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Cannabis Institute for Christchurch Historic Buildings

Whakamana Museum Limited

Sunday 11 August 2019

Cannabis Institute for Christchurch Historic Buildings

Two of the oldest buildings in Christchurch are set to house New Zealand’s first Cannabis social enterprise.

Whakamana: the New Zealand Institute of Cannabis Education, Research, and Development, will be based in Shands Emporium,the oldest commercial wooden building in Christchurch, and the historic Trinity Church. The buildings sit side by side on the corner of Worcester and Manchester Streets and have been restored by the Christchurch Historic Trust.

Michael Mayell, social entrepreneur, (Cookie Time, Nutrient Rescue) and hemp environmentalist (Drinkable Rivers), is teamingup with veteran cannabis educator, Abe Gray, to establish this New Zealand first.

Whakamana will incorporate an interactive world class cannabis museum and education centre, a hemp food cafe and restaurant, analcohol-free plant-medicine shot bar, a hemp emporium, and subject to the outcome of the 2020 cannabis referendum, a cannabis dispensary.

The facilities will be built once a $1 million PledgeMe crowd funding campaign has been completed. Michael Mayell is excited by the venture and says, “this will be a facility that Christchurch will be proud of, an avant-garde attraction for locals and tourists alike - cannabis tourism is on the rise”.

Abe Gray, who originally established the Whakamana Cannabis Museum in Dunedin has no doubt the Christchurch venture will be asuccess. “The demand for cannabis education experiences is exploding globally as this industry expands exponentially and NewZealand is no exception,” says Gray.

Whakamana will also establish a Cannabis Education Centre of Excellence. This will provide the public with freely available, educational, fun experiences about Cannabis ‘plant –power’, and the medical profession with cutting edge research and accredited courses to advance their knowledge in the use of cannabis in medicines. As well as pioneering new uses for Cannabis as a viable, sustainable food and fibre source.

Abe Gray says the education that will be provided is critical to New Zealand.

“Cannabis is widely misunderstood in New Zealand. People forget that it has been used in some cultures for thousands of years. Itused to be the number one industrial crop globally and was legal in this country less than a hundred years ago.”


Whakamana will be established in two stages.

Stage One sees Whakamana leasing Shand’s for five months and creating a PledgeMe crowd funding campaign seeking $1 million+ to transform the adjoining Trinity into a world class cannabis educational experience.

Stage Two will commence once the money has been raised, allowing the finishing of the Trinity building reinstatement, and opening ofthe hemp food cafe and restaurant, alcohol- free plant-medicine shot bar, and hemp emporium.

Whakamana’s social purpose is to improve lives and restore the planet through plant power, and the organisation’s vision is to be thetrusted source of cannabis education, research and development, to further our purpose.

“Hemp (low THC cannabis) really matters for New Zealand,” says Michael Mayell, who is advocating for a shift from Cows to Cannabis for Drinkable Rivers, and is on a personal mission to enable every Kiwi to eat 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds a day for the health of our bodies, the environment, and the economy.

Michael and Abe both expressed ‘immense gratitude’ to the Trustees of the Christchurch Historic Trust for the wonderful job they have done restoring these two Christchurch landmarks. “Shands Emporium and Trinity Church’s history will be acknowledged andtheir new life as an Institute dedicated to Earth’s most versatile vegetable was a fitting next chapter for these 150 year old icons”they said.

Abe and Michael, who met at the inaugural iHemp Summit in Wellington last year, will be based in Shand’s for the next five months and will be hosting crowd funding information and cannabis educational evenings with a different focus each night. The first night will beHemp Food on Monday 19th August from 6-9pm.

For more information, the website is cannabisinstitute.ac.nz or check out Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CannabisMuseum/ for details of the evening educational events.


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