Navigating New Zealand's oceanic prosperity with Jodie Kuntzsch

Navigating New Zealand's oceanic prosperity with Jodie Kuntzsch

'The blue economy' is another way to describe the produce from the sea and Jodie Kuntzsch, the CEO of Moananui, is an expert on this industry in New Zealand.

As a leader in marine ventures, Kuntzsch discusses how Moananui is pioneering the intersection of economic growth with ecological and cultural preservation. She explains Moananui's role as a blue economy cluster organisation, a collective that aims to drive economic value while also contributing positively to social, cultural, and ecological well-being. 

"[The] blue economy is the marine activities that are generating economic value but are also contributing positively to the social, cultural and ecological health and well-being for Aotearoa," Kuntzsch says.

Moananui serves as the glue uniting various marine sector entities to amplify their collective impact. This collaboration, according to Kuntzsch, is essential for fostering innovation and sustainable development within New Zealand's vast exclusive economic zone. 

Kuntzsch shares her personal journey, beginning with her arrival in Nelson over 20 years ago, which unexpectedly transitioned from a short-term plan to pick apples into a lifelong career in the marine sector. 

Her passion lies in the "value that's created through the non-product attributes," including the story of traceability and transparency, social performance, environmental attributes, and climate initiatives. One of the key challenges highlighted by Kuntzch is New Zealand's relatively underdeveloped marine industry compared to other maritime nations. 

"So New Zealand's territory, if you include our exclusive economic zone, the ocean space that we have the responsibility for, 96% of New Zealand's territory is at sea, but our ocean-based industries only account for 3% of our GDP." 

Kuntzsch sees this as an untapped potential for innovation and economic development but also acknowledges the need for regulatory and market confidence improvements. Despite these challenges, Kuntzsch remains optimistic, noting Moananui's successful international collaborations and the enthusiasm surrounding the #GoBlueNZ movement. 

She believes that fostering these partnerships is key to accessing global resources and knowledge. Her conversation with a cluster in New England is one such example where learning from others' experiences can accelerate sustainable maritime advancements. 

Kuntzsch emphasises the importance of transparency and collaboration within the industry, sharing takeaways from a trip to Tasmania with Moananui partners. The openness of Tasmanian companies to share their successes and failures provided valuable insights for New Zealand's marine industry. 

This exchange of knowledge is central to Moananui's ethos, as Kuntzsch firmly believes that "we're here in New Zealand and then along supply chains around the world and with various countries, pulling together groups that are looking to build that value and capture that value beyond just the bottom line." 

This conversation provides a deep dive into how New Zealand is charting a course for a sustainable and prosperous marine future, with Moananui steering the way.

Listen to the full chat between Jodie Kuntzsch and Dominic George above.

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