[New Zealand] From the tropical rainforest to the “rainforest under the sea,” Clare Bradley’s love of the land has travelled across countries and below ground.
The Paeroa woman is known as the business development manager for AgriSea, a company specialising in the manufacture of seaweed products for soil, plant, and animal health.
But before she began researching the benefits of New Zealand’s macroalgae, she was leading expeditions in South America.
As a second-year biology student, Bradley volunteered in the Amazon rainforest, where she was offered a job as an expedition science coordinator.
There she helped with species inventory, and setting up eco-tourism businesses for the locals who wanted to keep their 53,000 hectares of rainforest from the hands of oil companies.
From the Amazon, she travelled to Costa Rica to set up an expedition, before returning home and meeting her husband Tane Bradley, now the general manager of AgriSea.
The Paeroa-based company produces an extensive range of seaweed-based concentrates used in the agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and apiculture sectors.
They hand-harvest the seaweed from throughout the North Island, specifically the Ecklonia radiata species.
“Seaweed is starting to get that scientific validation behind it, and how it can help our rural communities and our coastal communities, as well as the huge value we can extract out of this incredible marine plant that has been under-utilised so far,” Bradley said.
“But while there’s huge potential for a seaweed industry in New Zealand, it needs to be managed in a really safe way.
“It’s habitat, it’s food, it’s basically the rainforest of the ocean, and if you start to harvest it in large scale, things like crayfish and paua will have issues, so it needs to be done really well, like a farm on the land, but in the sea.”
Through her work harnessing the potential of New Zealand’s environment, Bradley won the Love of the Land category at the recent Rural Women NZ Business Awards.
The awards showcase and celebrate excellence in business, entrepreneurship and innovation by rural women, who are often the “unsung heroes” of the industry, Bradley said.
“Initially [the award] came as a bit of a shock, because you just go about your day doing what you do, and I love getting out there on the farm, digging holes and counting worms, so you keep your head down and keep going.
“So something like this is an opportunity to take stock of where you’ve come over the last few years.”
Presentation of the Awards to the Category Winners and the announcement of the overall Supreme Award Winner will take place on Friday, November 22 in Wellington.
Photo: AgriSea’s business development manager Clare Bradley won the Love of the Land category at the Rural Women NZ Business Awards.
View original article at: Paeroa woman recognised in rural awards for work with ocean ‘rainforest’
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