Aquaculture, fisheries and environmental concerns, blue carbon, capacity development, co-design and equal research opportunities – there was no shortage of topics to talk about when New Zealand’s Ambassador visited the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen.

At ZMT, H.E. Craigh Hawke, who was accompanied by Adina Stoye from Education New Zealand (ENZ), held talks with ZMT researchers Dr Andreas Kunzmann, Dr Lara Stuthmann (both WG Experimental Aquaculture), Mirco Wölfelschneider (WG Mangrove Ecology) and Dr Annette Breckwoldt (WG Social-ecological Systems Analysis), also covering bilateral and multilateral cooperation opportunities between New Zealand, Germany and the European Union - both in the natural and social sciences.

Dr Annette Breckwoldt highlighted the special nature of inter- and transdisciplinary research at ZMT, gave an insight into the solution-oriented approaches for the protection and sustainable use of tropical coastal ecosystems (with the SOCPacific project as example), and explained the role of the new Programme Area 5 "Ocean Literacy, Equity and Leadership" as well as the tasks of the Office for Knowledge Exchange at the institute.

Dr Andreas Kunzmann gave Ambassador Hawke a tour of the ZMT's marine experimental facility and an overview of ZMT's previous and current cooperation with New Zealand partners since 1991.

Together with colleagues from the Institute of Marine Science in Leigh (IMS), Kunzmann is currently at the start of a new project that will look at the possibilities of industrially utilising algae as food supplements and feed additives for fish and shrimp aquaculture in Germany and New Zealand. In the past, there have already been projects with the Leigh Marine Laboratory (LML) and the University of Auckland.

H.E. Craig Hawke says: “A pleasure to visit Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen on 23 February.  Even better, to see the strong science cooperation and research partnership between New Zealand’s Auckland University and ZMT in action – the collaboration on the project ‘Biotechnical application of seaweed secondary products’ shows great promise for ‘the future of food’.  Importantly, the focus of this cooperation is people.  It was great to meet Dr Andreas Kunzmann, Dr Annette Breckwoldt and Dr Lara Stuthmann, and the team at ZMT.  Your energy, vision and passion was inspiring.  Thank you for hosting me at ZMT.  I look forward to following the progress of your work and celebrating New Zealand and Germany collaboration.”

“It was a special honour for us to host H.E. Craig Hawke at ZMT and to introduce him to ZMT’s work in general and research on aquaculture in particular," comments Dr Andreas Kunzmann. “We hope to strengthen our cooperation with New Zealand not only in scientific projects, but also in training and capacity development. Intensifying cooperation in the field of marine research with this special island nation in the Pacific is a worthwhile goal. There is so much potential”

Dr Annette Breckwoldt says: “We are very grateful for the time H.E. Craig Hawke and his colleague Mrs Adina Stoye carved out for us in their busy schedule and were delighted by their great curiosity towards our inter- and transdisciplinary research projects. From one country of seafarers to the other, from conditions for marine conservation and responsible ocean uses, to better educational environments for the much-needed next generations of ocean professionals – we look forward to the future of this North-South co-operation.”