Financing a blue economy regional rent platform in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Nicolas Lewis, Richard Le Heron


This paper examines efforts to realise blue economy development aspirations in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Community groups and local business have turned to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to finance a green economy development vision centred on marine eco-tourism, a research and education centre, and sustainable harvesting of seafood. This ‘blue economy’ (green economy in the oceans) development platform represents an intervention that challenges the grip over regional futures exerted by property owners and capital. What is in play is a struggle over both economic rents and competing visions of the future. We explore the potential of such initiatives and question the role that may be played by green finance in carefully cultivated relational economic development platforms. Ultimately regional development depends on the creation and mobilisation of geographical rents, but the crucial question is who appropriates them, when and where.


Nick Lewis is an economic geographer at the University of Auckland. His interests lie in market making, biological economies, and higher education economies.

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