Moananui - Our Story

Aotearoa New Zealand is a nation founded by seafarers. We came in waka, and tall ships, to forge new lives at the bottom of the Pacific. The sea – Te Moananui a Kiwa – is the pathway that connected us. As a nation, we still cluster our towns and cities around the ocean. We are surrounded and defined by a vast ocean, presenting immense opportunity and even greater responsibility.

Moananui history

In 2019 local leaders in the Top of the South Island mapped an ambitious and visionary 500-year regional plan – the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy, which highlighted the importance of the ocean to regional wellbeing and prosperity. At its heart was Tūpuna Pono – To Be Good Ancestors.

At the same time, The Sustainable Seas National ScienceChallenge was grappling with the issue of how to develop the country’s blue economy to provide value for all New Zealanders, while prioritising ocean health.

Realising collaboration was key, a group including Nelson Regional Development Agency, The Cawthron Institute and Wakatu Incorporation took action by bringing together key players. The concept of Moananui – a blue economy cluster emerged, with the ambition to be Good Ancestors and activities guided by Blue Economy Principles for Aotearoa

In 2023 Moananui received two-years government seed funding and launched as a not for profit organisation.

It was supported by nine founding partners from diverse organisations including fisheries and aquaculture, science and research, iwi, regional development, pharmaceuticals, ports and engineering. Interest in the new cluster concept was immediate with new partners and project collaborators coming on board quickly.


Thanks to our seed funders




Intergenerational wellbeing and prosperity from a thriving blue economy



Transform Aotearoa New Zealand into a world-leading blue economy

Generating economic benefits from ocean resources in a way that maximises value and creates positive social, cultural and environmental outcomes

Safeguard the health of our oceans for future generations

Promoting sustainable use of marine resources and the regeneration of ocean ecosystems to ensure long-term benefits and resilience.

Support proud and connected people

Strengthening a diverse next generation workforce.

Catalyse collaboration and action

Harnessing the collective power of our partners to access new opportunities, unlock untapped potential, and ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is on international investors’ radar.


What makes Moananui unique?



As New Zealand’s first government funded cluster Moananui is pioneering the future of the blue economy. Embracing out-of-the-box thinking, pushing boundaries and supporting innovation.  



Moananui brings together diverse stakeholders—industry leaders, researchers, scientists, policymakers, iwi and entrepreneurs. Solving ocean challenges, together, in ways that haven’t been done before.



At Moananui, we are driven to create a sustainable blue economy that thrives for generations to come. We're not just shaping the present, we're paving the way for a more promising future.

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