Didymo Dave has been named one of New Zealand's biosecurity champions.
David Cade, known as Didymo Dave for his work in the Central Plateau region, has received the Minister for Primary Industries' Biosecurity Award for his efforts to stop the spread of freshwater pests.
The award, presented at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards this week, acknowledges an individual, group or organisation that has at least 10 years of continuous outstanding contribution to biosecurity in New Zealand.
Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said Cade was a worthy winner of the award and had "led from the grass roots".
"He's widely known for being a passionate and long-standing champion and volunteer for freshwater biosecurity, pest control and conservation," O'Connor said.
"He is a tireless promoter of the Check, Clean, Dry campaign to stop the transfer of freshwater pests and prevent the introduction of new ones.
"David truly illustrates the impact a passionate person can have in making a difference for biosecurity in New Zealand."
Horizons Regional Council has employed Didymo Dave on a casual basis since 2013 to spread the Check, Clean, Dry message in the Central Plateau area, Horizons environmental co-ordinator Craig Davey said.
"Dave is a conservation hero and extremely passionate about protecting our waterways from pests for future generations," Davey said.
"We have been fortunate to harness this passion and have him join us in engaging people from all walks of life in conservation conversations when he's visited popular sites over summer. From riverside chats to events – you'll know what you need to do to better protect our special places once Dave has encouraged you to make a difference."
Davey said that over the years Didymo Dave had come up with innovative ways to gain attention for the cause.
"From a poem about the blue duck to talkback radio calls and alter egos Dame Didymo Davina and Victor the Viking, Dave's use of all media platforms and memorable personalities to get cut-through knows no bounds. His passion for kaitiakitanga is contagious, his care is genuine and his ability to encourage behaviour change is effective.
"There are only a handful of people that stand above the rest by not only walking the talk but impacting on others to make a difference. It's fantastic that his efforts have been recognised with this award."
Gillian Visser, who owns Adventure Lodge and Motel at Tongariro National Park, nominated Didymo Dave for the award.
Visser said she got to know Didymo Dave as he talked to guests in the lodge kitchen.
"Dave is always spreading the word to all the tourists who stop here about biosecurity in New Zealand, often going as far as scrubbing their boots for them before they leave," Visser said.
"He is constantly working and goes above and beyond with his efforts.
"My daughter heard about the awards and suggested I nominate him. It took a bit of work to pull together all the information and references, but I kept thinking on those late nights that this will all be worth it – someone like this deserves an award big time."
Davey said Didymo Dave would be out and about again this summer on behalf of Horizons.