Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Matakana Island Joins the Medical Cannabis Industry

TAURANGA, Wednesday 18th December 2019: Local whānau on one of New Zealand’s most intriguing islands have just received a licence* to grow medicinal cannabis. Grown outside in the Matakana Island sunshine, Mahana Island Therapies will be one of the only legal and naturally grown cannabis products of its kind in the world.

Matakana is a narrow, 28 kilometre-long sandbar at the head of the Tauranga harbour in the Bay of Plenty. Renowned for its unique geology, history and ecology, the island’s primary industries are forestry, dairy farming, kiwifruit and other horticultural activities. Famed for its stunning surf beach, the island is home to about 200 permanent residents.

Working in partnership with Eqalis, a medical cannabis firm based in Katikati, Mahana Island Therapies has been established with the aim of turning Matakana Island’s ideal growing conditions into a thriving horticultural industry providing future pathways for local residents.

Jason Murray and Aimee Armstrong, at the helm of Mahana Island Therapies are determined to develop a unique business model largely centred on tikanga Māori values. Using age-old concepts of Rongoā (traditional Māori medicine), they intend to grow and manufacture a range of premium healing products to improve the health and quality of life of New Zealanders suffering from chronic illness and pain.

“We see this as our chance to achieve real gains for our people, a way to use our ancestral land effectively to provide meaningful employment opportunities for our rangatahi and grow the health of our island community,” says Jason.

Set at the mouth of the Tauranga Harbour, Matakana Island has a unique micro-climate with high sunshine hours and rich soils for horticultural industries. Mahana means warmth in Māori and the name Mahana Island Therapies reflects the connection the whānau have with the land and its people.

Jason and Aimee have already made their mark on Matakana with a lengthy project to regenerate the natural flora and fauna of the island. Working with Island whānau, Ngā Whenua Rahui, DOC and the local councils they have developed a significant native plant nursery and replanted large areas of wetlands and swamps.

With Jason’s background in biochemistry and marine biology and Aimee’s degree in Māori Development and Geography, the pair are a formidable force for positive, practical horticultural development on Matakana Island.

Aimee is a passionate taiao (environmental) practitioner and has a strong interest in Rongoā Maori, learning to harness the powers of native plants to improve the health of her whānau. Blending the ancient with modern medicinal practices is the ultimate goal for the couple and Mahana Island Therapies.

“Our products are the perfect mix of our past, present and future. By combining our matauranga along with high level science we are creating a new pathway for our people, sharing the knowledge with future generations and fulfilling our role as kaitiaki of our land,” says Jason.

The partnership between Mahana Island Therapies and Eqalis has enabled the Murrays to advance their operation significantly. Eqalis hold two licenses* to grow medicinal cannabis and have partnered with some of the country’s most experienced horticulturalists, scientists, and medical specialists. Their collective experience as well as the research backing of Eqalis’ pharmacy expert, Elizabeth Plant, has been central to Mahana Island Therapies’ establishment.

Eqalis managing director Greg Misson says the partnership between Mahana Island Therapies and Eqalis was a natural fit, “Early on when we established Eqalis we recognised the importance of working with people whose values, goals, and motivations aligned closely with ours. Jason and Aimee epitomise Eqalis’ aims of developing a culture of transparency, determination and innovation”.

“Both Eqalis and Mahana Island Therapies are positioned to bring a comprehensive range of high quality plant-based healing products to the huge numbers of Kiwis currently struggling with pain in our communities.”

Most Kiwis support medical cannabis reform with the Sapere Research Institute reporting that 1 in 5 are struggling with chronic pain conditions, and nearly a quarter of a million Kiwis take regular pain medication. Demand for natural pain relief is high.

To learn more about Eqalis visit

*Mahana Island Therapies and Eqalis have secured licences to grow cannabis for research purposes. Both companies are working on securing several additional licences that include manufacture, wholesale and distribution of pharmacy medicines.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>


Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>


ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>


Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>


RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>


Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>


Telecoms: Spark Welcomes Spectrum Allocation And Prepares For 5G Rollout Over The Next 12 Months

Spark welcomes spectrum allocation and prepares for 5G rollout over the next 12 months Spark today welcomed the announcement of the direct allocation process of 5G spectrum, with the Company to be offered management rights to 60 MHz of 3.5 GHz ... More>>


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>


RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>


Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>


Government: Tax Changes Throw Cash Lifeline To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>


Statistics: Some Indicators Pick Up As New Zealand Moves Out Of Lockdown

New Zealanders moved around more in the main centres and used more fuel and power while weekly exports held up as the country left the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown, Stats NZ said today. COVID-19 data porta l, our new webpage, includes about 40 near-real-time ... More>>


University Of Canterbury: Astronomers Discover The Science Behind Star Bursts That Light Up The Sky

University of Canterbury (UC) astronomers are part of an international team that has revealed how explosions on the surface of a white dwarf star can increase its brightness by thousands or millions of times making it look like a new star. For ... More>>

RNZ: International Passenger Numbers At Auckland Airport Drop 95 Percent

Auckland Airport says international passengers numbers have dropped more than 95 percent in the first 20 days of April over the year earlier. More>>