In March NZHIA Members from the Waikato and Northland were invited to visit a hemp crop, here are the thoughts of Anna Harding a young journalist.
Field trial of Kompolti, with a maize boarder crop Pukekohe March 2017
After reading an article about hemp four years ago, it has since been in the back of my mind. When I lived in Europe I tired as many hemp products as I could and when I got to Amsterdam the hemp and marijuana museum was first one my list of things to see.
This year my brother is planning to grow hemp for the first time. So when he told me he was going to a hemp farm open day, I was super keen.
So one last month we drove down to Richards farm in Pukekohe. We were the first ones there, and we where greeted by Richard and his display of hemp hats and bags that he he’s been selling at local markets. He also had some hemp seeds in various forms for us to try - ‘tofu’ hemp, hemp milk and hemp seeds.
Eventually around 20 of us came, and it was awesome to get to know everyone and compare hemp notes. Most of us were hoping to grow it for the first time this year, with only one group having grown it before besides Richard.
It was really interesting for us newbie’s to have access to these people, especially Richard, so we could ask face to face as questions came up. From the conversations I realised that Hemp is restricted by laws a lot more than I thought. I guess living in Europe and seeing it so freely made me forget how behind we are in New Zealand.
My brother Mathew, the one who’s keen to grow it said “information about the industry and where its at, and making contacts was extremely valuable, like finding out someone up north was doing a harvest a few weeks after, so I was able to contact them and go along to help out. I now feel more optimistic, keen and confident to grow it myself."
So after all introducing ourselves, we went and had a look at Richards crop. Mathew and I had never seen hemp growing before so it was so interesting and awesome to see it.
Some things that really interested me was learning about hemp being a wind pollinating plant, upcoming possible law changes and why they haven’t changed yet, that there are other hemp farmers in the North, and the stages of growing it to harvest.
While Mathew is keen to get stuck in and is applying for his license, I still defiantly have the travel bug. So I plan to go back to Europe after saving enough money again. And hopefully get a job in the industry, learn all I can, and bring it back to New Zealand and start a Hempire!