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Wednesday, November 24 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room C6 - Parallel Session Two: Agrifood STS

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Chair: Chris Rosin

1:30pm - 1:50pm

ASSEMBLING THE TEAM OF 5 MILLION: SOCIO-TECHNICAL RELATIONS IN AOTEAROA-NEW ZEALAND’S BIOSECURITY SYSTEM
Sarah Edwards


Aotearoa-New Zealand’s “team of 5 million” is frequently mobilised to defend the nation’s borders from the biological threats posed by pests, pathogens and weeds. While this need for a team approach has been central to the recent Covid-19 pandemic response, it has been evident in biosecurity policy for some years, as exemplified by the Biosecurity 2025 strategy: Ko Tātou/This is us. But in addition to the ongoing focus on people, there is an ever-increasing array of technologies that are being developed to meet biosecurity goals. Through an examination of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, I will conceptualise Aotearoa-New Zealand’s “team of 5 million” as an assemblage of social and technical elements. In doing so I will also consider how biosecure borders do not simply exist at the periphery of the nation state, but are made and remade at sites within the its


1:50pm - 2:10pm
PERCEPTIONS AND ACCEPTABILITY OF NANOTECHNOLOGY IN THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY
Nikolai Siimes


This Masters project investigates current perceptions on nanotechnology use by various actors connected to the production, marketing, and sale of wine. Nanotechnologies potentially offer an improvement to conventional vineyard inputs, with overseas examples being developed in plant nutrition and pest and disease management. Despite these promises, their acceptability by a variety of key actors involved in the social construction and material production of wine in New Zealand is uncertain. One concern is for the reputation of New Zealand wine through an association with nanotechnology. There are questions about how global nanotechnological developments might enter New Zealand practices, and what this means for, for example, understandings of terroir. This project seeks to understand the technical and market acceptability of these nanotechnological solutions to a range of ‘wine production problems’ by elucidating the downstream perception and acceptability of their use. Perceptions and attitudes of New Zealand wine producers, viticulturists, marketers, wine writers, sommeliers, and retailers (as ‘market makers’) are gathered through semi-structured interviews, and their perceptions and attitudes examined with respect to stakeholder type, region, and market share as well as contextualised in an international setting. This research is a work in progress, and I will report on recent findings.


2:10pm - 2:30pm

TEMPORALITY OF DATA AND THE PURSUIT OF QUALITY: THE LIVELINESS OF DRY MATTER IN THE KIWIFRUIT SECTOR
Chris Rosin, Matthew Henry & Sarah Edwards


Considering data as a participant in the agro-environmental everyday, we apply the concepts of infrastructing, performativity and ferality to the measurement of dry matter as an indicator of quality in the kiwifruit sector. While desirable in international markets, New Zealand kiwifruit faced complaints from East Asian markets about the inconsistent flavour of its gold variety. Known for differentiating fruit to meet distinct market preferences, the sector quickly determined that the dry matter percentage of fruit was a good indicator of its taste qualities. The data generated by drying a random sample from an orchard was established as an objective measure of fruit quality; as noted elsewhere, however, this data is no neutral intermediary. The disruptive potential of dry matter was firmly established in 2020, when the laboratory conducting dry matter assessments stopped providing the service. Finding alternative means of disaggregating fruit for high-value markets exposed the social, economic, political and environmental possibilities that the data both enabled and foreclosed. In this paper temporality and data act as entry points to examine the infrastructuring of kiwifruit provisioning, the performativity of orchard practice and the ferality of data as it alters the social, economic and environmental relations in the sector.


Wednesday November 24, 2021 1:30pm - 2:30pm NZDT
C6