Kina is a delicacy, but what about the shell?

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Hikurangi Enterprises Ltd are collaborating with East Coast hapū, the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and the Cawthron Institute to develop new medicines from wild-harvested kina.

Dr Matt Miller from the Cawthron Institute says, “The one in the shell is really new and we've got to do a lot of discovery to find out what it can do.  There's been some reports in the literature but we want to get down and deep and we want to find out if the kina that we have here are something different to the rest of the world.”

Kina shells contain bioactives which are known to be effective in treating diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other serious health conditions.

Miller says, “Brave iwi up here are going into the water, grabbing some kina.  I'm taking it into the lab, I'm extracting it and I'm doing all the chemistry around it, finding out what's in it and how much, and then we're working with other institutes like Massey University and they're finding outputting into cell-lines, seeing what it does- how good it is in humans.”

'Te Tai Pari: Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy in Te Tairāwhiti', brings together whānau, community and scientists to talk about the opportunities to grow the East Coast marine economy and connect environmentalists who can partner with researchers.

General Manager at Hikurangi Enterprises Ltd, Panapa Ehau says, “We've been mapping over a number of years the natural resources that we have within our rohe to develop opportunities that look after our natural resources and look after our people.”

The research is being funded by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge which aims to create an ecosystem-based management approach and engage with Māori.

Vision Mātauranga Lead at National Science Challenges, James Whetu (Waikato) says, “So the kina project is a beautiful example of thinking outside the box of how we can utilise those resources, our mātauranga and stretch it beyond just fisheries.”

Tomorrow the conference will table issues intellectual property and commercialisation of taonga species.