Tuna caught in New Zealand have made their way to the shores of Shanghai for the first time.

Dozens of media descended on the first ever wild caught tuna carving session in China last night.

Ngati Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said from China that New Zealand wild caught fish was a luxury.

Most Chinese fish come from farms, he added.


Japan has always had a monopoly on the New Zealand fish market and, with prices dropping and exchange rates rising, New Zealand has lost a lot of margin.

However, he believed there was a growing market for New Zealand fish in China.

His biggest task was getting the tuna through customs in a timely manner.

Mr Tomoana had anticipated this would be a three or four-day process but got the fish through to China in a matter of hours.

The three fish, two 80kg and the other 100kg, were used as an exercise to test the market.

After 25,000 to 30,000 responses, the enthusiastic market showed their "voracious appetite" for the fish.

"If we can continue to speed through customs, we should have no difficulty sustaining supply to meet demand," Mr Tomoana said.

"It's the first sign that the free trade agreement is in acceleration mode. This will bring substantial returns to New Zealand and will magnify the fishing industry," he said.


The three fish were caught off the East Cape.

Mr Tomoana believes there will be a roll-on effect from the meeting.

"It will provide opportunities for other industries, such as fruit, meat and wine.

"It bodes well for a lot of Hawke's Bay products," he said.

Mr Tomoana is hoping to create more expectation for next year.

"We are causing a sensation across the country.

"We already have orders for 30 more fish. Hopefully we will have the option of going to Japan or China."

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Wayne Walford said if New Zealand was smart about the quota, then the trade deal with China could be a lucrative one.

"Going directly to a mature and established market will bring huge benefits to the Bay," he said.