Supporting Māori businesses to thrive

Based in the sunny Hawke’s Bay, Māori-owned business Kanapu Hempery is thriving. Combining mātauranga Māori and contemporary technology to develop high quality, Aotearoa grown hemp seed products.

Published: Thursday, 10 March 2022 | Rāpare, 10 Poutūterangi, 2022

Isaac Beach (Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rangitihi) Managing Director, and Kirby Heath (Kāti Huirapa, Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kai Tahu), Sales and Marketing, are at the helm of a small, tight-knit team. They pride themselves on their commitment to producing quality products, upholding their role as kaitiaki of the whenua and their commitment to te ao Māori, with the Te Tiriti o Waitangi guiding the way they work and live. 

Supported by Te Puni Kōkiri, through the Māori Business Growth Fund, Kanapu Hempery was able to identify and address capability gaps, and also develop a research and development division. The support has enabled them to expand their product range and develop new products, including hemp milk.

Creating opportunities for whenua Māori landowners is important for Kanapu. A driver of their business is enabling whānau to utilise their whenua in a way that contributes to the wellbeing and prosperity of whānau. Part of this is engaging with Māori landowners throughout the process to support them to realise their aspirations for their own whenua.

Reflecting on their decision to grow hemp, informed by an educational overseas haerenga, and with the business going from strength to strength, Isaac says “we wouldn’t change it for the world”.