BOP iwi and NZ scientists sign marine agreement

A virtual signing of the MOU took place on Friday morning. Photos / Supplied

A Bay of Plenty iwi collective is working with five national research institutes to collectively develop a large scale $20 million multi-year funding agreement with the government to grow the aquaculture industry in the region.

In a virtual signing on Friday morning, a Memorandum of Understanding - MOU - was entered into by Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki, Plant & Food Research, Cawthron Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the universities of Otago and Waikato.

The purpose of the MOU is to enable better collaboration, data sharing and funding to explore potential marine, science and technology business opportunities.

BOP Iwi Aquaculture Project Leader, Chris Karamea Insley, says he is pleased by the level of enthusiasm and commitment shown by the five research institutes.

“With this MOU, we acknowledge the joint mission of improving and growing aquaculture opportunities in the Bay of Plenty.

“Research institutes and iwi committing to working collaboratively on this iwi-led kaupapa is significant for Māori, our region and New Zealand as a whole.

“We also acknowledge we have a better chance of securing significant Crown funding by working collaboratively towards our shared goals, which includes sharing available data and knowledge.

“Securing a $10-$20m multi-year funding agreement with the government would allow the parties in this MOU to work towards building a truly sustainable aquaculture industry in the Waiariki region.”

Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Volker Kuntzsch signing the MOU. Photo: Supplied.

Plant & Food Research General Manager Science – Seafood Technologies, Helen Mussely, says the MOU represents a crucial first step towards these organisations working together for a common purpose - realising the potential of aquaculture for Ngā Iwi i te Rohe o Te Waiariki.

“Plant & Food Research welcomes the opportunity to be involved in such an exciting and future-focused initiative and is looking forward to playing its role in the mahi ahead.”

University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), Professor Richard Blaikie, says the signing is an important step forward for its Department of Food Science.

“The University is proud to be part of this relationship, and it is one we believe will significantly benefit all groups involved.

“We have had a longstanding relationship with Te Arawa, and this agreement is a great opportunity for us to continue that great work with Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki.”

University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bryony James, says the university values its relationship with Te Arawa, and all the partners of this MOU.

“We are excited by this new direction and the opportunities offered by collaboration in the aquaculture sector," says Professor Bryony James.

“The signing of this MOU is a significant event for Cawthron because it further recognises our relationship with all of the iwi represented by Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki and demonstrates our desire to work together, both with other research partners in NZ and with iwi to get the best outcomes for Māori in this region," says Cawthron Institute Chief Executive, Volker Kuntzsch.

“Our organisation wanted to be a signatory in support of mātauranga and the importance of having enduring relationships with whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori enterprise.”

Volker says there is no better time for science and industry to come together.

“We are facing a lot of challenges but equally there are a lot of opportunities and I am thankful for Chris bringing us together.

“I believe we will be able to set an example for the rest of Aotearoa of what industry and science collaboration can look like and achieve.”

NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan says the MOU presented an exciting opportunity to partner with Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki.

“NIWA brings aquaculture, marine, fisheries and coastal science expertise to support iwi aspirations of building a sustainable world-class marine and aquaculture industry in the Waiariki region," says John.

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