said.

The finalists — 27, selected from a pool of 70 — represent a diverse range of individuals, teams, iwi, schools and community groups, businesses, government agencies and research organisations.

“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,” said 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.

Award winners will be announced in mid-November.