On the 6 July, The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) announced  three new platforms funded by MBIE’s Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) which supports long-term research in priority areas critical to the future of New Zealand’s economy, environment and wellbeing.


Two platforms will be hosted by the independent research organisation Cawthron Institute, and will ultimately strengthen sustainability of our seafood, aquaculture. Read more about Cawthron here.


The third platform is hosted by New Zealand Leather and Shoe Research Association (LASRA), and is ‘The export quality hides platform’ which aims to grow and secure the New Zealand’s hide and skin processing industry. The industry is the primary value outlet for co-products from the meat processing industry and provides significant contribution in export income to the New Zealand economy. However, a range of market challenges threaten the future of the industry if quality, performance and sustainability of the product are unable to keep pace with demands across its diverse markets.


This platform will:


  • Develop processes for leather manufacture which require less reagents and minimise discharge of waste. Alternative reagents and processes will be identified to reduce the environmental impact of leather processing
  • Analyse genetic markers for meat quality and other traits to quantify their effect on pelt quality.
  • Develop remote sensing technologies which allow features which affect quality to be quantified in real time. A traceability  system will be developed to identify the origin of New Zealand products in the market, in support of a chain of custody system. An online database will be developed to allow independent groups to verify origin.


Through improvements in the value of the meat industry’s most valuable co-product, this Platform works to support and develop benefit across the entire farm system by establishing the position of leather as an important component in the future of farming and minimising its contribution to the total carbon footprint.