112 OES Annual Report 2015 | NEW ZEALAND | Other relevant national activities
Annual Report 2015
Country Reports


Craig Stevens AWATEA/NIWA/Univ. Auckland


AWATEA – Aotearoa (New Zealand) Wave and Tidal Energy Association
Is relatively active for the size of the local industry. It was established in April 2006 to advocate for, assist and accelerate the development of the marine energy industry. It acts as an industry association with the following mission: “AWATEA will promote, aid and foster a vibrant and viable marine energy industry in New Zealand”. The association has the following objectives:

  • Promote the marine energy industry in New Zealand, including research, energy generation, marine fabrication and marine services;
  • Increase recognition and utilization of marine energy as another energy source in New Zealand’s supply portfolio;
  • Act as a centre for advocacy of marine energy, including lobbying, drawing up submissions to Government and representing the views of the marine energy industry;
  • Promote exchange for information about the marine energy sector, to provide and publish statistics and informed commentary on issues affecting the uptake of marine energy in New Zealand;
  • Be a meeting place for marine energy industry participants;
  • Represent the New Zealand marine energy industry to national bodies, including Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other industry bodies and liaise with other international bodies.

AWATEA produced a white paper in early 2014 laying out some ideas for future development. (http://www.awatea.org.nz/information/white-paper/). It also runs a well-attended annual conference. The focus of the 2015 conference was around new tidal technology, the AzuraWave project and the demand side implications of a growing electric vehicle fleet. The conference also introduced a range of short projects using the Pecha Kuchatalk format (http://www.pechakucha.org/) which proved to be a useful way of presenting technical material to a broad audience. The chair of the association shifted from NIWA to WelTec in 2015, reflecting a shift in interest towards the educational sector in an effort to build groundswell for the industry. 

Sustainable Seas – a new government funding initiative
The aim of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is to enhance use of New Zealand’s vast marine resources, while ensuring that our marine environment is understood, cared for, and used wisely for the benefit of all, now and in the future. This requires a new way of managing the many uses of our marine resources that combines the aspirations and experience of Māori, communities, and industry with the evidence of scientific research to transform New Zealand into a world leader in sustainable marine economic development. This spent most of 2015 in planning and work will commence in 2016. It is not clear that there will be support for MRE until the present focus on marine ecology evolves.