Urchinomics names Non-Executive Chair for New Zealand operations

Mawae Morton will also serve as a strategic Senior Advisor in New Zealand for the pioneering sea urchin farming and kelp forest restoration venture.
Mawae Morton will be both, a senior advisor and Non-Executive Chair to Urchinomics' New Zealand business.

Mawae Morton will be both, a senior advisor and Non-Executive Chair to Urchinomics' New Zealand business.

Photo: Mawae Morton LinkedIn profile.

Urchinomics announced a 'two-in-one'- strategic advisory & non-executive - appointment to boost its New Zealand operations. Mawae Morton becomes both, a senior advisor for Aotearoa (Maori name for NZ) and takes on the role of Non-Executive Chair for the region.

In this newly established role, Morton will work closely with Maru Samuels, the recently appointed in-country lead to spearhead the development of sea urchin ranching operations using Urchinomics' proprietary system, to address the growing issue of kina barrens (sea urchins) in New Zealand.

Previous experience in aquaculture companies

As with Samuels, Morton has also been actively involved in Kinanomics - Envirostrat's successful pilot project to establish the viability and "taste" of farm-raised kina in New Zealand - so not only does he know the local team, but the two have already developed what the restorative aquaculture company has described as "a good working relationship."

Based in both the United States and New Zealand, Mawae Morton - who has previously led and invested in aquaculture companies - brings a wealth of international investment, advisory, governance, and operational experience to the role.

In addition, he currently chairs the Kinanomics and Greenwave Aotearoa initiatives in partnership with Envirostrat, also sits on the board of TNUE Ltd for Aotearoa Green Investment Finance and Tupu Angitu, and is a General Partner of the agri-food technology fund Finistere Ventures.

Another personal feature that Mawae Morton shares with Maru Samuels is that he also has whakapapa (ancestral) connections in Aotearoa, in his case with Ngāti Tūwharetoa primarily, and other tribes in the central North Island region.

Thus, through his experience in the sector, his understanding of the opportunity in New Zealand, and his extensive personal networks, Urchinomics believes that Morton is perfectly positioned to facilitate the next phase of the project: the expansion and commercialization of the kina farms.

Appointment at a crucial time for the company

Urchinomics CEO Perry Bevin thus highlighted Morton's suitability for the position, as well as the timing of his appointment. "Mawae’s appointment comes at a crucial time as we scale our efforts in Aotearoa and deepen our commitment to the communities and ecosystems we serve," he said. "His expertise in strategic thinking and profound understanding of the urgent issues caused by kina barrens will be invaluable as we begin scaling our activities."

Morton himself also valued his appointment. "The opportunity to work with Urchinomics to develop local partnerships providing high quality food products to the world with a sustainable solution for the environmental challenge presented by Kina barrens in Aotearoa is very exciting," he stated before listing what he believes will be his contributions to the position.

"I look forward to being a small part of this remarkable global initiative and team, while striving to generate additional local benefits around job creation, economic development and restoring our ocean’s biodiversity," Mawae Morton said.

Finally, Urchinomics' President, Giles Cadman, also commented on this new appointment in its New Zealand business. "Mawae is a tremendous addition to our team," he said. "His deep respect for the land and sea and his strategic insights will greatly enhance our operations and our mission to restore and sustain marine ecosystems. We are thrilled to have him on board and are confident that he will help drive our mission forward."

Subsequently, on his LinkedIn profile, Cadman added that Morton's experience and commitment to environmental stewardship will play a crucial role in expanding the company's efforts and restoring marine biodiversity. An effort Urchinomics is redoubling not only in New Zealand but also in Japan, where it recently reached an agreement with Hokkaido Electric Power Co. to jointly study a sea urchin farming business to solve the problem of Hokkaido's rocky shores.

About Urchinomics

Urchinomics™ is a pioneering aquaculture company that converts destructive sea urchins into valuable products that can be supplied consistently throughout the year, while creating important full-time jobs in rural coastal communities at its global locations in Norway, Canada, California, New Zealand, and Japan. Its methodology helps restore kelp forests, which promotes greater marine biomass, biodiversity, and the ability to sequester atmospheric CO2.

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