A Te Tai Pari Wananga (meeting) this week will talk about opportunities to grow the East Coast blue economy in Gisborne.
Hikurangi Enterprises is collaborating with East Coast hapu, the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and Cawthron Institute to develop new medicines from wild-harvested kina and to create new business opportunities for the East Coast.
The two-day conference on Thursday and Friday this week will bring together whanau, community and scientists to talk about these opportunities.
Kina shells contain bioactives which are known to be effective in treating diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and other serious conditions.
Kina, long regarded as a New Zealand seafood delicacy is now being studied for its medicinal benefits. The research is focused on the potential of the non-edible shell rather than on the edible flesh. Kina shells contain bioactives which are known to be effective in treating diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and other serious conditions.
The research is also examining how to reduce waste by using the shell, offal, spines and roe of the kina.
Hikurangi Enterprises managing director Manu Caddie said there is significant potential for economic development for coastal communities in New Zealand.
"We could do this by commercialising novel high value niche nutraceuticals and functional food ingredients from the marine environment," he said.
New Zealand already has a reputation in Asian markets for quality sustainable and safe food products.
However, kina is challenging to export to Asia as a high value food product because it competes with other sea urchins that don't look as spiky.
But there is potential to export bioactives as a health supplement.
Dr Matt Miller of Cawthron Institute and Dr Sarah Bond of Massey University will present a case study about the kina project and there are to be presentations and discussions about the blue economy, the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, and marine science.
Te Tai Pari Wananga will be held at the Emerald Hotel on September 13 and 14.