Novel Tools and Strategies

Novel tools, technologies and strategies need to be deployed to eradicate biotic threats.

At A Glance:

Invasive species continue to change native ecosystems in Aotearoa through competition, predation, infection and habitat alteration. Biological invasions also have large economic impacts on our primary industries, as well as cultural and social impacts on our people.

New Zealand’s biosecurity systems are not well enough equipped to deal with emerging threats in an ever-changing global environment.

We need to be able to intercept more biosecurity threats that appear at our airports, mail centres and seaports, before they enter the environment, establish, and spread. We also need better tools and strategies to deal with pests that have already breached our border and set up shop.

Teams investigating Novel Tools & Strategies are working towards creating a better biosecurity network of 5 million through three very different projects, while supporting the mahi (work) of those already working hard in this field.

By authentically partnering with mana whenua and involving end-users throughout the research and design phase, this investment aims to enable real, ‘on the ground’ change for New Zealand’s biosecurity system.


1. Pokapū Ipurangi Whakamātaki: A virtual biosecurity hub

The Pokapū team is designing a way to streamline and collaboratively develop methods to combat pathogens and pests. By co-designing the hub with mana whenua and key end users, effective and socially-accepted tools and strategies can be proposed, peer-reviewed and then either ‘fail fast’ or get support for development.

The hub will act as a central platform to unite our fragmented biosecurity landscape. It will involve key end users as active participants in a ‘fast fail’ approach to development of tools, and support mana whenua to enable more authentic partnership and co-design.

The team have already run a “test-bed” workshop with Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital (TMBC) to test and then refine the design of the hub. The next stage is to trial real projects through TMBC over the next few months and to finalise a “co-design evolution framework” that can eventually be rolled out at a national scale.

BioHeritage/TMBC joint workshop in July 2020. Image: TMBC.


Diane Berghan

Ngati Pūkenga, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Hau

Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital

Bill Dyck

BioHeritage, Science Technology Broker

2. Supporting a Predator Free 2050

Invasive vertebrate predators, such as stoats, rats and possums, are currently being controlled with tools that can be difficult or prohibitively expensive to use at a landscape scale, with some potentially also having undesirable effects such as non-target impacts.

If we are to achieve the goal of ‘Predator Free 2050’ we need to control pests in a smarter way. That’s why this research team is focused on developing new tools, technologies and strategies to help eradicate small mammalian predators by 2024.


Dr Shaun Ogilvie

Te Arawa (Ngāti Whakahemo), Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Pukeko) 

Eco Research Associates Ltd

Dr Chris Jones

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

3. Invertebrates

Many of our current pest control strategies have unintended and detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. For example, heavy reliance on pesticides can result in non-target kill of native or beneficial invertebrates.

We need new tools to effectively control pests while avoiding these unwanted side-effects.

The ‘Novel Tools & Strategies – Invertebrates’ team aims to develop a new, landscape scale, invertebrate pest management tool by 2024.

While doing working towards this goal, they are partnering with iwi and hapū to understand how new pest control tools and enhance kaitiakitanga and promote tino rangatiratanga. 

They have already conducted a broad survey with key industries, stakeholders and Māori groups to help shape the next four years of research. Their work will build on the BioHeritage Tranche 1 research into novel tools and technologies to combat wasps.


Dr Phil Lester

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Ocean Mercier

Ngāti Porou

Victoria University of Wellington

Symon Palmer

Ngāi Te Rangi

Victoria University of Wellington

Upcoming Activities:

Pokapū Ipurangi Whakamātaki

  • Work with software developer to scope and plan the hub. 
  • Develop a “co-design framework” to be used to evaluate ideas presente to the hub. 
  • Pilot a hub protype with mana whenua and others using real project ideas. 
  • Initiate research to better understand potential barriers to uptake.  

Supporting a Predator Free 2050

  • Work closely to co-design future research with partners and stakeholders through conferences, workshops and end-user technical groups.
  • Develop a working group to accelerate development of smart pest control technology.
  • Partner with mātauranga Māori experts to investigate a culturally acceptable pest control toxin.
  • Begin development of at least one broadly applicable, non-fence option for defending large-scale, multi-pest eradication sites.
  • Investigate the potential of new, species-specific toxins.


  • Work to assemble the right teams to achieve the project aims and targets. 
  • Select the appropriate target pest. 
  • Select a novel technology for the control of the selected pest. 

Research Partners:

  • Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital 
  • Eco Research Associates Limited 
  • Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research 
  • Victoria University of Wellington 
  • PFNZ 2050 

Updated August 2020.

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