“We couldn’t do what we do without you”

13 May 2020, 1:24 PM

Working alongside Northland communities to tackle the region’s pest management problems has earned a top leadership award for Kane McElrea, the Northland Regional Council’s Biosecurity Manager – Partnerships and Strategy.

Mr McElrea has won the coveted Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award, made by the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) to recognise an emerging leader (under 35 years) whose work has positively influenced community-based pest control initiatives.

Kane McElrea, Biosecurity Manager – Partnerships and Strategy (NRC).Kane McElrea, Biosecurity Manager – Partnerships and Strategy.

It’s not the first time his outstanding leadership qualities have been recognised – last year he won the emerging leader award at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. He was recognised for his work in forging sustainable community and iwi-led biosecurity programmes, particularly to help protect Northland’s kiwi.

SOLGM’s Chief Executive Karen Thomas said Kane’s passion for and commitment to the local government sector stood out in his application this year and the judges were impressed with the impact of his leadership in the region as well as nationally through his work and connection networks.

“He is a well-deserved winner in a very tough field of applications.”

Mr McElrea says he enjoys being able to support and work with Northlanders in their communities because they are the heart of the regional council’s work to restore and protect the region’s shared environment.

“We’re getting really encouraging results in a relatively short time – more kiwi and other native wildlife are returning to places where people are working collectively on pest control. There’s a lot of hard work going on at grass roots level right around the region and it’s great to see the positive results coming through.”

Among the community empowering initiatives Mr McElrea has introduced, or is part of, are Whangārei Predator Free, Kiwi Coast/NRC Partnership, Tiakina Whangārei and Project Pest Control.

Council chair Penny Smart says it’s great to see staff recognised for their work in biosecurity, which is such a vital part of the regional council’s work on behalf of the community.

“We have a very talented team working in this area where a number of national awards have been won for innovative initiatives introduced in recent years,” she says.

“This is such important work and I’d like to thank all the people voluntarily engaged in the battle to protect our environment from biological threats, including invasive animal and plant pests and diseases. We couldn’t do what we do without you.”