Hawke’s Bay Farmer Pioneers Hemp Fields

From TVNZ comes an episode of Hyundai Country Calendar, focusing on a Hawke’s Bay farmer pioneering a hemp crop, making oil from the seeds which he claims have helped with arthritis in his hips and lower back.

A great episode with the whole 23 minutes dedicated to Hemp.

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iHemp Summit 2018

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Last week I went to the 2018 iHemp Summit in Wellington to throw down a korero, and launch Aro Hemp Aotearoa to the world.

Over the last 6 years I have watched the Hemp industry evolve, and this gathering of industry and innovating minds alike to share ideas shows massive growth and some serious momentum on the way for Aotearoa.

Over two days there were over 30 speakers on various specialist areas - Here are my top 5 takeaways (in detail):

1. Conscious Business

Following the industry momentum over the last few years, both in NZ and worldwide, the Hemp Industry in Aotearoa is going to boom, but it is just going to become another corporate/competition led machine if we don't work together to create a common vision and set of shared values for the industry what we want to create here in Aotearoa. Witnessing burgeoning groups like the NZHIA ( and the Māori Hemp Collective coming together to share ideas and resources is a great start to this movement. If you are interested in being more involved in these groups - email me at

2. Education

One of the main things the Hemp industry is lacking is education. Education of the public, the end consumer, the product innovator, the farmer, and the government. On all levels, we need to create and provide education about how low THC hemp is different to high THC Cannabis; Education about how hemp is good for the human body, the soils and the atmosphere; Education on what hemp is capable of creating and replacing; Education on how to grow hemp to a high standard in Aotearoa, and in turn how hemp can help solve the problems we face as a country and humanity looking forward 5-10 years from now.

Although hemp is gaining more media attention, there is still a gaping hole in terms of educating the general public and the government on how hemp can be used. For the early adopters, there is no doubt that Hemp can help in a massive way to create a more regenerative future for NZ, but because of a lack of demand from our undereducated masses, our government is not currently empowering this industry to grow.

3. Hemp Foods & Legislation

As we see the exponential growth of plant based diets and lifestyles around the world, with something like 3 TBSP of dehulled hemp seeds per day (full of protein, essential fatty acids, magnesium, zinc and iron), Hemp can play a leading role in the reformation of the food system in Aotearoa. With hempseeds as a basis, we can create more naturally derived food products, supplements and health products that are both good for humans and good for planet. In the words of Cookie Time founder Michael Mayell, we should be encouraging existing food producers to make hemp versions of their products - but with current legislation pressures meaning the current rate for NZ grown seed is $27 per KG, financing this could be challenging without having to import cheaper seed from overseas producers like Canada.

In terms of our current hemp legislation, and despite already being safe and legal for humans to eat all over the world, the NZ government still classes hemp foods as illegal for human consumption, and this is not set to change until 2019. Until this time, it is illegal to sell hemp Seeds for anything other than animal food. The main reason for this is because low THC industrial hemp falls under the same legislation as High THC cannabis - which means it is governed under the Misuse of Drugs act (an old piece of legislation published in 1975). This means that even though hemp is an industrial crop (similar to corn), and it should be governed by the Ministry of Agriculture, it is currently governed by the Ministry of Health. This means that MODA (Misuse of Drugs Act) needs to be relooked at before there can be any changes in the NZ Industrial Hemp regulations. This means what is required is a reformation of our current drug laws, which historically could take quite some time to get through parliament - but has been set for early 2019.

4. Medicinal Cannabinoids

Industrial Hemp is classed as a variety of cannabis which has less than 0.35% THC - Which means it is not going to get you high.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis varieties, and only THC is psychoactive. Other cannabinoids are powerful health supporting compounds that work on the natural cannabinoid system in the human body. Only about 10% of cannabis crops naturally exceed the .35% level of THC, varying from 10-30%, and these strains are what we call Medical/Recreational Cannabis, which are currently illegal in NZ. Because of a lack of education and out-dated legislation, industrial hemp is governed under the same laws as medical cannabis.

From the above standpoint I do not see medical/recreational cannabis being legalized on a nationwide scale for at least the next 2-4 years. However certain groups like Hikurangi Cannabis Company have managed to slip through loop holes and achieve licenses to enable this to happen, and there have been small cases where patients have been granted access to use medicinal cannabis, and others to use an expensive pharmaceutical product called Sativex. Although the Labour government supports and sees the value of medical cannabis, the Minister of Health mentioned at the Summit that he has never seen a medicinal cannabis growers application come across his desk... 🤔 This means that with more educated public requests that this could help to tip the scale towards more accessible legalization.

5. Harvesting & Processing

Through our experience with Aro Hemp Aotearoa, and from various expert opinions at the Hemp Summit, one of the most challenging aspects of growing hemp is harvesting and processing - which is an essential part of any hemp operation.

At this point in Aotearoa, there is not wide access to the expensive machinery that is required to harvest and process hemp (seed dehulling, seed oil pressing, fibre decortication, seed cleaning and seed/fibre storage). This means that the access to this machinery and capital investment to set them us are an obstacle for first time and small scale growers. These machines I have mentioned are not simple "plug and play" operations - both requiring heavy capital investment and also skilled workmanship to operate and fulfill processes.

For the industry to flourish here in Aotearoa we need NZ specific agronomy practices, regional processing facilities and harvesting equipment, new legislation and also large capital investment.

Through being involved in Indigenous Māori networks and the NZHIA I have witnessed a strong presence of many small scale growers who are working together to pool resources and help to pioneer this movement for the betterment of the people and of the planet. If not directly involved in the industry, we can all play our part from a grassroots level first by supporting NZ made hemp products in the marketplace, and second by educating the masses of the many uses of hemp and the problems that it can help to solve in the food, clothing, housing and medical industry.

Together we can create a regenerative industry here in NZ with strong values and systems which help to support the health of our local communities, the healing of our lands, rivers and waterways, and providing an economic leg up in our national and export market.

Manaaki Whenua.

Manaaki Tangata.

Haere Whakamua.

Care for the land.

Care for the people.

Go forward.


Aro Hemp Aotearoa

Special thanks to Richard Barge, Mack Mackintosh, Midlands Seed + all sponsors for making the NZ iHemp Summit 2018 happen - looking forward to where we are in 2019.

Hemp Farm NZ Ltd new hemisphere Ecofibre Plant Culture HempConnect University of Waikato Organic Mechanic Hemp For Victory

#kaitiakitanga #manaakitanga #arohempaotearoa #aroha #hempforvictory #ednotmed #theorganicmc #consciousbusiness #organicmechanic #gparker #graedonparker #entrepreneurship #hempforvictorynz


5 Ways Hemp Will Change Our World


5 Ways Hemp Will Change Our World

Currently in the United States of America it is illegal to grow Hemp. Clear cutting forests, burning fossil fuels, spraying large amounts of pesticides; all these things and more can be avoided from the production and usage of hemp plants. To clarify, I am talking about Hemp, not Marijuana. Hemp will not get you high, Hemp does not contain enough THC to get you high, if you were to smoke it; you would probably just end up with a headache. Hemp is illegal in the United States because it looks too much like its sister Mary Jane. While it is legal almost everywhere else in the world, hemp is still not being used to its full potential.

 1. Paper & Cardboard Products

Hemp regenerates in months; it grows extremely quickly, sounds like a perfect thing to make paper with. Unlike trees that can take over 30 years to be ready to harvest hemp is ready to go right away! Why are we still clear cutting forests? Hemp is a way better alternative! The paper that is made from hemp doesn’t become yellow or brittle because hemp is naturally acid free. Did you know that the original declaration of independence was written on hemp paper? Hemp can be recycled up to 7 times, while wood pulp paper can only be recycled a maximum of 3 times. Not to mention that 220 million pounds of toxic pollution are added into the air and water every year during the production of wood paper and pulp. Hemp paper does not need to be bleached with chlorine; it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide, which is a lot safer for the water and soil of the earth.

 2. Clothing & Fabrics

As a fabric, hemp is the optimal choice! ‘Hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in!’ Hemp clothing becomes softer every time you wash it. Growing hemp requires the use of very little pesticides and no herbicides, so not only is this great for the environment, but in turn, if used for clothing and blankets, it is not harmful for your skin. One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton. Wow, this hemp really is amazing isn’t it? Hemp material will keep you cool in the heat and keep you warm in the cold, it is known to be 4 times warmer than cotton material! The production of hemp into fabric instead of cotton, as if there aren’t enough amazing facts about hemp fabric as it is, it is also naturally fire retardant! So as oppose to most other fabrics, clothing, bed sheets, linens etc.. it would not need to have fire repellant chemicals added, what a great bonus!

 3. Plastic & Building Materials

Did you know that Henry Ford made a body for a car that was lighter than steel but could stand 10 times the impact without denting? Of course, it was made of hemp! Hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. Not only are Hemp building supplies a lot better for the environment but also walls made from Hemp are rot free, pest free, mold free and fire resistant! Walls made from hemp can last up to 500 years. How’s that for sustainability? Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today that contain large amounts of dangerous chemicals such as the very well known Bisphenol A. If all our plastics were made from hemp material you could literally purchase something that came in a plastic hemp container and then throw that container directly into the compost, as hemp plastics are completely biodegradable. Now why have we even been using the other harmful destructive ways of producing plastic?

 4. Fuel

Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: the oil from the pressed hempseed can be turned into biodiesel, or the fermented stalk can be made into ethanol and methanol. Biodiesel is completely biodegradable and a much cleaner fuel for the air. Even the exhaust produced from burning hempseed biodiesel has a pleasant smell. Although hemp is not the greatest alternative to fuel that is available, hemp fuel can be used temporarily because it can be used in all the existing vehicles today without making any alterations. Both sources of hemp fuel are non-toxic and are completely biodegradable.

 5. Nutrition

So, not only is hemp great for the environment, it is great for your body too! Hemp seeds are known to be one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet! Quite impressive, I know. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, Hemp seeds contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. They do not contain phytic acid, which means every last bit of goodness that these tiny seeds have to offer can be absorbed and utilized by the body! Hemp seeds have a great nutty taste to them too, so you’ll enjoy sprinkling them over salads or your other favorite dishes!

As you can see Hemp is an excellent choice for many different reasons. Almost everything created out of hemp is biodegradable, so not only do hemp products seem to last a lot longer, but when it is time to replace them, they can be returned back to the Earth. What a beautiful cycle! Really its design is perfect. It’s time to implement these new resources, we have the information, we have the technology, so what’s stopping us? The way I see it, Hemp will be at the forefront of a new Earth!


For more information on the many uses of Hemp visit:


Medical marijuana could help All Black Cory Jane's son


Medical marijuana could help All Black Cory Jane's son

All Black star Cory Jane and his wife Amie would consider moving their family to the US if it would help with the treatment of their epileptic son.

Parents of epileptic children from around the world - including New Zealand - are flying to the US, where the state of Colorado has legalised the use of marijuana and cannabis oil for medicinal reasons.

Amie Jane said her family would also consider such a move if 8-year-old Cassius suffered a setback with his own battle with epilepsy and ADHD.

And the Epilepsy NZ ambassador said it was wrong for people to judge parents who sought the unconventional remedy.

"If there is a treatment that will help my son I will weigh up the pros and cons," she told the Herald on Sunday.

"I will see what the side effects are. You are always going to do that as a parent. It's diabolical the amount of people who judge other parents.

"I have people telling me all the time how to parent my son who has health issues, behavioural issues and learning difficulties.

"And I think, 'You know what, do you have kids'? Some of them don't and even they give you their 5 cents worth."

Cassius was born with a rare genetic disorder, Tuberous Sclerosis, which affects his organs, including his brain, and his skin.

Jane, a mother of four, said her eldest child suffered from a range of seizures. He was diagnosed when he was about 16 months old.

Jane is thankful that Cassius' seizures are relatively controlled and right now he is seizure free. But if they became severe, she said the medical marijuana treatment in the US would be an option.

She said it would be understandable if parents whose children were suffering epilepsy and who had exhausted other forms of medication would consider trying medical marijuana.

"A lot of kids have no other options. Medically they have tried drugs and it's got to the point where it's interfering with their development - where they can't walk or talk."

Jane is mindful of the potential side effects of medical marijuana, but added: "What people don't realise is a lot of drugs that people are prescribed for epilepsy or seizures are used for bi-polar and other disorders and they have severe side effects. You have to have blood tests, urine tests to make sure everything is okay."

She said New Zealanders, including health bosses, should have an "open mind" about some alternative therapies.

Medsafe group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine said the Ministry of Health was not aware of how many New Zealand families travelled overseas to obtain cannabis products for medicinal reasons.

Jessamine said there was no prohibition on the research and development of medicines containing cannabinoids and the Ministry of Health expected applications from medicine manufacturers to be submitted in the future.

Amie Jane spoke out about the issue of medicinal cannabis just a week after proposed cannabis reforms were raised by the Internet Mana Party in the lead-up to the general election.

The reforms the party has called for include cannabis products to be legalised for medicinal use.

When asked for his views on decriminalising cannabis, Prime Minister John Key told the New Zealand Herald last month: "Even though I know lots of people use cannabis, in my view encouraging drug use is a step in the wrong direction for New Zealand."

Original article: Herald on Sunday