19 Nov 2012

Maori exporters eye fish head trade

9:01 pm on 19 November 2012

Maori business leaders are exploring a potentially valuable deal to export fish heads to China.

Many heads are thrown away in New Zealand, but in China they're sought-after and the eyes are a delicacy - a taste also shared by some Maori.

Buyers from Asia are due to travel to Aotearoa to oversee a trial export shipment of fish heads.

The market for the normally discarded part of the fish was discovered by the Maori Economic Development Panel - a group of leaders appointed by the Government.

The chair of the panel, Ngahiwi Tomoana, says they would like to sell every fish head to foreign clients.

He says New Zealand fish eyes often go into fertiliser or are dumped, but the head is cherished by the Chinese, who eat everything but the gills.

Mr Tomoana says in Japan, restaurants in Tokyo sell fish collar cuts for the equivalent of $NZ100.

The Ngati Kahungunu leader says he found out about the fish head market the hard way - when he accidentally ate a head that was reserved for the president of a Chinese seafood company.