Mihi mai, karanga mai!
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The theme for NETS2024 is Maintaining the Gains – Puritia te Aronga.
Puritia te aronga means to retain or hold actively onto the focus or direction, and that’s what we need to do with any long term biosecurity goal.
This theme is inspired by the hura te ao gecko (Mokopirirakau galaxias), a new species first discovered in 2018 in North Otago. Hura te ao geckos are found only in the Oteake Conservation Park on the northern boundary of Otago, not far from the Macraes Conservation area specializing in lizard protection.They are alpine specialists that live and hide in the deeply fractured and deeply creviced greywacke outcrops, tors, bluffs, boulder fields and talus slopes of North Otago. They are insectivores, feeding on moths, spiders, weta and other invertebrates co-existing within these greywacke alpine tussock environments. Hura te ao geckos are nationally endangered, with low abundance and a restricted known range. The main threats they face are invasive predatory mammals, such as cats, ferrets, stoats, rats and mice, and they could also be vulnerable to poaching, climate change and loss of habitat.
While we often can clearly identify native flora and fauna that benefit from long term biosecurity projects, hura te ao geckos are a reminder that the work we are doing, and the focus and direction we need to maintain, may well be protecting more treasures that we have not yet discovered.