Emerge Institute - PEP - Promoting Economic Pluralism

Emerge Institute


The Gulf, and it’s precious eco-system has been ailing

The Tīkapa Moana / Hauraki Gulf is a stunning coastal feature of the North Island of New Zealand. It has an area of 12,000km2 and lies between the Auckland Region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island. The Hauraki Gulf is home to over 20 species of marine mammals including the bottlenose dolphin. It is of significant cultural, environmental, ecological, economic and spiritual significance. Over the last century our land use changes, fishing methods and industry have had a devastating impact on Tīkapa Moana / The Hauraki Gulf. Pollution is on the rise with heavy metals, sewage and many forms of waste entering the gulf, harmful fishing practices are leading to declining fish stocks, biodiversity is falling and there is marked decline in mauri (life force).

Our solution:

A Spirit Lab to restore the life force and health of the Gulf

We invited applications to join our Oceans Lab and selected 21 diverse innovators working across sectors who were actively working to improve our oceans to join the Lab. The initial four days were spent on the beautiful Rotoroa island, in the Gulf itself connecting with the land, water, each other and ourselves whilst exploring new paradigms and ways to innovate and restore the health of the Gulf. Our method brought in a deep systems thinking lens and challenged participants to examine themselves, and supported them in shifting their perspectives and behaviour to better enable them to serve the Gulf. This 4 day residential was followed by two workshops to assist with embedding, deepening and applying learnings from the Lab to projects that participants are working on or have started.


More effective innovators and projects

Impact of the project can be seen on two levels. Firstly, direct impact can be seen on participants themselves who have deeply grown their own confidence and capability to collaborate, work with multiple stakeholders including nature, connect with mauri, be more resilient, compassionate and self-confident.

  • 90% of participants feel a much deeper connection with the mauri (life force) of the Hauraki Gulf, their peers and themselves.
  • 95% of participants feel significantly more confident and equipped to implement innovative ideas that are in harmony with Nature.
  • 95% of participants feel strongly supported by a network of peers working toward shared vision.
Secondly, we’re witnessing shifts in the participants efforts to directly impact the Gulf. Participants have come together to work on new projects and scale existing efforts, which include:
  • Scaling a holistic water monitoring programme
  • Launching a new initiative to bring sustainability into construction projects
  • Driving a long term project to promote cross cultural collaborative marine and coastal management efforts
  • Driving culture change efforts in a public sector department through the introduction of meditation and new ways of working.

The impacts of these projects on the gulf will be seen over time.