Kane McElrea, Biosecurity manager — Partnerships and Strategy

Biosecurity’s major win

by Ann van Engelen

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 to recognise an emerging leader (under 35 years) whose work has positively influenced community-based pest control initiatives.

“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,” says SOLGM’s chief executive Karen Thomas.

Mr McElrea says he enjoys supporting 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 are 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 is a lot of hard work going on at grass roots level right around the region, and it is great to see the positive results coming through.”

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

“It is 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,” says NRC chair Penny Smart.

“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.”