From pest seaweed to future food

Published: 02 September 2019

How the Innovative Partnerships Programme is connecting Kiwi and Japanese edible seaweed companies to tackle the ‘gorse of the sea’.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visiting Wakame Fresh

MBIE’s Innovative Partnerships Programme team were thrilled to celebrate the successful launch of a collaborative ‘trial supply project’ between NZ future food start-up Wakame Fresh and two Japanese edible seaweed companies on Friday.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visited Coromandel-based Wakame Fresh to announce they would receive $75,000 of funding through the Government’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) to investigate the commercial viability of turning undaria, an invasive pest seaweed, into a high value export industry.

Read RadioNZ’s coverage of the story(external link)

Innovative Partnerships Strategic Programme Manager Seishi Gomibuchi was instrumental in facilitating the collaboration by connecting prospective Japanese importers with Wakame Fresh CEO Lucas Evans and Victoria University and NIWA researchers.

In the long-term, Mr Gomibuchi has said he would like to see Wakame Fresh’s success lead to the establishment of a high-value indigenous seaweed aquaculture industry and Innovative Partnerships will continue to work with Wakame Fresh and other parties to make this vision a reality. 

Find out more about MBIE’s Innovative Partnerships Programme