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FT-May17-eMag 7 NEWS SNIPS Myrtle rust, a fungal disease which can seriously damage native and introduced plants in the myrtle family including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, and feijoa, has been detected at a nursery in Northland Fresh Start with Nadia is the brand-new product range from My Food Bag designed specifically for people who want to lose and manage their weight Robin Lilley (34) is the new head chef at Crowne Plaza Queenstown, with the Canadian looking forward to showcasing his knowledge of international cuisine SkyCity restaurant manager Fuminobu (Fumi) Nakatani is believed to be the first and only New Zealand professional awarded an international qualification in saké from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) N E W S TARGETTING TINY TERRORS IN THE PACIFIC FOODCO TO EXPAND LOCALLY With plans afoot to expand its national operations in 2017, Australasia’s leading food and coffee franchise business retailer Foodco has appointed a new general manager to lead the charge as the company enters a significant growth phase. Current national operations manager Jon Hassall will take on the top job, replacing former general manager Garry Croft, who will move into an executive director position. Hassall brings a wealth of experience to the general manager role, including several senior FMCG positions in the UK. He was previously managing director at Hummus Bros UK, worked in the cafe and bakery sector at AMT coffee, Patisserie Valerie and as a consultant to one of the largest contract caterers in the UK, Baxterstorey. Foodco operates more than 400 Muffin Break and all-day dining Jamaica Blue cafés across New Zealand, Australia, the UK, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE, with plans to significantly expand the Muffin Break and Jamaica Blue brands in New Zealand over the next few years. “Muffin Break is already a well-regarded brand in New Zealand that will continue to grow this year,” Hassell says. “We have four great sites coming to the market right now in central and south Auckland and the Coromandel. As well as expanding the number of stores, we are increasing the quality of service, improving the menu and focusing on coffee. Franchisee support will only strengthen this. Earlier this year we opened another Jamaica Blue cafe in Greenlane hospital, and are actively looking for franchisee partners for two Auckland CBD sites and in Queenstown, as well as a number of other high-profile, high-footfall locations around the country.” Ants in New Zealand might be annoying, but in the Pacific invasive ant species are tiny terrors that are destroying food crops, blinding pets and livestock, and forcing people off their land. Pacific Biosecurity, a non-profit organisation operating out of Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Biological Sciences, is halfway through a five-year project funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme to improve capacity to deal with invasive ants. And the researchers involved say the results so far are positive. “We’ve been collaborating with regional and in-country partners over the past two years to control yellow crazy ants on Atafu, Tokelau and eradicate them in Kiritimati, Kiribati,” Pacific Biosecurity’s programme manager Dr Monica Gruber says. “We are delighted to report that we have significantly reduced ant numbers so that they are no longer causing problems.” The acid-spraying yellow crazy ants are capable of mass attack and kill animals more than 500 times their size—including crabs and nesting seabirds and their chicks—posing a significant threat to local ecosystems. “Despite the huge impact of these pests, communities weren’t able to do anything to manage the ant populations because they couldn’t afford pesticides or other methods of ant control,” Gruber says. The Pacific Invasive Ant Toolkit is a website and a collection of resources designed to help biosecurity staff, consultants, village councils and homeowners to prevent and control invasive ants in the Pacific, and is being rolled out to in-country and regional agency partners through a series of workshops. “The results we’ve experienced, and the feedback we’ve been getting, show that our work is having a positive impact,” Gruber says. “Our in-country partners appreciate the resources we’ve created to enable them to more easily identify invasive ants, carry out risk assessments, and undertake programmes to control invasive ants.” Pacific Biosecurity will also be using some of the New Zealand Aid Programme funding to deal with the yellow crazy ant problem in Tuvalu. Additionally, later in the year, the team will work with colleagues from the Biosecurity and Trade Support Team at the Pacific Community (SPC) to implement an integrated pest management programme for mealybugs in Fakaofo, Tokelau. More than just the print. • Video • Galleries • eMotion • Interactivity

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