iHemp Summit 2018


On July 5/6th 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 (www.nzhia.co.nz) 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 hello@hempforvictory.co.nz

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

Rongoā Māori

Pa ROngoa.jpg

To get to know Te Ngahere, we must Listen. Watch. Notice the details. Be prepared to visit the forest, to build up a sense of really belonging, becoming part of the family of Tāne. To learn from the #Kaumātua (elders) is to be entrusted with the wisdom of traditional Rongoā Māori medicine. It is to carry the #Taonga (treasure), and realise that we are receiving not just the knowledge, but the responsibility to care for it and protect it. To ensure its survival.

It is our duty as #kaitiaki to understand our interconnected relationship to our forests, our rivers, and our mountains. To understand that when a river or forest is sick/polluted, inherently part of ourselves is also sick.

Rongoā Māori is so much more than the rakau (trees) and the medicinal chemistry in the leaves. It is about Te #Mauri (the life force) and Te #Wairua (the spiritual dimension) that flows through and connects all living things.

The knowledge of Rongoā Māori grew out of the tradition of being part of the forest and the accumulation of generations of close observation of every detail. To really know Rongoā Māori, we have to become a part of that tradition.


The Kereru; Gardener of the Skies


The native New Zealand Wood Pidgeon, endemic to Aotearoa and regarded as the "Gardener of the Skies"... Without them, our large native trees such as #Tawa, #Taraire, #Matai and #Puriri (seen in painting) would struggle to survive, as the Kererū play a crucial role being the only native bird big enough to carry seeds from the fruit of these larger trees, dropping them in new pastures for the #ngahere (forest) to continue to regenerate.

Nationally, around 20,000 Kereru have been observed in Aotearoa, but due to predators (possums, rats and stoats) and continued habitat loss by native deforestation, these numbers may begin to dwindle over the next few years.

This painting is the first of a series to educate and create awareness about our native birds and bushes of Aotearoa, drawing from conservation work and the #ketetuauri of indigenous Maori wisdom.

#rongoamaori #indigenousAF #kereru #puriritree #gparker #tereomaori #ednotmed #conservation #DOC #aotearoa #nativebirdsnz #newzealand #birdappreciationsociety #birdsandbushes #organicmechanic

Kereru April 2018.JPG

The Hemp Revolution


In the photo above you will see New Zealand hemp legend Dave Jordan founder of @hempfarmnz separating the seeds from the mulch by hand at this years hemp harvest in April.

During this time I visited with Cam Sims and helped out with the very manual tasks of the harvest, which without the help of dedicated and expensive machinery, requires a full community and days of committed labour to complete.


As we approach planting season in NZ in late October, Dave and his wife Anne have been travelling across Europe to investigate the latest innovations in hemp growing, harvesting, and processing. This new knowledge will enable the Hemp Farm to take the New Zealand hemp industry to the next level, boosting both production volume and efficiency for local crops and growers.


Organic Mechanic, Hemp For Victory and I have some special news to share about this years grow in the coming weeks - stay tuned.

Pictures by @_plantculture

#kaiora #hempforvictory #plantculture #organicmechanic

Plant Power - The Planet Solution

PLANT POWER - I was brought up with the classic Kiwi mentality of eating meat almost every meal and every day.

Over the last 2 years, I haven't eaten a pig, cow, lamb, or chicken (or any other land dwelling animal) and I'm not just surviving - I'm thriving.

Instead, I have adopted a mainly plant based diet, with the equivalent of perhaps half a fish per week, and free range, organic eggs from our neighbours and local organic stores IE Produc  Huckleberr, and Wise Cicad. I won't buy dairy products on purpose, but if I do - I'll make sure it's organic and of the best quality.

In complete transparency and contrast to that, there are also times where you might catch me eating a V-Twin Vege burger or even the off chance of a #glutenplus pizza covered in cheese.

I am very aware and conscious of the impact on my body and the planet from my diet - and I am doing my best to be the change I want to see in the world whilst allowing the stretch room for experimentation and play.

On a deeper level, I have adopted this mentality not just for the health and respect of my body, but for a love of the animals, and responsibility for the protection and guardianship of the planet. #kaitiaki

Cage farming and our modern ways of raising animals and cattle for us to eat is both an environmental, ethical and spiritual travesty. As a collective society many of us have become completely detached from where our food comes from, & this is a fundamental issue that is affecting us as a civilization. This needs to change now. We need to take responsibility for our consumer choices & stop supporting practices which are destroying the planet and the needless slaughter of innocent animal lives.

If that is not yet hitting home, NZ has one of the highest intakes of meat & dairy in the world, and we also have corresponding highest rates of bowel and breast cancer... Not saying that meat is the reason for this, but an over intake of meat and dairy into a toxic, blocked up gut microbiome.

If this post can help to encourage one person to cut their meat intake and become more conscious about cage farming and where their food comes from, then I'll be a happy lad.

#getconscious #plantpower #ednotmed

King Tawhiao - The Second Maori King

From 1860, King Tawhiao's reign would last for 34 years, peacefully guiding his people through some of the most turbulent eras of Maori-Pakeha relations.

In 1863 during the invasion of Maori land by British forces under the pretext that Waikato tribes (United by Tawhiao) were "preparing to attack" Auckland, Tawhiao and his people were forced to retreat as refugees to the heartland of Waikato, which eventually became known as King Country.

In the peak of his reign, King Tawhaio's mana and sphere of influence stretched from the Bombay hills to as far East as Tauranga, West as Raglan and as far south as Taupo. His visionary leadership and prophetic presence held a shining light of hope and an ideological example for his people (Followers of the King Movement) throughout these times.

His values of Kaitiaki left a legacy for Maori culture, adapting to the rapidly changing Aotearoa landscape, with a dream for a self sufficient economic base, supported by the strength of its people. Native trees and foods symbolise strength and self-sufficiency in his statement "I shall build my own house, the ridge pole work be of hinau (tall forest tree), and the supporting posts of mohoe and patete (common trees). This who inhabit the house shall be raised on rengarenga (NZ Spinach) and nurtured on kawariki (Edible plant)."


#selfsufficiency #peacefulrevolution #plantpower #kingtawhiao #maoriking #tangatawhenua #kingcountry  #ednotmed #kaitiaki #turangawaewae #wairua

The Cannabis Revolution

When I think about the damage that alcohol has caused in our society... How many cases of heart disease and liver toxicity directly attributed to alcohol consumption have ended lives... How many acts of violence, idiotic behaviour and bad decisions have been made under its influence... How our streets can be visually polluted with advertising from giant alcohol companies glorifying a life of decadence and splendour - it is no wonder our youth have a huge social problem with binge drinking.

In this picture, are medicinal cannabis plants. A sister plant to hemp, (which focuses on producing seeds and fibre) as these grow beautifully fragrant flowers/herbs which can be dried & prepared for medicinal/sacramental and recreational purposes.

There have been zero deaths attributed to Cannabis use around the world for the last 100+ years. People don't get violent when they smoke the herb. Nobody gets raped. People get creative, and it's quite hard to ignore the connection to Mother Nature and oneness one can feel. When it is used with proper preparation and wisdom, Cannabis can even cure and relieve chronic diseases and auto-immune conditions like seizures, Multiple Schlerosis, and even cancer.

To the uneducated individual, it is quite likely that everything we think we know about cannabis is wrong.

Like anything though, Cannabis can also be abused. It can heighten existing psychological traumas or issues by bringing them out into the open, and repetitive use can create negative behavioural patterns, becoming a coping mechanism to escape from the daily struggle of real life. I have seen both sides...

With my experiences I feel it is time to bring this out into the open. To make a point as to how we glorify the socially destructive nature of alcohol and suppress the healing and earth regenerating herb.

The societal issues with cannabis are not criminal offences, but health issues. At the very least, it's time to decriminalise Cannabis, and open the doors for ways in which it can help and heal us as a society - the way that hemp certainly is.

Aho 🍁

www.hempforvictory.nz #decriminalise #cannabis #aotearoa #ednotmed #hemp #ganja #marijuana #hempforvictorynz

Entrepreneurship = Perserverance

Organic Mechanic was born out of a dream to do things differently, to be liberated from society's ideals of having a career, of having a job, being a cog in the machine, working on someone else's dreams.. Instead we live life in the highest alignment of our own dreams, taking control of our own future and lifestyle full of freedom, abundance and adventure, all whilst creating the biggest possible positive impact on the world around us.

Along the path, we have encountered many people who simply told us "no", people who couldn't see and appreciate our vision. But this has only given us more motivation to succeed. We are grounded in the affirmation that we are unstoppable, and feel in the words of Steve Jobs that "about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."

That is spending the extra hours past midnight, sending that extra email, helping that person unload their stock from the car, getting right back up when things go wrong, and going the extra mile (every time) which is in our case brewing thousands of litres of kombucha while the world is still sleeping.. (Last night this happened - Yeeea Budgie Lemons Rajeev and JBoogie Jason Corliss.) Or leaving Splore Festival to go and build the ‪#‎OMshack‬ - yeeea Gradie Plums.. Or perhaps it is spending days on end delivering OM Kombucha to over 75 stores when the courier lets us down - Yeeeea Nicky Avos a.k.a. Nick Corliss.

If you wake up every morning and aren't absolutely stoked, excited and inspired about the job or activity you are about to do, something needs to change. The legend ‪#‎JimCarrey‬ once said, "you could fail at a job you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

Don't settle for anything less.

‪#‎higherpurpose‬ ‪#‎alignyourdreams‬ ‪#‎OMkombucha‬ ‪#‎organicmechanic‬