Back in August, B3 hosted the inaugural ‘B3 Hui’ alongside representatives of each of the partner organisations. The one-day Hui was held at the Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa - Auckland Airport Marae and attracted more than 50 delegates from at least 8 different iwi/runanga, as well as representatives of Māori business, B3 researchers and government officials.

The hui featured presentations from Māori researchers about pests and pathogens that threaten  — or are likely — to threaten New Zealand’s plant biodiversity and discuss when, who and how to involve Māori, in the preparation, detection and response to new incursions. The event also established greater dialogue about the importance of plant biosecurity research and the potential impact of incursions on taonga plant species.

The Hui acted as a valuable means of increasing the understanding within the wider biosecurity research community about the unique biosecurity issues for Māori and introduce Māori to the research being undertaken by the B3 science community on native taonga and how they can influence it. 

“Discussion was challenging on occasions, but there were good tangible outcomes.” says B3 Director Dr David Teulon.

“As a direct result of the Hui we’ve had invitations to develop information tools for iwi, especially in far north, on invasive species. We’re now looking at how we can develop this partnership into a new surveillance networks for invasive species.”

 “We’ve also been invited to present at the upcoming Mana Whenua Hui to further discuss border plant biosecuirty issues.”

Although the first of its kind, fellow biosecurity researchers in attendance have been quick to praise the engagement of the inaugural event. Professor Ruth Wallace of Charles Darwin University, who works with indigenous people in Australia, said she was impressed at the level of tangible outcomes from the event.

The strong showing of Minister for Primary Industry’s (MPI) and DOC representatives also highlighted the organisations’ desires for a combined B3 biosecurity engagement with Māori going forward. Plant & Food Research, a partner in B3, also played a lead role in the Hui, coordinating both event management and photography.

“As an organisation we’re extremely keen to be involved in this important area of research, and in working together with Māori to care for and protect key crops and taonga plant species,” says Plant & Food Research COO, Dr Bruce Campbell.

“As part of our Summer Studentship Programme, we host several young Māori science students each year. I’m very pleased that this summer we’ll be able to offer a joint placement together with B3 to support further engagement with iwi as part of the He Kākano Whakatipu - Māori Seed Fund.”

 Some of the key plant species and pests discussed at the Hui included kauri dieback, a fungus-like disease currently threatening New Zealand’s Kauri forests; tomato potato psyllid, an insect pest that attacks tomatoes and potato, as well as plants such as poroporo; and myrtle rust (not yet found in New Zealand), a wind-borne fungal pathogen which may threaten many iconic New Zealand plant species such as pōhutukawa and mānuka.

Media Contact:

David Teulon
B3 Director