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Final meeting for a collaborative programme

The Beyond Myrtle Rust Programme held their fifth and final Advisory Group and Annual General Meeting on 12 October. The meeting was a celebration of all the hard work done over the last five years.

There were 16 talks on a variety of topics – including potential biocontrol agents, environmental drivers of myrtle rust infection, kaitiakitanga and Māori led solutions, disease behaviour and the management of myrtle rust in natural areas. Presenters and attendees hailed from CRIs, research organisations, iwi, government organisations, and universities. There were also two student presentations, one on seed-borne endophytes of pōhutukawa and one on the importance of aka vines to Māori.

The diversity of the topics and organisations represented at the meeting highlighted what programme leader Mahajabeen Padamsee calls one of the most critical successes of both the programme and of myrtle rust research generally in New Zealand: collaboration.

“The work being presented today has been reliant on past work and on continued collaborations with colleagues across New Zealand and Australia who are all passionate about protecting our myrtles,” said Maj.

This sentiment was echoed by attendee and speaker Beccy Ganley, principal scientist at Plant & Food Research and leader of the national programme Ngā Rākau Taketake administered by the BioHeritage National Science Challenge.

“Being part of myrtle rust research has been the best example of collaboration I have experienced so far in my career and an exemplar of how research should be done in New Zealand,” said Beccy.

Beyond Myrtle Rust will conclude in June 2024. We will be sharing everything we’ve learned over the course of the programme on social media in the months to come. If you’re curious about their outputs, please follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook .