A Māori land trust in the Far North has won a national biosecurity award for its efforts to eradicate introduced pests and restore the area's native flora and fauna.
Te Rāwhiti 3B2 Ahu Whenua Trust, which administers 1500ha of land in the eastern Bay of Islands on behalf of Rāwhiti hapū, was honoured at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards this week in Wellington.
The trust received the Te Tira Whakamātaki Māori Award for its extensive pest control work and assisting with reintroducing native wildlife in the Bay of Islands.
The trust manages much of the land around Rāwhiti and Rākaumangamanga/Cape Brett, the nearest land to the pest-free Ipipiri islands, so its work to keep pest numbers down on the mainland is essential.
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In recent years several locally extinct species of native bird and one species of gecko have been reintroduced to the islands by Project Island Song, an initiative bringing together community group Guardians of the Bay of Islands, the Department of Conservation and Rāwhiti hapū.
The wētāpunga, or giant wētā, is due to be reintroduced next month.
The Biosecurity Awards recognise organisations, volunteers, businesses, iwi, hapū, government agencies and tamariki working to protect the New Zealand environment from pests and diseases.
The head of Biosecurity New Zealand, Penny Nelson, said their mahi was fundamental to keeping the country's biosecurity system strong.
This year's supreme winner was Miraka, a Taupō-based company that has created an extensive course educating suppliers about biosecurity risks in the dairy industry from cow to bottle.