California-based regenerative climate technology company Blu3 has signed a trans-Pacific deal with Te Huata Charitable Trust, which represents Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, a New Zealand Iwi (First Nations Tribe). Their agreement creates an enterprise partnership focused on developing a new climate-smart seaweed industry in the South Pacific.
With a leadership team that built the first commercial seaweed farming operations in both Mexico and Alaska, BLU3 now joins forces with Māori partners with plans to deliver a range of ocean-based climate and life science solutions at scale. The partnership will marry advanced aquaculture technology and capacity to rapidly establish and scale value chains from seed to finished product with a significant First Nations seawater and tribal land reservation.
BLU3 and Te Huata have developed a programme to commercialise large-scale seaweed research, nursery and farming activities with several hapu (sub-tribe) reservations within Te Whānau-ā-Apanui – with opportunities to scale up to tens of thousands of hectares of aquaculture activity across the tribal holdings and beyond.
For the Iwi, the impact of climate change, warming seawater and ever-rising sea-levels represent a cause for great concern among these coastal people.
“Our people strive for a legacy for our mokopuna (grandchildren) and future generations, based on our inherited spiritual connection and relationship with Te Taiao (the natural world), manifesting in our tikanga (laws) in our space. And, oriented to the collective benefit and wellbeing for all peoples (including other parts of the natural world), for all things, for all time,” said Rikirangi Gage, CEO, Te Rūnanga o te Whānau and Te Huata trustee.
In addition to providing valuable access to seawater and on-shore facilities, the Iwi will support collaborations with key research institutes and universities with research in the open ocean. The social imperatives to improve community wellbeing with access to education and livelihoods in this new industry have central importance. This investment will not only create meaningful employment opportunities; it will also create better health and welfare outcomes for some of the most vulnerable coastal communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Blu3 will leverage a decade of experience in regenerative seaweed aquaculture, with a team of global experts specialised in commercial seaweed genetics, farm engineering, cultivation, processing and climate technology. Founded in December 2021, the company has working proprietary technologies, plus seaweed product prototypes for blue carbon capture storage & use (BCCSU), green materials and bioenergy. BLU3 has also engaged its life science technology partner Blue Evolution, which brings a growing range of commercial solutions for seaweed products in food, feed, agriculture and biopharma.
“We have great respect for our partners, Te Huata, and the first nations people they represent. Together we have established a unique and extraordinary capability to lead the global seaweed sector in the decades ahead. We see a multi-billion-dollar opportunity emerging in Aotearoa New Zealand, with seaweed receiving increased attention as a strategic and highly scalable climate solutions portfolio. And we share Te Huata’s intention to fulfill this burgeoning industry’s greatest potential to address acute social and environmental needs for future generations. We at BLU3 take great pride in our new role alongside the people of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, and we deeply appreciate their invitation to innovate, build and grow together,” concluded Beau Perry, CEO of BLU3.