Business School


Our research

Identifying the determinants of growth and innovation in the seafood sector of New Zealand, with particular emphasis on its importance to Māori.

New Zealand seafood industry innovation project


Background

In 2003 the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development, the University of Auckland Business School, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) embarked on a Foundation for Research Science & Technology (FRST) funded $1.4 million joint research venture aimed at identifying the determinants of growth and innovation in the seafood sector of New Zealand, with particular emphasis on its importance to Māori.

The purpose of the programme is to promote the development of a culture of innovation that drives economic growth in the seafood sector. It also reflects the context of harvest limits and competitive global markets. The activities of the project will lead to the enhancement of the capability and involvement of Māori in the processes of economic growth and will increase the social and economic contributions to the future development of New Zealand as a whole, including Māori. A culture of innovation creates new value-added products and processes including the continued expansion of new aquaculture activities. Such a culture will support greater research capabilities linking New Zealand's fishing sector with cutting-edge research in global markets.

The project's research activities will also include active two-way participation in high profile North American Indian economic development programmes associated with Harvard University and the University of Arizona.

In just 20 years New Zealand's seafood industry has tripled annual exports from around $500 million to $1.4 billion, with the industry forecasting growth to reach $2 billion of exports by 2010. This is quite a remarkable achievement considering the industry has faced harvest limits for most commercial fisheries.

Much of the increase in value in the past two decades has come from innovation to create new value-added products and processes, as well as the development and rapid expansion of new aquaculture activities. A very important feature of the New Zealand seafood industry, which distinguishes it from the rest of the world, is that Māori are now major stakeholders and beneficiaries of the economic growth in this sector.