People, Cities & Nature/University of Waikato
Rachel Nepia received her PhD from the University of Waikato in 2020, with her work on the impact of introduced honey bees in New Zealand native forest. She is currently the programme manager for People, Cities & Nature in a role including science communication, financial and people managment, and events.
Established in 2016, People, Cities & Nature is a world-leading research programme harnessing expertise from New Zealand and Australia to enhance restoration of indigenous biodiversity in cities.
Urban areas are home to 87 % of the NZ population and 56% of the human population worldwide. Cities are disproportionately affected by ecological challenges, and are critical entry points for foreign pest and weed species. Despite this, cities are a key part of the solution to the global biodiversity crisis and to improved human health. They are a key interface between cultures, and a hub of increasing interest in sustainable living. However, information on how to make urban restoration successful and cost-effective is currently limited.
Our researchers are working in 10 cities across New Zealand gathering data to determine what makes urban restoration successful. People, Cities & Nature has developed and refined best practices and foundational knowledge required for efficient urban restoration. We have cultivated robust relationships with end-users to ensure effective information transfer to local government and community. We believe that restoring nature in urban environments is critical for sustainable, functioning ecosystems, and for human health and wellbeing, and we are working hard to make urban restoration targets achievable in New Zealand and around the world.