Medicinal cannabis operation grows
WHAT was meant to be a small boutique operation at their rural home has developed into a partnership with an overseas giant.
Whakaari Enterprises is an Eastern Bay business focused on producing and supplying high-quality medicinal cannabis to the New Zealand market.
Since its establishment in 2018, co-founders Henare and Katie Gage have hosted information sessions, sourced investors, gathered a team, formed a growers’ co-operative and met with Spanish giant Soria Natural.
Soria Natural, based in Soria, Spain, is a science-based medical practice, which uses plant-derived supplements to support the body’s natural responses.
Mr Gage, along with two other Whakaari Enterprises team members, travelled to Soria last month to visit the laboratory, see the crops and talk to experts.
No agreements have been signed yet, but Mr Gage said the plan would involve Whakaari Enterprises growing cannabis, extracting the oil to be exported to Soria and produced into product then returned to New Zealand for distribution.
Mr Gage said the visit to Soria included groups from Columbia, Mexico, Spain and New Zealand.
“When we were there reality kicked in about the size of the operation.
“It is massive. The industry is massive.
“There are a lot of opportunities. Soria wants us to be the Australasian agent.”
Mr Gage said Soria representatives would visit the Eastern Bay in September and people from different regions around New Zealand have reached out to Whakaari Enterprises, sharing their interest in working together towards the production aspect.
“Soria has realised the potential in New Zealand. They want our summer so they can produce all year round.”
Soria Natural prides itself on being “the perfect blend of tradition and science” with “carefully formulated products based on ingredients of the highest quality, with the goal of restoring the health of millions of customers around the world”.
Mr Gage said Soria’s products are sold in 33 countries.
Before anything could progress, Whakaari Enterprises needed to be granted a licence to cultivate medicinal cannabis for research and development.
“We want to make sure we have everything right.
“Our team members all have families, full-time jobs and other commitments, but they’ve put in some solid dedication to get to where we are now. We have too much to lose.
“Any domestic investors with an interest in being a part of this emerging industry with a local company that wants to give back to the Eastern Bay community, should contact Whakaari Enterprises,” Mr Gage said.
“There are some big growing contracts coming up. This thing is going to be massive.”