18 Oct 2011

Clean safe water behind partnership

6:36 am on 18 October 2011

A Chinese company says New Zealand's clean water and food safety record are behind its decision to grow sea cucumber in Aotearoa.

Trials are planned in Marlborough, in a venture involving Oriental Oceans of Yantai and two Maori businesses - the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board and Wakatu Incorporation.

Sea cucumber is revered by Chinese people for its medicinal properties and is an expensive delicacy in China.

Maori business consultancy Poutama is also involved, working on the project's viability and potential returns.

Chief executive Richard Jones says food safety is a big issue for the Chinese following a tainted milk scandal there and New Zealand is considered safe and clean.

Mr Jones says the trials to grow sea cucumber are due to start in the next few months.