Trampers Tararua Range

Building on Momentum

Almost a decade ago, eleven National Science Challenges were tasked with tackling the ‘big questions’ of Aotearoa. Our mission was, and remains, to reverse the decline of New Zealand’s biological heritage. We have done this by pulling together some of the brightest minds from across the motu – from universities, Crown Research Institutes, mana whenua, community groups and industry.

We have contracted more than 40 programmes involving hundreds of people. These teams broke down research silos and joined together to demonstrate how their work can be led by Te Tiriti o Waitangi to get the best results for Aotearoa.

After 10 years of hard work and new, exciting approaches to research, we invite you to join us in celebrating how far we’ve come, what we’ve accomplished, and discuss what comes next.

The details

Crazy & Ambitious 4 – Building on Momentum

3 – 4 April 2024

Oceania Room, Te Papa, Wellington

Meet our MC

Stacey Small

Stacey Morrison (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu)

Stacey guided kōrero at both Crazy & Ambitious 2 (2019) and the Kaurilands Summit 2023, and we’re excited to have her back with us one last time.

Stacey is well known for her boundless and relentless energy. As a radio host, her enthusiasm is a shot of caffeine for listeners, which is perfect for getting the morning started alongside her co-host, Mike Puru, on Flava Breakfast. Mornings are in her blood; before her gig on Flava, Stacey woke up NZ co-hosting the Classic Hits morning show and Mai Breakfast.

Hailing from Christchurch, Stacey is fluent in te reo, and studies advanced Māori language courses. She works to promote Māori culture, language and health along with her husband, fellow broadcaster Scotty Morrison. She does consultancy work for shows with Māori content like CODE and Find Me a Māori bride. Together they run a community playgroup and teach te reo under Māori 4 Grownups, now an incorporated society.

Meet our confirmed Keynote Speakers

Andrea Small

Andrea Byrom

Dr Andrea Byrom trained as a scientist in wildlife population ecology and held various leadership roles at Manaaki Whenua for over 20 years, including co-Director of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. She now works as a consultant and professional director in Aotearoa’s environmental sector.

Andrea is a Kairangi in the Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre of Research Excellence, co-chairs the Chief Executive’s Science Advisory Panel for the Ministry for the Environment, and is a member of MfE’s Ministerial Advisory Group setting environmental limits and targets. She holds board roles with the Environmental Protection Authority and the Tāwhaki Joint Venture; is a Trustee for the Project Crimson Trust; and Chair and Trustee of the Predator-Free Trust.

Andrea values evidence-based decision-making and has a deep strategic knowledge of the New Zealand science and innovation sector and how it connects with regional and central government agencies. She values evidence-based decision-making and has a deep understanding of, and commitment to, Māori values, knowledge, and tikanga. In 2022 she was awarded the Caughley Medal from the Australasian Wildlife Management Society in recognition of a lifetime of achievements in wildlife ecology and management.

Bruce Small

Bruce Clarkson NZOM

Professor Bruce Clarkson was the interim Director for the Challenge and is currently the University of Waikato’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research. He leads an MBIE funded research programme People, Cities and Nature: restoring indigenous nature in urban environments.

His research has had a direct impact on Hamilton gully restoration initiatives and the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park project near Hamilton Zoo. In 2005, together with independent consultant Dr Wren Green, he carried out a review of progress on the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy for the chief executives of the sponsoring government agencies.

In 2006 he was awarded the Loder Cup, New Zealand’s premier conservation award, in 2016 he received the RSNZ Charles Fleming Award for environmental achievement, and in 2022 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Bruce is chair of the Australasian chapter and a board member of the International Society for Ecological Restoration, and is currently an ambassador for the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.


Estelle Pura Pera-Leask (Ngāi Tahu, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Ruanui) NZOM

Mel Daniel 1

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Daniel Patrick

Melanie and Daniel lead the BioHeritage National Science Challenge as Co-Directors – driving strategic priorities and keeping our teams on track to create the largest impact on the ground.

Daniel joined the BioHeritage team in December 2020, after nine years as the Executive Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.

Prior to NPM, Daniel co-founded and developed several research entities, including the Centre of Methods and Policy Applications in the Social Sciences (COMPASS), the New Zealand Social Statistics Network (NZSSN), the New Zealand Social Science Data Service and Survey Research Unit. He has over 20 years research and research leadership experience.

Melanie reprised her BioHeritage role as Kaihautū Ngātahi – Co-Director Māori in April 2023, working in partnership with Co-Director, Daniel Patrick, on strategic priorities and building strategic links with Māori and indigenous researchers, groups and entities.

In addition to her BioHeritage mahi, Melanie is the Chief Executive of Te Tira Whakamātaki, also providing governance, direction and support to a number of boards and groups including the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge, the Project Crimson Trust, the Collaboration Council at B3 Better Border Biosecurity, Tāpui Aotearoa, and more recently was the former Deputy Secretary – Tūmatakōkiri (Maori Rights and Interest) for the Ministry for the Environment.