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HAZA409 New Organisms: Risk Assessment and Management

New organisms in New Zealand: historical and legislative view; entry of new organisms; examples of risk assessment and management systems for established, new and potential organisms, including genetically modified organisms.

The impact of the introduction of new organisms to New Zealand - past, present and future - has been, and continues to be, huge. This paper provides an insight into the management of these organisms and the impacts they have on both society and the environment. Learn about the biosecurity requirements in New Zealand and the role of the Environmental Protection Authority in managing new organisms (including genetically modified organisms), imports and developments.

Paper title New Organisms: Risk Assessment and Management
Paper code HAZA409
Subject Hazard Assessment and Management
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,012.90
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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HAZX 409
Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in Hazard Assessment and Management must either be a graduate or holder of a professional qualification that has required at least three years of tertiary-level study or have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Board. The Board will require evidence of ability to undertake advanced academic study.

Teaching staff

To be confirmed

Paper Structure

This paper is divided into a series of modules and includes an on-site workshop.These will progressively introduce concepts and knowledge in a coherent manner, with self-test exercises and formal assessments as you reach appropriate milestones.

  • Module 1: Introduction - An overview of the history of new organisms in New Zealand. This will include problems that have arisen from the introduction of new organisms to New Zealand and strategies in place to deal with existing incursions and prevent further problems. It will also include discussion of genetically modified organisms, their potential uses and the problems associated with their release and use
  • Module 2: Regulatory and compliance requirements associated with new organisms - This module will include a description of the legislation and standards associated with new organisms in New Zealand, as well as the organisations responsible for the enforcement of the legislation. The fundamentals of risk assessment will be discussed
  • Module 3: New organisms that have become established in New Zealand - This module will describe microorganisms, plants and animals that have established in New Zealand and the strategies that have been developed to deal with these
  • Module 4: Entry of new organisms into New Zealand - This module will include border control strategies at ports of first arrival, use of unwanted organisms registers, risk profiling of arriving goods and ships, reporting hotline, import permits, containment and transitional facilities, Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approvals to import new organisms and predictive studies to identify new organisms that have the potential to arrive in New Zealand
  • Module 5: Genetically modified organisms (new organisms) - This module will include import of genetically modified organisms, development of genetically modified organisms within containment, field trials of genetically modified organisms, release from containment of genetically modified organisms, associated roles of EPA, Institutional Biological Safety Committees (IBSCs) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
  • Module 6: Workshop - This will be a skills-based practicum in which students will experience field/lab-based aspects of dealing with new organisms
  • Module 7: Case study - Students will choose a case study involving new organisms. Students will be able to choose a case study scenario describing either a potential or actual biosecurity risk or will prepare a conditional release application for a new organism using an EPA application form. All case studies will involve the student preparing a risk assessment
Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

Self-learning is the pedagogical basis for the paper, with students being directed to material rather than detailed lecture notes being provided. The paper is web-based, allowing individuals to learn and assimilate at their own pace. Teaching materials, assignments and assessments are mostly in a web-based format using the University of Otago's Blackboard platform. The paper is taught over a 20-week period.


There is no final examination. The final mark is based on assessments during the paper:

  • Two assignments (20% each)
  • Workshop assignment (10%)
  • Case study (50%)

Assignment due dates will be confirmed at the start of the paper but are normally as follows:

  • Assignment 1 due end of week 6
  • Assignment 2 due end of week 12
  • Case study due end of week 20
There are no textbooks recommended for this paper. Most of the material will be accessed from Blackboard. This includes instructions, announcements, text files, exercises and assignments.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Gain topic knowledge associated with accidental, deliberate and planned introductions of new organisms into New Zealand and the impacts these have on society and the environment
  • Have knowledge of the legislation associated with new organisms in New Zealand and also how to prepare documentation associated with bringing new organisms into New Zealand or developing new organisms in New Zealand
  • Gain functional knowledge through the design and preparation of a research-based case study that will embody the principles of risk assessment and management and will be able to communicate the interactions of the law requirements associated with the introduction of new organisms to New Zealand
  • Gain discipline knowledge through participating in a workshop where specific skills associated with the introduction of new organisms to New Zealand will be applied

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system