The country's biggest iwi-owned fishing company has expanded its crayfish processing plant to hook into the lucrative Chinese market.
Moana New Zealand's new $6 million plant has the capacity to hold 27 tonnes of crayfish in specially designed temperature-controlled tanks.
The crayfish are exported live and the company's CEO Carl Carrington says the New Zealand species is particularly sought after overseas.
"It's red, it looks like a dragon - it has all those mystical qualities of prosperity, health, well-being," he says.
"And Chinese value those kind of attributes."
One kilogram of crayfish can fetch up to US$300 at a restaurant in China.