In mid 2017 Oamaru veterinarian Dr Merlyn Hay noticed cows and calves on a South Canterbury property displaying unusual and distressing symptoms.
Her dogged determination to find the cause of their illness lead to the identification of the presence of Mycoplasma bovis in New Zealand.
Her actions are credited with helping limit the scale of the disease and ensuring New Zealand has a chance of eradicating the disease.
She was honoured this week at the inaugural Primary Industries Summit gala dinner in Wellington for her 'tenacity and professionalism'.
This comes in the same week that the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries apologised to farmers for the way the Ministry handled the programme to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis.
As of the end of May, 101,097 cattle have been culled, 171 farms are confirmed to have the disease, and 512 remain under active surveillance.