New Zealand Cannabis Institute Launching Pledge Me - A Kiwi First

Sunday 10 November 2019, 3:40PM

By RedPR


An artists render of the new development
An artists render of the new development Credit: Supplied


Early Investor Opportunity Opens Noon Tomorrow (Monday 11 Nov)

Public Investor Opportunity Opens 10am Tuesday 12th

The NZ Institute for Cannabis Education, Research and Development based in Christchurch, is rallying people who are passionate about cannabis to support a world-leading Kiwi initiative.

Whakamana (Fah Kah Mah Nah) will be established in the Christchurch CBD, and a PledgeMe Campaign is being launched on November 12th, inviting people to invest in the first social enterprise of its kind in the country. Pre-registration is now open and a special early investor opportunity tomorrow will be made available to those who sign up to the Whakamana Facebook page  The aim is to raise at least $1million and hopefully more.

Michael Mayell, social entrepreneur (Cookie Time, Nutrient Rescue), and cannabis expert, academic and educator, Abe Gray, (BA Sc, MSc) are working with a team to establish what will become the “trusted source of all information about cannabis”, and they aim to raise at least $1m, hopefully more.

Mayell says interest from all over the world has been very strong indeed since plans were announced about a month ago.

“Particularly from Australia,” he says. “Similar projects in recent months have been quickly over subscribed so investors and people interested in how cannabis can and will help us globally, are very keen to invest in such an exciting and potentially game-changing enterprises like Whakamana."

Gray, who is a botanist and science communicator with 20 years of experience in the cannabis industry, says the focus at Whakamana is on education.

“Being informed and understanding the issues related to cannabis, is absolutely essential to making good decisions,” he says. “Cannabis has been used in some cultures for thousands of years. It used to be the number one industrial crop globally, and many don’t know that medicinal cannabis was legal in this country less than a hundred years ago.”

The plans for Whakamana include a hemp food café, an alcohol-free nightclub, a plant-medicine shot bar, a hemp emporium and a cannabis dispensary (should the 2020 referendum progress the legislation required for this).

Michael Mayell says in a country where environmental sustainability and health are all inextricably linked to one of our leading primary industries - dairying - cannabis is a much better option¹.

“This could become New Zealand’s main primary industry,” he says. “It’s good for the land, good for the environment, good for the planet.”

Mayell adds that as Christchurch’s CBD starts to really develop, tourists and locals are returning to the inner city in growing numbers.

“Internationally, cannabis tourism continues to increase in popularity². Christchurch can have a slice of the cake,” he says. “Whakamana will be an avant-garde attraction for locals and tourists alike; a facility that Christchurch can be proud of.”

The establishment of this ground-breaking initiative will ensure the restoration and ongoing future of two of Christchurch’s most historically significant buildings; Shands Emporium - the oldest commercial wooden building in Christchurch, and the deconsecrated historic Trinity Church (now called ‘Trinity’).

“After the earthquakes and the subsequent re-developing of the city, Christchurch lost a great deal of its heritage. More than 1300 buildings in the inner city have been demolished. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to preserve such beautiful buildings as these,” says Mr Mayell. 

The Whakamana PledgeMe site is here 

¹ Cannabis is a high-growth industry around the world, and in the US there’s been a 35% growth in the sector, year on year.

² Cannabis tourism is also experiencing massive growth, with the Colorado sector having grown by 51 percent since 2014



The NZ Institute of Cannabis Education, Research and Development

217 Manchester, Christchurch, New Zealand  


For details of upcoming evening educational events and for the latest information regarding the Pledge Me campaign - and



Instagram: @cannabismuseumnz

Twitter: @cannabismuseum

Hashtags: #CannabisMatters #Whakamana 



As part of the Cannabis Matters information evenings at Whakamana, Rose Renton will be speaking about medicinal cannabis at Whakamana on Nov 18th. 

Details here     Tickets available here




Whakamana - Cannabis Institute For Education, Research and Development (Christchurch)

Michael Mayell, social entrepreneur (Cookie Time, Nutrient Rescue) and hemp environmentalist (Drinkable Rivers) is teaming up with cannabis expert and educator, Abe Gray, to establish a cannabis social enterprise in two iconic central Christchurch heritage buildings.

Whakamana: the New Zealand Institute of Cannabis Education, Research, and Development will be based in the historic 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.

Whakamana will see a cannabis education centre of excellence established, providing the public with freely available, educational, fun experiences related to cannabis ‘plant–power’.  Additionally, Whakamana will support the medical profession with cutting edge research and accredited courses to advance their knowledge in the use of cannabis in medicine. Last and by no means least, Whakamana will promote and advocate for new uses of cannabis as a viable, sustainable food and fibre source.

There’ll be an interactive world class cannabis museum and education centre, a hemp food eatery, a plant-medicine shot bar, a hemp emporium, an alcohol-free nightclub, and subject to the outcome of the 2020 cannabis referendum, a cannabis dispensary.

The facilities will be built once the PledgeMe crowdfunding 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, a cannabis academic and expert who originally established the Whakamana Cannabis Museum in Dunedin, has no doubt the Christchurch venture will be a success. 

“The demand for cannabis education experiences is exploding globally as this industry expands exponentially and New Zealand is no exception,” says Gray.

Whakamana will be developed in two stages:

Stage One sees Whakamana leasing Shand’s for five months and creating a PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign seeking $1 million+ to transform the adjoining Trinity into a world class cannabis educational experience. That campaign is due to launch on November 11.

Stage Two will commence once the money has been raised, allowing the finishing of the Trinity building reinstatement, and opening of the hemp eatery, alcohol-free nightclub and plant-medicine shot bar, and a 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 the trusted source of cannabis education, research and development, to further that purpose.

Michael and Abe have both expressed ‘immense gratitude’ to the Trustees of the Christchurch Historic Trust for the wonderful work they have done on these two Christchurch landmarks.

Abe and Michael, who met at the inaugural iHemp Summit in Wellington last year, are based in Shand’s with the Whakamana Team, and will be hosting cannabis educational evenings with a different focus each night. 

For more information, the website is or check out facebook  for details of the evening educational events.


About Abe Gray: 

Abe Gray is a Botanist and Science Communicator with 20 years of experience in the Cannabis Industry. Originally from Minnesota, USA, he has lived most of his adult life in New Zealand where he gained his Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Botany at the University of Otago in Dunedin. He combined his 20 years of experience as a cannabis legalisation activist with his 15 years of experience as a tutor and guest lecturer in Biology to found New Zealand’s first interactive cannabis educational experience, the Whakamana Cannabis Museum, in 2013. He is also the primary caregiver to his two children while his wife works as a surgeon. Abe lives in Christchurch and enjoys tramping, bike riding and bird-watching in his spare time. 

About Michael Mayell: