MAF Biosecurity New Zealand: Check, Clean, Dry

Shortly after the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry established its biosecurity group – MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) – the invasive aquatic pest didymo was detected in fresh waterways in the South Island.

MAFBNZ needed to act decisively to stop the pest spreading throughout New Zealand – particularly to the North Island.

There were no scientific means to eradicate didymo and traditional pest control methods were not appropriate. Human behaviour would be the cause of didymo spreading.

SenateSHJ was engaged to help deliver a social marketing program aimed at changing the behaviour of waterway users – and stopping the spread of didymo.

We worked with MAFBNZ to implement a multi-layered campaign which ensured the diverse target audiences would hear repeatedly, and from many different sources, what they needed to do and why.

Using a wide range of social marketing techniques, the campaign asks waterway users to check, clean and dry equipment and clothing when moving between waterways.

The program took a community-based approach, targeting high-risk water-user groups through people and the organisations and publications that influenced them.

The general public and international visitors were reached through mainstream media, traveller publications, location information and events.

The program, created in 2005 as an incursion response, transformed into a long-term management program which continues to enforce the Check, Clean, Dry message.

Didymo has not yet been detected in the North Island.