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Horoirangi Centre Seeks Future for NZ's Industry

Politics Education & academia +1 more

NEW ZEALAND - The Horoirangi Centre for Seafood and Aquaculture Innovation near Nelson aims to find ways to develop the country's seafood and aquaculture industries.

The Horoirangi Centre for Seafood and Aquaculture Innovation is to be located 10 kilometres from the centre of Nelson. According to New Zealand Aquaculture, the concept has been developed by Wakatu Incorporation, a collectively owned Maori whanau business based in Nelson.

Horoirangi aims to fundamentally reshape New Zealand's seafood and aquaculture industry by providing a world class facility where research and development providers, the aquaculture industry and commercial enterprises work collaboratively towards growing our export earnings.

"The New Zealand government has set a goal for aquaculture to become a $1 billion-plus sector by 2025, but this will not happen by a whim and a prayer," says chief executive, Keith Palmer.

He said: "It will need strong co-ordinated commitment by industry, science, education and local and central government if it is to occur.

"Like all developing industries, aquaculture will need a large capital injection to bring these components together physically, that is a co-ordinated approach to supplying resources and the basic infrastructure to create a platform for science and industry to work together so they can apply research to grow the industry to the benefit of all partners, increase employment regionally and nationally, and provide growth to the nation's GDP."

After several months of consultation with some 50 stakeholder groups and organisations, Wakatu, with assistance from NIWA have developed a business case for the development. Wakatu is leading a joint regional application, with Cawthron Institute, to secure a grant from the Enterprising Partnerships Fund. The immediate focus is to establish key enabling infrastructure assets for a commercial aquaculture zone, and a shared research and development and education campus.

By co-locating research and education providers it is expected that these organisations will be able to provide an improved level of integrated service to industry, and be able to collaborate to increase the speed of innovation that will give New Zealand seafood products a point of difference in the international market.

If Wakatu, together with its partners, is successful in their bid to central government the aquaculture industry will receive the shot in the arm it needs to achieve its target of reaching a one billion turnover by 2025.

"It's about being smarter and being ahead of the global competition so we can demand top prices in high value markets," Mr Palmer told New Zealand Aquaculture.

A decision on the Enterprising Partnership grant is expected by November 2009.

Development work has already been undertaken on various land based algae, shellfish and finfish species which would require an initial 14 hectares of the commercial land to develop full scale production. It is intended to take each species, develop a commercialisation model and provide interested partners the opportunity to participate at ground level.

Wakatu are a people of the land and the sea, and believe that establishing Horoirangi will offer opportunities that fit with the aspirations of its Maori owners and those of NZ Inc.