Covid-19 Update

SPS Biosecurity will be deemed an Essential Business during the Level 4 emergency but please note the following changes:

  • Pest Surveillance and Transitional Facility support functions will continue.
  • AP and TFO classroom training is suspended for 4 weeks. We are currently developing e-learning options with MPI and will update this message when they are available to you.
  • Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

From the SPS team, please keep safe.

Auckland Forest Surveillance Work

A forest surveillance field day in Riverhead Forest, Auckland.
Each year the SPS Biosecurity surveillance team spend time together coordinating surveillance methods and maintaining currency in the technical requirements for pest and disease detection.


Island Biosecurity

To help prevent hitchhiker pests travelling to Chatham Islands regular air and shipping services receive biosecurity checks and treatments. Pests common in other parts of New Zealand, including wasps and invasive ants are not present on the Chatham but are regularly intercepted and on freight.


Pest control contractor Flick conduct a residual insecticide treatment of in the cargo hold and cabin of a Convair 580 belonging to Air Chathams.

Great Willowherb

SPS Biosecurity was contracted to carryout delimitation surveys and mapping for Great Willowherb in North Canterbury, New Zealand. This highly invasive pest plant easily disperses by both seed and aggressive rhizome growth, allowing it to establish in pristine wetlands.

The SPS team searched wetland areas for this pest plant and conducted follow up inspections as part of the investigation and tracing process.

Great Willowherb Factsheet PDF

Plant in full seed with some distinctive flowers still present  Large area of wetland covered in Great Willowherb Plants growing in a roadside ditch over 3m tall
 Pristine wetland where Great Willowherb was found Rhizome on a plant growing on the edge of a gravel pit lake


MPI Media Relaease


Australian forest and timber insects are common introductions to New Zealand

New Zealand trees and forests are only a four-hour flight away from Australian pests and diseases.

These can either be simply blown across the Tasman Sea or arrive as ‘hitchhikers’ that manage to evade the Ministry for Primary Industries strict border biosecurity.

Some of the most common insects that SPS Biosecurity find during detection surveys, include wood-borers and foliage feeders of eucalyptus.

Over the past five years two new paropsine beetles, Paropsisterna beata and Paropsisterna variicollis have been detected. Both the adults and larvae of these types of beetles feed on eucalyptus foliage. Established pests that have been in the country for a while, also continue to be detected by the team in new regions. The gum emperor moth Opodiphthera eucalypti and wood-boring longhorn beetle Epithora dorsalis, are just two examples that continue to increase their range across New Zealand.

The most recent new introduction on eucalyptus is the red gum lerp psyllid Glycaspis brimblecombei. This was found by one of our directors in North Canterbury in 2017.


Island Biosecurity Plans


Islands usually have unique flora and fauna and are also often free of many pests found on larger land masses.

SPS Biosecurity specializes in developing border biosecurity plans for islands. We have a good track record of managing both marine and terrestrial biosecurity risks related to human activity.Recently SPS has developed Biosecurity and Quarantine Plans for construction companies, consulting engineers, aid and development programmes, shipping companies and Government agencies.

Recent projects

 - Shipment of quarried products to Norfolk Island. Developing a Biosecurity Plan and procedures

 - Wharf development - Pitt Island. Biosecurity Plan, verification and operational implementation

 - Wharf and industrial development Waitangi, Chatham Island. Biosecurity Plan, verification and operational implementation

 - Agricultural equipment shipments to Savai’i, Samoa. Biosecurity Plan and operational implementation

 - Full border-biosecurity delivery, Chatham Islands. Biosecurity Plan, verification, operational implementation, training and extension (public and industry)

 - Marine biosecurity. Risk Management for vessels traveling to sensitive areas. Biosecurity Plan, verification and operational implementation

 - Cocoa sector Biosecurity Plan for the island of Samar, Philippines (scheduled for 2018)


  Treatment of a container before loading for Pitt Island.
Client - Downer NZ

Earth-moving equipment cleaned, inspected and approved
for shipment to the Chatham Islands.
Client - Memorial Park Alliance

     McCallum Brothers barge and tug ready to sail to
the Chatham Islands after hull anti-fouling
and inspection.
Client - McCallum Bros


  Representatives of the Australian engineering consultancy 
firm Advisian discuss biosecurity protocols SPS Biosecurity,
to ship pest-free aggregate to Norfolk Island.
Client - Advisian

Pre-cast concrete breakwater blocks ready to be treated
for potential ant and plague skink infestation before shipping to
a NZ off-shore island.
Client - HEB Construction
Large working barges and tugs at anchor in Port Hutt,
Chatham Islands, waiting for a hull bio-fouling inspection.
Client – Environment Canterbury, Herron Construction.


Inspection dive to assess hull fouling levels at Port Hutt,
Chatham Islands.
Client - Herron Construction.

One tonne bags of aggregate for making concrete
ready for loading. SPS Biosecurity has developed
biosecurity protocols for quarries, quarried product and
construction sites to adequately manage pest risk.
Client - Fulton Hogan Ltd

New nursery shade houses arrive in
Savai’i Samoa. A Biosecurity and Quarantine Plan
was developed for the shipments to stop new pests
arriving and damaging cocoa plantations in Samoa.
Whittaker’s Chocolate, NZ Foreign Affairs and Trade


Cocoa Plantation Pest Survey - Western Savai'i Samoa

SPS Biosecurity recently conducted a tree health and pest assessment for the cocoa sector in Western Savai’i, Samoa.

Aerial UAV assessments and follow up ground surveys looked at the influence or potential negative influence that pests and diseases might have on cocoa Theobroma cacao. The tree health symptomatic survey was conducted at seven plantation sites across Western Savai’i and one cocoa nursery. The survey confirmed that pest and disease influence was generally low and the overall number of introduced pest species and new encounter interactions was also low.

The ‘heirloom’ Trinitario variety of cocoa grown on Western Savai’i is known to suffer significant losses due to pests in other countries. Stopping new pest agents arriving will be an important part of building resilience for farmers and the growing sector. 

SPS Biosecurity has also developed a Biosecurity Plan to address biosecurity risk pathways and reduce the chances of ‘hitchhiker’ cocoa pests arriving.


Healthy cocoa pods ready for husking 


A plume moth pupae. Larvae of this moth cause  significant
'shot hole' feeding damage to foliage

Early stages of black pod disease. This is the most serious
  cocoa disease in Western Savai'i


SPS Biosecurity managed the border biosecurity for a $53m wharf development on the Chatham Islands

For the $53m rebuild of the Waitangi wharf on the Chatham Islands SPS Biosecurity worked with the construction group; Memorial Park Alliance, Chatham Island Council and Environment Canterbury to ensure new pests were not transported to the Islands. The biosecurity management plan catered for an expected 7000 tons of freight to be shipped by sea and included both marine and terrestrial biosecurity.