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Senior Scientist - Botany

Ministry for Primary Industries
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Science and Environment
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Job Description

  • Permanent full time opportunity
  • Looking for a highly talented taxonomist with molecular skills
  • 90-105k salary band
  • Auckland based position

The Ministry for Primary Industries' Plant Health & Environment Laboratory (PHEL) in Auckland has a permanent full-time position for an experienced and highly talented plant taxonomist preferably with some molecular skills. The successful candidate will join our post-entry quarantine and botany team to oversee the detection of terrestrial and fresh-water plant samples from border, post-border, incursion investigation and/or response. This is an exciting role, which involves developing identification tools, including molecular based, and providing technical advice in areas of strategic importance to MPI.

The MPI's PHEL is the national reference centre for the identification of all suspected exotic, new and emerging pests and diseases of plants, arthropod pests affecting the environment and also provides diagnostic services to primary industries to facilitate trade. Our team is dedicated, diverse and highly supportive and operates in a busy and varied environment to deliver our core work programme supporting New Zealand's biosecurity system. This role will offer you the variety and the challenge to develop and enhance your scientific leadership skills, whilst driving innovation that will shape our future way of working.

To be successful in this role, you will bring your relevant expertise, initiative and ability to manage relationships, internal and external to MPI. You will be a high performer, highly productive, articulate, focused, and with the ability to get things done in a timely manner to the highest standard. 

Our ideal candidate will be a highly motivated individual with the following qualifications and experience

  • PhD or post graduate qualification in botany, biology or a related discipline
  • Experience in identifying and taxonomically categorising terrestrial and fresh-water plants
  • Knowledge of molecular biology and statistics as applied to plant taxonomy will be an advantage
  • Experience in propagating and growing plants
  • Ability to develop and maintain a herbarium
  • Proven ability to manage complex day-to-day operations
  • Proven ability to be able to continually improve processes and systems
  • Proven project management, planning and organisational skills
  • A team player with proven experience in developing positive relationships with internal and external customer and stakeholders across a large, complex business environment
  • Proven ability to use initiative and perform in an often ambiguous environment
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills with a proven ability to adapt quickly to meet audience needs
  • Ability to participate in strategic planning
  • An interest in furthering their professional development

To apply for this role you must hold the right to work in New Zealand or be eligible to obtain it. To view the position description and/or apply for the role please click “APPLY NOW” or visit the MPI Careers Site.

For tracking and reporting purposes, all applications must be submitted through our online careers portal.

For detailed information on this role please refer to the position description on the MPI careers page or contact


Applications close on Sunday 10th November 2019


The Ministry for Primary Industries is committed to providing a working environment that embraces and values inclusion and diversity. Your unique talents and experience will help us deliver exceptional services to our communities in Aotearoa. In return you'll enjoy an inclusive and flexible working environment in a diverse team of people while you're growing your career here in NZ and internationally. We actively encourage applications from all backgrounds. If you have any support or access requirements, we encourage you to tell us when you apply so that we can assist you through the recruitment process.

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