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Crazy & Ambitious 4 – Te Papa – 3-4 April 2024

You’ve missed the ‘must-attend’ landmark science conference with a difference, Crazy & Ambitious 4, championing exciting innovation, inclusive collaboration, and impactful research to protect Aotearoa’s biological heritage. But soon you can watch the videos from the event.

Day2 Closingwithimpact

But you can still be part of the gathering with the ‘movers and shakers’ and the best and brightest minds across the public service and private sectors, research institutes and universities, mana whenua and communities – all involved in enhancing Aotearoa’s biosecurity and protecting the natural heritage that makes New Zealand uniquely New Zealand – by viewing the videos from the event – coming soon.

Day1 Keynote Quickfire

BioHeritage National Science Challenge’s fourth (and final) conference at Te Papa was a science conference like no other. Showcasing new approaches, bold achievements, and empowering engagement of the last decade, the conference asked the question: what next – how can we build on this momentum?

Day1 Keynote Quickfire2

Past events in 2017, 2019, and 2022 brought together representatives from over one hundred different stakeholders and organisations, including policy and management agencies, CRIs and IROs, industry and entrepreneurs, communities and NGOs, Māori and iwi, international and influential experts.

The conference provided a wonderful opportunity to connect not just with key decision-makers, thought leaders, the media, sector experts and agency heads, but also with a wide range of Māori leaders, knowledge holders and researchers from across the motu, as well as world-leading researchers and early-career scientists – the implementers of innovation and our future leaders in science.

Day1 Keynote Tamemalcolm

Where did the edgy conference name come from?

The conference series upholds the aspirations of the Kiwi physicist and New Zealander of the Year the late Sir Paul Callaghan, who in 2012 suggested eradicating introduced predators on mainland New Zealand could be our equivalent of the Apollo moon landing. “Let’s get rid of the lot,” he said. “It’s crazy and ambitious but I think it might be worth a shot.” We take inspiration from those words of encouragement. 

We were encouraged too by the late Sir Rob Fenwick, with the conference screening a special video where Rob explores what success will look like for a predator-free New Zealand in 2050.

Day1 Keynote Joshua

Who was speaking at Crazy & Ambitious 4?

Keynote speakers included Tame Malcolm, the Department of Conservation’s Deputy Director-General Treaty Partnerships, Estelle Pura Pera-Leask, an influential figure in bringing Māori voices and expertise to the predator-free quest, Bruce Clarkson NZOM, a leader in restoring indigenous nature in urban areas, and Andrea Byrom, wildlife ecologist and former co-director of BioHeritage, who works on environmental issues at the science-policy-governance interface. 

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Another much-anticipated speaker was Chief Executive of Te Tira Whakāmataki and current BioHeritage co-director Māori Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, a passionate advocate for protecting nature and mātauranga Māori, and forging strategic links with Māori researchers and groups.

Among the world-renowned speakers is University of California watershed engineer Dr. Joshua Viers, an expert in resource management and environmental decision-making, and member of BioHeritage’s International Science Advisory Panel.

Weaving together the speakers and sessions – and ensuring everyone stays aboard the conference waka on the journey – was TV and radio host Stacey Morrison, whose te reo skills and wellbeing focus have ensured the success and seamlessness of previous conferences.

Day1 Whakamana

Who sponsored the conference?

Among the sponsors for Crazy & Ambitious 4 were the University of Canterbury, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Waikato University’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Biosecurity New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Bioprotection Aotearoa, along with Studio C, Icebreaker, Bennetto, Nutrient Rescue, Remix Plastic, Sustained Fun, Zealandia, Orokonui, Predator Free NZ Trust, and Pure Nature.

Day2 Tiaki Protect Talks

Meet our 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 has an extensive 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

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

Estelle Pura Pera-Leask has been an active conservationist for many years – starting when she began volunteering on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. She is involved in raising native plants, habitat restoration, predator control, and caring for native birds, with her roles ranging from trapping pests to inspiring leadership. This work was nationally recognised with her being named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to conservation and Māori in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

A Director on the Board of Predator Free 2050, Estelle is chair of the Bluff Hill Motupōhue Environment Trust, a trustee on the Predator Free New Zealand, and Kea Conservation trusts, a member of the Southland Conservation Board, and a mana whenua representative at Environment Southland. She works with DOC as Murihiku Iwi Liaison for Predator Free Rakiura, and as a Senior Environmental Advisor for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Among her many accolades, she helped create jobs employing young people to raise 30,000 trees for restoring the mana of Bluff Hill as part of the Jobs for Nature programme.
Born and raised in Bluff, she learned from an early age the responsibilities of kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga – the Te Ao Māori obligations to protect our unique native biodiversity. As a dedicated kaitiaki of the natural environment, she’s committed to ensuring the voices of Māori are heard and valued in conservation in Aotearoa.

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Professor Joshua Viers

Professor Joshua Viers is a recognised world leader in resource management and environmental decision-making. The watershed engineer gained his PhD in ecology from UC Davis, focusing on the application of new geospatial technologies to watershed sciences. He has a particular interest in agroecology and conservation agriculture, ecosystem and biodiversity inventories, assessment, and restoration, and dealing with climatic change.

At the University of California’s Merced campus (the first American research university of the 21st century), Joshua is the recently appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives where he directs the Valley Institute for Sustainability, Technology, and Agriculture or VISTA. Signature projects for VISTA, which seeks solutions to the most pressing environmental and societal problems, including the Secure Water Future programme and the Farms-Food-Future Innovation initiative.

Underpinning the way he works are three values: inclusive innovation, collaboration and shared values. The parallels with New Zealand’s National Science Challenges mean that Joshua has been a key member of BioHeritage’s International Science Advisory Panel since its inception. He has been a popular speaker at our previous conferences, including at the first Crazy & Ambitious conference in 2017, where he presented on how water is valued and managed in California, drawing from his in-the-field first-hand experiences and expertise in watershed management.

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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.

Tame Malcolm

Tame Malcolm (Te Arawa: Ngāti Tarāwhai, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Ngararanui, Ngāti Whakaue) a keynote speaker for Crazy & Ambitious 4. Tame grew up to the heart of Te Arawa – Rotorua – and showed a keen interest in the forest from an early age. He was encouraged and supported by his parents and wider whānau to pursue this interest through trapping, hunting, wānanga and university. He has worked for regional councils, research institutes, his own pest management company and more recently, the Māori environmental not-for-profit Te Tira Whakamaataki. He is still actively involved in supporting his iwi, hapū, marae and Ahu Whenua Māori trusts – and he still does some hands-on pest management, mainly with his father. He is currently gathering data for his PhD encapsulating his lifelong career and interest in pest management and Te Ao Māori approaches to predator control. 

In 2022, wanting to be able to influence the system at a strategic level, he was appointed the Department of Conservation’s Deputy Director-General Treaty Partnerships, where he supports the organisation in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations in the conservation space. 

Tame is looking forward to speaking at and attending Crazy & Ambitious 4. 

“I am looking forward to connecting with people who have been involved in the challenge’s mission,” says Tame. “It was our love for our taonga that brought many of us together. The research done over these years has had major impact on the way we protect our taonga, and I am looking forward to hearing more about those impacts.” 

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.