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The New Biological Economy: How New Zealanders are Creating Value from the Land

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From milk and merino to wine and tourism, how New Zealanders are finding new ways to make a living off the land.

For over a century, New Zealand has built its economy through a series of commodity-based booms – from wood and wool to beef and butter. Now the country faces new challenges. By doubling down on dairy farms, aren’t New Zealanders destroying the clean rivers and natural reputation upon which the country’s primary exports (and tourism) are based? And in a world where value is increasingly rooted in capital- and technology-intensive industries, can New Zealand really sustain its high living standards by growing grass?

This book takes readers out on to farms, orchards and vineyards, and inside the offices and factories of processors and exporters, to show how New Zealanders are answering these challenges by building The New Biological Economy. From Icebreaker to Mr Apple, from milk and merino to wine and tourism, from high-end Berlin restaurants to the shelves of Sainsbury’s, innovative companies are creating high-value, unique products, rooted in particular places, and making pathways to the niche markets where they can realise that value.

The New Biological Economy poses key questions. Do dairy and tourism have a sustainable future? Can the primary industries keep growing without destroying the natural world? Does the future of New Zealand lie in high tech or in the innovations of a land-based economy?

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Eric Pawson
The Biological Economies Team

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