Māori family-owned and operated AgriSea has been awarded the Māori company of the year 2022 prize at this year's Hi-Tech New Zealand Awards.
AgriSea creates products from seaweed, providing supplies to dairying, dry stock, horticulture, apiculture and viticulture business enterprises.
Tāne Bradley (Ngāti Maniapoto) and his wife Clare Bradley, the joint chief executives of AgriSea New Zealand, said they had been able to show seaweed could be high-tech.
“Seaweed has a massive range of uses that can displace some of the pollution products that we currently use, so we can create plant nutrition, animal nutrition and things like bioplastics and human nutrition,” Clare said.
“We had amazing foundations to work from. Clare and I brought in our passion and aroha for seaweed and really advanced that,” Tāne said.
The pair said that just as there is the microbiome in the human stomach the same is true of the soil and plants, and AgriSeas products to come in to try to reduce the use of synthetic fertilising products and help develop that natural biome.
Clare said they have networks of seaweed collectors who harvest after a storm has hit, which has been the primary resource but are now looking into farming seaweed in the water.
Tāne said that Clare had just formed the Aotearoa Seaweed Association to bring partners all over Aotearoa from iwi to manufacturers with the intention of “all growing together”.