Mission Insights / Cawthron Institute

Video Source

Episode 03 / Interview 01

Interview with Chris Cornelisen, Cawthron Institute, hosted by Jodie Kuntzsch, Moananui

Nelson-based Cawthron Institute is Aotearoa’s New Zealand largest independent science organisation. It aims to deliver world-class science that helps to protect the environment and support the sustainable development of primary industries nationally and worldwide. 

Established over 100 years ago by philanthropist Thomas Cawthron, Cawthron Institute is focused on marine and freshwater ecosystem research that benefits Aotearoa New Zealand’s environment, society and economy. This includes looking at the growth and safety of the seafood sector, the development of bioactive resources and the health improvements of freshwater ecosystems and oceans. 

The organisation recently partnered with Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund, Port Nelson, OneFortyOne, Friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay, and University of Waikato, with funding from Catalyst Fund, to launch a national seagrass restoration project that aims to fight climate change and improve ecosystem health.

The three-year project will develop a blueprint for seed-based seagrass restoration that can be carried out across Aotearoa New Zealand. The aim is to enable large-scale restoration of seagrass meadows, helping to support biodiversity, improve water quality and sequester carbon.

Chris Cornelisen is a marine scientist and Cawthron’s Chief Science Capability Officer. He leads the Institute’s cross-cutting areas of science capability, including its commercial and research laboratories, technologies for enabling the blue economy, and data science. 

Chris has worked for Cawthron for 17 years and has over 20 years of research experience in physical biology, coastal processes, and land-sea interactions. He is a member of the Challenge Leadership Team for the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and leads the Ocean Intelligence project for the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge.

Thank you to the Nelson Regional Development Agency for their support for Mission Insights.

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