The Cawthron Institute was named after, and endowed by, Nelson businessman Thomas Cawthron. It was established in Nelson during the last years of the First World War to provide ‘instruction in and performance of scientific research ... related to agriculture, and in particular on fruit growing'. At the time, agriculture in Nelson was facing problems of depleted soils and naturally infertile land, while the fruit-growing industry was struggling with diseases and insect pests. The institute later expanded into aquaculture and marine biosecurity research.
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