This month we meet new Institute President Rebecca Kemp, Biosecurity Pest Plant Specialist at Auckland Council
Time in the job: eight 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 farms as well as carrying out an enforcement role for discharges for six years. Biosecurity became an option eight 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.