Nelson Mayor welcomes Provincial Growth Fund investment

18/04/2019 4:16am

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese welcomed the announcement today of funding through the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to support the Top of the South/Te Tauihu’s ocean economy, and the development of an economic growth strategy for the wider region.

In Nelson specifically, PGF Funding has been allocated to Cawthron Institute’s National Algae Research and Development Centre and the Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute, which offers Artificial Intelligence services to the aquaculture sector. Funding was also granted for Te Tauihu 2077 – a Regional Growth Strategy coordinated by the Wakatū Incorporation.

“With the majority of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry located in the region and a strong research and development capability, Te Tauihu is well-placed to be a global leader in growing the ocean economy,” says Mayor Reese. “This funding represents a step change in our journey towards a sustainable ocean economy, which promotes and supports diverse industries and creates economic value from sustainable practices and activities.”
“The Te Tauihu regional growth strategy is an excellent example of a strong partnership between local government, iwi, and business throughout our region. The funding for this strategy will enable our entire Top of the South region to work together to achieve sustainable growth into the future."
Funding recipient The Cawthron Institute is a world leader in research into the potential applications of algae. The approval of $6 million to help build the National Algae Research and Development Centre will enable it to explore and initiate new opportunities in the aquaculture field. It is expected that this initiative will create up to 30 new jobs in the region and attract knowledge and expertise in the ocean economy to Nelson.

The National Algae Centre will connect science and R&D with industry and commercial applications.  Microalgae and macroalgae (seaweed) have unique properties which are generating increasing global interest as demand grows for the development of new foods, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products.

The Centre will conduct research into the potential for these products, as well the molecular properties of algae, including identifying genes responsible for producing high-value compounds and understanding the relationship between marine algae and seafood safety testing. 

The other Nelson-based recipient of PGF Funding was for the Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII) which received $95,000. NAII will be investing in artificial intelligence to enable research and development into a more efficient and sustainable aquaculture industry and will have significant benefits across the industry in New Zealand.
Te Tauihu 2077, which received a grant of $434,980 from the fund, is a regional growth strategy led by the Wakatū Incorporation. It seeks to address social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities facing Te Tauihu now and in the future. 

The strategy, which is the first for the whole region, is being coordinated by Wakatū Incorporation on behalf of Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, the eight Iwi of Te Tauihu, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and business communities.

  Other recipients were Tasman District Council's Port Tarakohe, which was awarded $252,000 for upgrading the facility, and $99,000 to the Marlborough District Council to build a business case for a digital data system for the fish and aquaculture industries.