Huataukīna tō iwi e: Developing marine bioactives from kina
We are working collaboratively with hapū in Tairāwhiti to develop bioactives from kina. Bioactives can treat diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Project leader: Matthew Miller, Cawthron Institute
Duration: July 2017 – June 2019
Aotearoa New Zealand already has a reputation in Asian markets for high-quality, sustainable and safe food products. Kina is challenging to export to Asia as a high-value food product, but there is potential to export kina bioactives as a health supplement. Our research is focused on the potential use of the non-edible shell rather than the edible flesh. It is also examining how to reduce waste by using the shell, offal, spines and roe of the kina.
We aim to stimulate economic development in the Tairāwhiti region by developing high-value nutraceutical and functional food ingredient products from kina (Evechinus chloroticus) sourced from the marine areas of East Coast whānau.
We have harvested kina during different seasons and are testing three key extracts (pigment 1, pigment 2 and a bioactive oil). We have been working with local hapū to collect and analyse the results. Once we have collated our results across the four seasons, we will identify the most beneficial bioactives from pre-clinical trials and explore ways to scale-up their extraction.
The phrase ‘huataukīna tō iwi e’ comes from the waiata ‘Hikurangi’ composed by Kuini Moeau Reedy, based on an old Ngāti Porou phrase that means: when the kaimoana is abundant and the hapū have strings of kina, whānau are prosperous and healthy.
This project in the media:
- Kina is a delicacy, but what about the shell, Māori Television
- Kina being studied for its medicinal benefits, NZ Herald
- Tairawhiti’s sustainable blue economy, Gisborne Herald
- New Zealand scientists research health properties of sea urchin, Undercurrent News
Latest news and updates
Stew Robertson has been a participant in research workshops for projects focused in Tasman-Golden Bay. He is involved with the Nelson Biodiversity Forum and founded the Tasman Bay Guardians in 2017.
A study of coastal food webs has revealed how ecosystem-based approaches to marine management could improve management of fish stocks and biodiversity in our changing coastal ocean.
In a workshop hosted in Wellington in early May, NIWA and Victoria University of Wellington researchers shared their latest findings on the effects of sediment on both shallow water and deep-sea species with iwi and stakeholders.