New Zealand Cannabis Institute PledgeMe Campaign Ends on Monday

Friday 13 December 2019, 12:51PM

By RedPR


New Zealand's first and only Cannabis Museum is celebrating a massive ripple effect of cannabis education and empowerment that has swept across Christchurch and wider New Zealand.

While it appears Whakamana’s (Fah Kah Mah Nah) crowdfunding goal of establishing a Cannabis Institute of Research and Development in a deconsecrated church, will not reach its minimum investment level, the co-founders consider their campaign over the last three months to have been hugely successful in terms of education and engagement.

Whakamana was recently established in the Christchurch CBD in the restored Shands building, and a Pledge Me Campaign was launched on November 12th, inviting people to invest in the first social enterprise of its kind in the country. In fact, there's still time for Kiwis who are passionate about the potential benefits of the cannabis industry for New Zealand, to invest before Monday.

Social entrepreneur, Michael Mayell, together with cannabis expert, academic and educator, Abe Gray, (BSc, MSc) say the plans to develop and grow Whakamana will continue.

“We have opened Shands again as a boutique Cannabis Museum and that is a very positive achievement,” says Mayell. “There’s a lot happening on the cannabis investment front right now and our PledgeMe campaign reached a lot of people which is also pleasing.”

Abe Gray says recent scaremongering from the “anti-cannabis brigade” makes it clearer that having somewhere like Whakamana presenting facts is even more critical in the lead up to the 2020 referendum, and beyond.  

“We want people to make informed decisions and that can only happen if the information they are receiving is correct. We are seeing more scaremongering based on incorrect information or people’s fears which are often misplaced,” he says.

Mayell and Gray say that this kind of scaremongering means people aren’t prepared to stand up and “come out of the cannabis closet,” as Mayell puts it.

“One senior adviser in a government department I have recently spoken with is a daily cannabis consumer, and they fully supported Whakamana and would invest but didn’t want to risk their job and so hesitated to invest in something they strongly believed in,” says Mayell.

“Around 320,000 New Zealanders consume cannabis every day according to a Horizon poll released earlier this year,” says Gray. “At least 170,000 Kiwi’s use cannabis medicinally (source: MOH website) and they buy their medicine from about 2000 Green Fairies around the country. We have to be able to talk about this openly and acknowledge what is happening in cannabis culture if we are to have honest conversations based on fact, not scaremongering attacks by groups who don’t know what they are talking about.”

Michael and Abe are quick to point out that not all the 260 people who have so far pledged in the Whakamana campaign are cannabis or medicinal cannabis users. Many have pledged because they support the regenerative potential of Hemp - cannabis grown for food, fibre, medicine, fuel and the only plant that can feed you, clothe you, house you and heal you.  

“Hemp has also been prohibited for 80 years and most people have no idea of its regenerative potential...we will continue our work at Whakamana adding balance and facts to the cannabis conversation,” says Michael Mayell.

Investors in the Whakamana PledgeMe campaign can invest anonymously, and their name will not be displayed if they wish to remain anonymous. Pledges to the campaign are merely a commitment to invest should the minimum goal be reached, and no actual money will be collected until the New Year.


Some background reading

“Hopefully prominent Canadians, respected Canadians, who use will come forward and talk about their use, and how they’ve integrated it into their daily lives. That’s a move toward a full normalization of cannabis in society.” 

Instagram: @cannabismuseumnz

Twitter: @cannabismuseum

Hashtags: #CannabisMatters #Whakamana 



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


Whakamana Museum Limited 

The NZ Institute of Cannabis Education, Research & Development 

217 Manchester and 124 Worcester Street, Christchurch, NZ 


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