In a virtual signing on Friday, 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 Chairman, Chris Karamea Insley, says the industry is facing a range of significant challenges to the marine environment, including water quality, sedimentation runoff, plastics, increased regulation, declining wildstock fisheries and climate change.
“With this MOU, we bring together thousands of science and technology experts across these institutes to build a world class and sustainable marine and aquaculture industry across the Waiariki region.”
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.”
Cawthron Institute Chief Executive, Volker Kuntzsch, says: “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.
“Our organisation wanted to be a signatory in support of mātauranga and the importance of having enduring relationships with whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori enterprise.”
Mr Kuntzsch 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.”