Linnaeus Laboratory Gisborne

Drawn from around the world, the talented team at Linnaeus provide the local farming, horticulture, forestry and fishing industries with access to a comprehensive range of diagnostic testing.

Shanna Hickling Manager (BSc)
"I get to see the results we deliver, directly impact the quality of horticultural products."
0800 254 662
027 620 0001

Shanna joined Linnaeus in 2013 after graduating with a bachelor of science in microbiology and genetics. "I finished Massey on Friday, came back home to Gisborne and started at Riversun on Monday!"

And she hasn't looked back. In past few years Shanna has leapt from graduate to researcher to deputy laboratory manager and now heads the Linnaeus team. As deputy lab manager, Shanna was responsible for overseeing lab operations including the ELISA virus-testing programme which involved a meticulous methodology that Shanna sums up as: "Grapevine leaves or canes come into the lab, and results come out stating whether a virus is present or not detected".

Shanna says in her role she particularly enjoys the fact that “you get to see the results we deliver, directly impact the quality of horticultural products.

In 2017 Shanna completed the Horticulture NZ Leadership programme and won the New Zealand Plant Producers 2017 Young Achiever competition going on to take the title of 2017 Young Horticulturist of the Year. In 2018, Shanna was selected as an observer on the Primary Sector Council which provides independent strategic advice to the Government on issues confronting the primary industries.

Dr Eline van Zijll de Jong Molecular Diagnostics Manager (PHD)
"I enjoy using my applied microbiology, plant pathology and molecular biology for the direct benefit of New Zealand’s grape growers."
0800 254 662
021 269 2749

Dr Eline van Zijll de Jong has joined the team at Linnaeus as Molecular Diagnostics Manager. Her primary role is to lead the research, development and implementation of molecular biology diagnostic methods for detection of important pathogens in grapevines, avocado and food. In addition she provides technical and analytical support to Linnaeus’ research programmes in plant and soil health.


Eline has a strong research background in applied plant microbiology and pathology, and the application of molecular biology methods to these areas. As part of her doctoral studies in Australia, she developed molecular genetic markers to uncover novel beneficial fungal grass endophytes. More recently Eline led a research team at Lincoln University to discover microorganisms for biological control of a pest and disease in brassicas.


Eline enjoys applying and advancing her skills in applied microbiology, plant pathology and molecular biology for the direct benefit of New Zealand’s grape growers.

Yvonne Wruck Technician
"The circle is slowly closing for me to have a full view of what’s necessary to make good wine – it all starts in the vineyard."
0800 254 662

Yvonne Wruck joined Linnaeus in 2015, bringing with her significant experience in molecular biology, the wine industry and grapevine propagation. At Linnaeus she is responsible for ELISA testing and involved in R&D.


Returning to Gisborne in 2013 after working for a Greek winery, she set her sights on Linnaeus and says that working here has given her a more complete picture of the wine industry.


Outside of work, Yvonne is kept busy with her three daughters – with whom she enjoys the local beaches, forests and outdoors.

Libby Dalcom Technician (NDS)
“Every day is different and gives me the unrivaled opportunity to help local businesses and individuals provide premium produce to New Zealand and overseas markets.”
0800 254 662

Libby’s role at Linnaeus – testing food and water – gives her an insight into the vast range of produce grown and processed on the East Coast. 


A Gisborne native, Libby returned in 2016 after gaining a National Diploma of Science at CPIT in Christchurch and working in human pathology labs in Perth for eight years. She initially joined Linnaeus’s ELISA team then moved into food and water micro testing.


Outside of the lab, Libby enjoys the outdoors – walking, and exploring the East Coast’s many parks and beaches.

Tom Needham Technician (BSc & MMarcCon)
"I enjoy being able to work in a ‘commercial’ laboratory and put in place what I learnt at university."
0800 254 662

Tom joined Linnaeus in February 2018, after returning home after 4 years study at Victoria University in Wellington where he completed his BSc. Environmental Science & Marine Biology and a MMarcon (Masters in Marine Conservation).

During the university holidays Tom worked in the chillers at Ovation and has also spent many seasons on his family’s rootstock block in Gisborne, bud rubbing, tucking and trimming.

Tom sees his new role with Linnaeus as a stepping stone towards his dream job of working in native ecosystem restoration or long term monitoring of aquatics and marine systems.

As a technician, Tom logs and carries out testing of soil and water and has even had a stint with the R&D team setting up Kiwifruit cutting trials.

Tom says he is enjoying being able to work in a ‘commercial’ laboratory and put in place what he learnt at university. He recognises the potential to expand into different areas at Linnaeus and is learning lots from the variety of testing that comes in every day.

Dion Williams Sampling Technician
“I enjoy the outdoor nature of my job and the varied forms of work it comes in.”
0800 254 662
027 221 9419

Dion’s life revolves around water – both at work where he is mostly out and about collecting samples from across Tairawhiti, including bores, rivers, rainfall stations and trade waste, and at play where he surfs and coaches at Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club.


Dion’s 14 years’ experience in hydrological sampling is underpinned by certifications in water sampling from Opus and river gauging from NIWA.