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AgriSea chief executive Clare Bradley celebrates with Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

$750k investment into Paeroa company

A meeting with a government minister was a cause for celebration for AgriSea last week, with the Paeroa business popping a bottle of champagne to toast receiving three quarters of a million dollars in investment.
Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash was at AgriSea on August 17 to share the news: the second-generation company would be receiving a Regional Strategic Partnership Fund investment of $750,000, creating nine jobs.
The government fund is worth $200 million and was created to support regions to make steps towards achieving their economic potential.
“You can’t have a country like New Zealand where Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch thrive, and the rest of the country doesn’t. That’s why we said we’ve got to invest in provincial regional New Zealand in a way that really makes a difference,” Minister Nash said at the event.
“We know these guys [AgriSea] have the experience, the skills, and the drive to really make this happen, and I know we’ve got a winning partnership.”
Earlier this month, AgriSea won the NZ Hi-Tech Award for Māori company of the year.
It has a partnership with Crown research institute Scion to develop high value hydrogels using nanocellulose from seaweed and kelps.
Minister Nash praised AgriSea chief executive Clare Bradley and chief innovation officer Tane Bradley (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui) for their “absolutely fantastic vision, drive, and determination”.
“I know that the ethos and values of AgriSea certainly match what ours are as a community, and that’s the most important thing. I look forward to seeing what happens going forward, but this is the future, and you guys are at the cutting edge of global innovation in this space.”
Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams declared “regions are the new cities” at the meeting, which also hosted AgriSea’s research partners from Scion, and thanked the government for its support for small towns.
“I’m thankful you’ve seen the passion and skill level [AgriSea has] got and are able to part with some of your cash. Don’t be afraid of parting with it, because there are multiple talents within this region,” he said.
“To Clare and Tane, as a council, we are behind you 150 per cent. Creating jobs, creating wealth, and creating better outcomes for our environment.”
AgriSea chief executive Clare Bradley said Paeroa was the perfect place for the company, which is celebrating 25 years of business, as it had “the most incredible community”.
She said the $750,000 investment was “only just the beginning”.
“This funding buys into our vision to create a high-value seaweed sector that creates thriving communities,” she said. “Thank you for believing in our vision, and thank you for the opportunity for us to take seaweed to the world.”
Minister Nash also visited the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park on August 17 as part of his regional economic development portfolio.
In 2020, the Maritime Park received $730,000 from the government’s provincial growth fund for a new riverboat to ferry people and bikes between the park and the new community jetty in Paeroa, plus pontoons, a boardwalk and riparian planting.