Ngā rāngai hou | Emerging sectors

Technology and innovation

Growing technology and innovation-focused sectors in Marlborough:

  • agritech, particularly viticultiure-related technology
  • aquatech, such as Sanford’s Bioactives Innovation Centre
  • innovation in wine manufacturing.

1 of the 3 goals in the Marlborough District Council’s Marlborough Economic Wellbeing Strategy 2022-2032 is for Marlborough to be a recognised leader in agritech solutions in Australasia, specifically in wine, viticulture, aquaculture and the blue economy.

Marlborough Economic Wellbeing Strategy 2022-2032 [PDF, 1,692](external link) — Malborough District Council

Marlborough is also well-placed as a hub for sustainable technologies. This includes innovating and developing new technology, training the workforce, and logistics/sustainable transport that will support our sectors to grow sustainably.  

Medical cannabis

The medical cannabis industry is currently small in terms of workforce numbers, but it is strategically important for Marlborough’s economic diversity as it broadens the region’s horticultural base [13]. Medical cannabis cultivation is a high-value, intensive crop for our region along with hydroponic strawberries and glasshouse tomatoes.

Marlborough-based organic medical cannabis cultivation and research company, Puro, is the largest outdoor grower in Australasia [14]. In 2022 they received $13 million from the government’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund to fast-track the growth of the organic medical cannabis industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. To support this growth, Puro is:

  • developing production systems
  • identifying pathways to market
  • developing post-harvesting processing technology to build the intellectual property required to produce premium organic medical cannabis.

This is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the Marlborough region, with Puro’s modelling suggesting that 200 full-time jobs will be created over the next 5 to 10 years.

The workforce skills required include general horticulture knowledge and skills for cultivation. Puro advise that as they develop their research and indoor commercial cultivation operations, they will also need more workers skilled in:

  • glasshouse management
  • engineering
  • information technology.

These skills are transferable across the wider horticulture sector.

Last updated: 20 June 2023