Introducing Manu - LINZ's Biosecurity drone

25 May 2015

LINZ’s biosecurity drone has a new name – Manu – thanks to a nationwide competition involving primary school classes around the country.

Anna Wilson (10) from Waterloo School in Lower Hutt – with help from Holly Devos (9) and Lauren Grigsby (10) – picked the name because manu in Māori means bird. 

“Birds fly like drones, and birds watch things from above just like drones,” the girls explained. Their creative flair has won them a computer tablet and their class a GoPro camera. The girls received their prizes from Minister for Land Information Louise Upston last Friday.

“It was a difficult decision,” says Geoff O’Malley, Principal Analyst in LINZ’s New Zealand Geospatial Office. “We received almost 200 entries from schools around the country. There were lots of great names – and equally great explanations for them!”

The Name the Drone competition was run as part of the “High Country Hi-Tech” Virtual Field Trip, which was held two weeks ago in the Mackenzie Basin (12 to 14 May). Participating schools followed along online with two teachers as they travelled around the Mackenzie, filming stories about how geospatial technology is being applied in the field, from farming to pest control to tourism. 

Manu took centre stage on the first day of the field trip, with students learning how the drone helps LINZ monitor and map wilding conifer infestations in this area. As well as learning about our biosecurity work, students also learned how Department of Conservation staff use mobile mapping, and saw how GPS is used for farming and outdoor recreation.

LINZ has been sponsoring the LEARNZ Virtual Field Trips for the last three years, and won the People and Community Award at the inaugural New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards last year for this work. “High Country Hi-Tech” is the first of a new three-year series of virtual field trips.

LINZ’s Senior Portfolio Manager (Biosecurity) Dave Mole says the new name is just right: “It’s short and sweet, and describes perfectly what we’re using Manu for. We’re rapt!”