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Ed Sheeran

Maori hemp businesses look to exports
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A Māori hemp and cannabis business cluster are trying to identify new products with export potential.

Richard Jones from Māori business development agency Poutama says Mihi or Movers in Hemp Innovation came together in July 2018 to bring together Māori in the industry or wanting to enter.

Because New Zealand has been slower than other countries to open up to hemp and cannabis products, the members felt they needed to develop high-value hemp-derived products that incorporate Māori values and culture.

Market research in North America funded by a $100,000 Māori food & beverage development grant from the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge should tell MIHI whether it is on the right track.

"What value is there in the New Zealand brand and in an indigenous brand? In this respect, we are also working with Canadian First Nations on whether we can develop a joint product. We've got the manuka honey. They've got the CBD oil. Can we combine the two and come up with a product that is different?" Mr Jones says.

He says the market research may indicate whether there is value in marketing products under an indigenous brand.

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