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Greenwave Aotearoa – Paving the way for a sustainable seaweed sector in New Zealand

We’re partnering with GreenWave in the United States to adapt its highly successful
regenerative ocean farming model for New Zealand.

An innovative three-year
seaweed farming pilot

There is no functional supply chain for the seaweed sector in New Zealand; this has been a huge constraint in developing and growing the sector. This means hatchery, farming, harvesting and farm designs all need to be developed and tested for our local seaweed species and conditions. With guidance from GreenWave USA we have developed and are implementing a plan to establish and optimise an end-to-end seaweed supply chain that enables the growth of a new high-value sector for New Zealand.

The $5 million GreenWave Aotearoa pilot aims to reduce the uncertainty around the productivity of a seaweed farming operation and provide the proof-of-concept for farming native seaweed at scale.

Maximising our impact
through collaboration

The GreenWave Aotearoa pilot is led by EnviroStrat, in collaboration with a network of partners.

Lucas Evans from Premium Seas is facilitating access to water space and providing operational oversight for the pilot delivery in Coromandel.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki are providing additional recently consented marine farming space to support the pilot.

University of Waikato researchers Dr Marie Magnusson and Dr Rebecca Lawton are overseeing the research and trial design.

Professor Andrew Jeffs at University of Auckland is leading monitoring to establish the biodiversity impacts of co-locating mussels and seaweed farming.

AgriSea are contributing their post-harvest production, market and processing expertise and have agreed to purchase all product for the duration of the pilot.

Pilot Timeline

Early 2019

EnviroStrat connected with GreenWave and started a discussion about how to adapt its model for New Zealand.

Mid - late 2019

Feasibility study exploring whether the GreenWave model could work in New Zealand.

Early - mid 2020

Developed a detailed investment case to support the establishment of regenerative ocean farming in New Zealand. The investment case also identified that a multi-year pilot to confirm productivity (and therefore financial viability) of seaweed farming was a required first step.

Mid 2020 - mid 2021

Secured funding and partnerships to
implement the pilot.

August 2021 - mid 2022

Stage 1 – Can we grow seaweed on
Establish the best farm line configuration

Mid 2022 - mid 2023

Stage 2 – Can we grow seaweed from
Optimise hatchery conditions, outplanting logistics and determine the best time to outplant

September 2022

First outplanting at scale of hatchery
grown Ecklonia radiata seaweed


Mid 2023 - end 2024

Stage 3 – Can we grow at
commercial scale?
Refine farming logistics and model assumptions at scale


Want to stay up to date with GreenWave Aotearoa’s progress?

Join our mailing list to receive updates from the GreenWave Aotearoa pilot as we achieve new milestones.

Seaweed’s huge potential to be a game changer for Aotearoa New Zealand’s blue economy.

Seaweed is the fundamental crop for the regenerative ocean farming model. While numerous initiatives and businesses are targeting seaweed as a novel primary resource for the blue economy, the New Zealand sector is currently operating at a small scale. Gaps in reliable supply and barriers, including legislative and operational, limit the sector’s ability to grow.

A prosperous seaweed sector could provide meaningful economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits to local communities, along with broader impacts nationally. Our philosophy is not just finding a new way to grow seaweed, but focusing a lens on an environmental problem that we can help solve, while creating economic opportunity.

Our funding partners

EnviroStrat, along with the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFFF), administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries, impact investors and philanthropists have contributed to funding. Early contributions were received from Auckland Council, Bay Trust, Foundation North, The Tindall Foundation and Akina.

In the news

Rural Delivery: Season 2023, Ep 6

Explore the viability of a domestic seaweed farming industry

Fish of the Day: Season 6, Ep 4

GreenWave Aotearoa project members interviewed for Fish of the Day episode

NZ Listener Underwater treasure

Growing seaweed promises rich dividends for farmers,
our environment and our health


First seaweed planting in Coromandel waters ‘historic moment’ for aquaculture

Radio Marinara

Learn about the strides being made in New Zealand’s seaweed aquaculture projects

First kelp seedlings planted out in NZ ocean farming pilot

NZ Herald

First seaweed seedlings in Hauraki Gulf for new industry


Sowing Seeds for Seaweed Farming in New Zealand

Ministry of Primary Industries

Pilot project aims to establish commercial seaweed farming sector in New Zealand


Moves for NZ’s first seaweed farms begin in Hauraki Gulf


Scheme aims to establish commercial seaweed farming sector

The Fish Site

GreenWave inspires $5 million kelp farming pilot in NZ