Executive Member Profiles

NZBI Executive Members


 

 

Name: Rebecca Kemp

Organisation: Auckland Council

Job Title: Biosecurity Pest Plant Specialist

Time in the job: seven plus years

What motivates you to be involved in biosecurity?

There are three main factors for my choice to be involved in Biosecurity.   The first is the passionate people that I work with in the community really make the job. There are so many community groups in New Zealand working to make a real difference to their environment and there are some fantastic successes that keep me motivated to ensure that I assist them to achieve even more. The second is the professional's that I get to work with, colleagues with passion and drive who live to ensure our natural environment is protected and enhanced. The third is the motivation and high that the small successes and achievements that we make each day and week towards protection of our environment. This is what makes me stay involved and care so much about my job.

What has been your career path to your current position?

I have a degree in Applied Science Agriculture, my initial career path was not toward Biosecurity. It was water quality and pollution prevention. I spent sometime in the private sector with waste management companies and moved to a Rural Pollution role, I processed resource consents for dairy discharges, piggeries and poultry farm as well as carrying out an enforcement role for discharges for 6 years. Biosecurity became an option seven years ago following funding work in our region which combined both roles. My Biosecurity position also provided me with a chance to do less policing work and become more involved in engaging the community.

What makes up a normal day for you?

Every day is different. Some are spent with paper work, while others can involve urgent call outs. Some weeks even involve roughing it on an island somewhere in the Hauraki Gulf. Great Barrier is my favourite place to rough it! Other days may see me bush bashing through the Puhoi area looking for old man's beard.   Once I even had to assist in the removal of a stoat from an office in the middle of Orewa. There is one guarantee with the job though, that no day will ever be the same.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

The varied nature of the job, there isn't an excuse to be bored.

 


 

Name: Sara Moylan

Organisation: Greater Wellington Regional Council

Job Title: Biodiversity Monitoring Advisor

Time in job: 7 years.

What motivates you to be involved in biosecurity?

Protecting New Zealand's biosecurity ensures that our wonderful biodiversity, and our environmental life support system, is protected now and for future generations.

What has been your career path to your current position?

I have always been fascinated with the natural environment and spent many hours watching my hero, David Attenborough, as a child. Biology was my favourite subject all through high school. I studied for my BSc at Massey University, moving there from Auckland and graduating with a double major in zoology and ecology. I then undertook my Masters and conducted my thesis at Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) studying the release of six captive-reared kaka. It was an amazing experience to follow these birds as they found their feet and started to breed; they are incredibly intelligent and I got to know each one individually. I was then lucky enough to get a job at Greater Wellington, first in the monitoring team for Biosecurity and now as a Biodiversity Monitoring Advisor.

What makes up a normal day for you?

My job is incredibly varied, I may be out in the field, at my desk crunching data, designing a new project, making GIS maps or writing a report. I could be in one of many technical group meetings or in the workroom counting invertebrates. My job changes season by season and year to year, it's never the same and I am never bored.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

The variety of the work I get to do, the challenges of developing new projects and visiting many beautiful and remote parts of the region. I get to do natural science for real and what other job is there that you can get paid to go sit under a tree and watch birds all morning? The fantastic and dedicated people I work with are also an important bonus.


 

Name: Ronny Groenteman

Organisation: Landcare Research

Job Title: Scientist, biological control

Time in job: 6 years.

What motivates you to be involved in biosecurity?

My passion for biological control has much to do with it. For me it is about restoring lost natural balance in the most environmentally benign way.

What has been your career path to your current position?

I discovered biological control in my early 20s, when I was working in an apple orchard in Israel, where I grew up. It was a great revelation and I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up! I then went on to do a Bachelor and a Master of agricultural sciences, majoring in plant protection, including research in biological control of insect pests. Life then brought me to New Zealand for a PhD on biological control of weeds, and an ongoing involvement with Landcare Research, for which I feel so fortunate. After completing my studies I gained employment with the biocontrol group at Landcare Research and hope to stay there – keep doing what I destined myself to do. The group works mainly on weed biocontrol, much of it in the environmental context but also in the productive sector (weeds know no boundaries!) and we are hoping to start working also on environmentally invasive invertebrates.

What makes up a normal day for you?

A normal day is non-existent! My job involves so many different aspects: field work, data analysis, writing reports and manuscripts, communicating with end-users and the general public, contributing to the greater science community, presenting & networking at conferences, and plenty of time spent on writing grant applications...

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

A combination of elements, in no particular order! It's about doing something that contributes to a public good and benefits all New Zealanders (humans, animals and plants all included). It's about working with like-minded friendly and bright people. It's about the 'so what' factor - always staying connected and relevant, making sure my work doesn't slip into insignificance. It's about keeping that brain working to its full potential. It's about the fascination on people's faces at the hut at the end of a day's tramping when I respond to the banal 'what do you do for a living?' It's about doing something that feels like the right thing to do in every possible way!

 

 


 

 

Name: David Brittain

Organisation: Kiwicare Corporation Ltd

Job Title: Technical Support Manager

Time in the job: 4 Years

What motivates you to be involved in biosecurity?

As an import from overseas I have an understanding, by way of comparison, of how much of natural New Zealand remains compared to my previous home in Ireland. There is almost no part of Ireland's environment that is natural and unaffected by human influence. Although many of New Zealand's environments have been modified by humans and other imported animals and flora, there is still a sense that much of what New Zealand once was can still be protected; and is worth protecting.

Biosecurity is more than just protection of natural native habitats, flora and fauna. It also encompasses the protection of the economic wellbeing of the people of New Zealand. I left the UK and Ireland after the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001/2. It demonstrated to me the importance of prevention in reducing the risks to the primary industries that form such a large part of the New Zealand economy.

There are many non-native pest plants, animals and diseases that are or would be detrimental to New Zealand's environments and to the financial well being of the people. I would like to do what I can to reduce the risks and protect New Zealand; both people and environment.

What has been your career path to your current position?

I joined the world's largest pest control company in 1982 immediately after leaving Queens University Belfast. This gave me grounding in animal behaviour and the use of that behaviour in controlling pests.

After a period in retail management with the family business I took a position with the Veterinary Sciences Division of the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland, primarily carrying out research into the development of molecular strain typing of bovine tuberculosis. During this time several New Zealand experts in the field visited us and I became aware of the possum and Tb scenario here.

When I came to New Zealand my experience in pest control and bovine Tb almost inevitably led me to a position with a major Animal Health Board contractor. However, my responsibility with Target Pest Enterprises was the development of the urban pest management side of the business.

On the demise of Target in 2007, Kiwicare Corporation asked me to join their team and I have been part of the development of the company as a major supplier of products for the control of pest plants and animals to all New Zealand markets and overseas.

What makes up a normal day for you?

A normal day consists of many varied tasks:

  • Advising customers on the best control and prevention methods for pests such as rats, mice, possums, flies, ants, weeds, diseases and many more.
  • The development of new products to solve invasive and nuisance pest problems.
  • Public relations.
  • Regulatory affairs.
  • Research.
  • Website management.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I get a kick out of helping people solve pest problems. That is often not just pointing people to the most appropriate products but to the most appropriate way to use the products and to prevent problems arising in the future.

I also enjoy helping direct the company's product development strategy to include products that benefit both natural and human environments.


 

Name: Ronny Groenteman

 

Organisation: Landcare Research

 

Job Title: Scientist, biological control

 

Time in job: 6 years.

 

What motivates you to be involved in biosecurity?

 

My passion for biological control has much to do with it. For me it is about restoring lost natural balance in the most environmentally benign way.

 

What has been your career path to your current position?

 

I discovered biological control in my early 20s, when I was working in an apple orchard in Israel, where I grew up. It was a great revelation and I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up! I then went on to do a Bachelor and a Master of agricultural sciences, majoring in plant protection, including research in biological control of insect pests. Life then brought me to New Zealand for a PhD on biological control of weeds, and an ongoing involvement with Landcare Research, for which I feel so fortunate. After completing my studies I gained employment with the biocontrol group at Landcare Research and hope to stay there – keep doing what I destined myself to do. The group works mainly on weed biocontrol, much of it in the environmental context but also in the productive sector (weeds know no boundaries!) and we are hoping to start working also on environmentally invasive invertebrates.

 

What makes up a normal day for you?

 

A normal day is non-existent! My job involves so many different aspects: field work, data analysis, writing reports and manuscripts, communicating with end-users and the general public, contributing to the greater science community, presenting & networking at conferences, and plenty of time spent on writing grant applications...

 

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

 

A combination of elements, in no particular order! It’s about doing something that contributes to a public good and benefits all New Zealanders (humans, animals and plants all included). It’s about working with like-minded friendly and bright people. It’s about the ‘so what’ factor - always staying connected and relevant, making sure my work doesn’t slip into insignificance. It’s about keeping that brain working to its full potential. It’s about the fascination on people’s faces at the hut at the end of a day’s tramping when I respond to the banal ‘what do you do for a living?’ It’s about doing something that feels like the right thing to do in every possible way!