NRDA And Regional Industry Secure Government Seed Funding For The Development Of Moananui – A Blue Economy Cluster

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Moananui: Partnership success between Nelson
Regional Development Agency and regional industry to secure
Government seed funding for new project to strengthen Blue
Economy Cluster

Nelson Regional Development
Agency (NRDA) welcomes the Government’s announcement that
it has received $500,000 over two years from the Sustainable
Food and Fibre Futures Fund for the development of Moananui
– A Blue Economy Cluster.

The establishment of
Moananui will accelerate and leverage the region as a global
leader in creating a highly valuable, regenerative,
collaborative and inclusive blue economy. Moananui is a
partnership between industry, NRDA, Councils, Government and
the community.

The objective of Moananui is to build a
shared competitive advantage, by positioning Nelson Tasman
and New Zealand as a world-leading ecosystem for developing
and commercialising blue economy products, services,
technology, research and capability.

Moananui will
foster a growing number of blue economy organisations and
strengthen connections and collaborations between private
firms, public sector entities and knowledge institutions,
with the objective of transforming New Zealand into a global
leader for blue economy innovation and

The Blue Economy refers to marine
activities that generate economic value and contribute
positively to social, cultural and ecological

Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA is proud of the
work undertaken to get to this point. “Nelson Tasman
accounts for more than 30 percent of New Zealand’s
economic activity in fishing, aquaculture, and seafood
processing, Moananui was identified as an investment
priority that is primed and ready to leverage regional,
inter-regional and international opportunities and make a
major contribution to the national economy. Initiatives such
as this are central to achieving Government’s ambitions to
create a low carbon, socially inclusive and resource
efficient economy.

“The Nelson Regional Development
Agency (NRDA) is the sponsor of this business case and
current host of the Moananui project which developed from an
industry forum held in late 2021, with a direct call for
collaboration. Until now, NRDA has been funding Moananui;
the Government seed-funding will enable two-years of
operations while a sustainable business model for the
cluster is established.” says Wilson.

Nelson Mayor
Nick Smith has welcomed the announcement of Government
funding for Moananui.

“The opportunities for the
Blue Economy are huge for New Zealand with our area of ocean
21 times greater than our land mass. Nelson and Te Tauihu is
the natural home for the development of these ocean
opportunities with over 400 maritime-related businesses
based here,” Mayor Nick says.

“This initiative is
about building on Nelson’s base as New Zealand’s largest
fishing port and being home to the Cawthron Institute to
sustainably grow new jobs and wealth in marine

“The oceans are a new frontier for
economic development internationally and Nelson has the
opportunity to lead the development of New Zealand’s Blue
Economy in a sustainable way,” he says.

challenge in unlocking the promise and potential of New
Zealand’s blue economy is in building collaboration and
fuelling innovation across the sector. By kickstarting
Moananui, we aren’t actually creating a new cluster, we
are simply bringing together what already exists in a way
that accelerates value creation and capitalises on untapped
potential,” says Tasman Mayor, Tim King..

Matthews, Chair of both NRDA and Cawthron Institute, is
excited by the early interest from partners, investment and
project support Moananui has already generated. “A
prerequisite of Government funding was demonstrating support
from industry, with both financial and non-financial
support. The importance of this sector by data, performance
and employment says collaboration – Moananui – is a no
brainer. What may have worked to individual business
advantage in the past is not the template for future
success,” says Matthews.

“Getting to this point
would not have been possible without the support of our
Founding Partners. I would like to thank Port Nelson,
MacLab, Pharamlink, Extracts, Kernohan Engineering, Sealord,
Cawthron, Plant and Food, and Wakatū Incorporation for
supporting Moananui,” says Matthews.

Over this
two-year activation and implementation stage, Moananui will
provide leadership for the blue economy, establish projects,
facilitate investment partnerships, host events and
delegations, investigate accelerator and incubator
programmes, grow the profile of the blue economy, and build
and support membership.

There are similar clusters
operating overseas, which our seafood and aquaculture sector
can tap into.

“New Zealand has a lot to offer and,
equally, there’s a lot we can learn from similar clusters
overseas, such as in USA, Canada, Norway and Iceland.”
Oceans and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said.

new project will help our local businesses establish
connections, stimulate innovation, and attract investors,
This project is a great example of Government working in
partnership with local businesses and regional leaders to
enhance our competitive advantage overseas, create more jobs
to boost the local Nelson Tasman economy, and focus efforts
on low carbon, sustainable initiatives.” Stuart Nash

Stuart Nash said the project is a great fit with
the Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan currently under

“The Fisheries Industry Transformation
Plan is expected to identify the importance of collaboration
across the sector, environmental sustainability, and
innovation to the sector’s success.

“The new
Moananui – Blue Economy Cluster project will be another
step towards turning the plan into action.” Stuart Nash

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