Hikurangi Cannabis Company unveils board, global export strategy and name change.

The Hikurangi Cannabis Company has announced its board of directors, a global export strategy and a name change ahead of New Zealand's Medicinal Cannabis Scheme becoming operational in early 2020.

The company has appointed experienced Independent Chairman, Trevor Burt, to lead its board. Burt has extensive corporate executive and governance experience having served in global executive roles and on the boards of agricultural companies PGG Wrightson, Landpower, Silver Fern Farms and Market Gardeners NZ, and as Chair of Lyttleton Port and Ngai Tahu Holdings.

Burt is joined by Independent Director, Anna Stove, former General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline NZ who brings 25 years of global experience within the pharmaceutical sector across Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

Burt and Stove are the latest appointments to the board, which also includes three Directors; Hikurangi Co-Founder, Panapa Ehau; Brett Gamble, who has a background in corporate finance and private equity globally working in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand; and Martin Smith who brings 25 years-experience in consumer goods and global marketing as former Chief Executive for L’Oreal NZ and previously a Regional Director for L’Oreal across Asia Pacific, Western Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East.

Hikurangi CEO, Manu Caddie says, “We've got an outstanding board with the range of skills and expertise we need to build a diversified business along the value chain.

“Over the last 12 months the business has been focused on laying the solid foundations to build a resilient, sustainable, fully integrated business with multiple, diverse revenue streams within the medicinal cannabis sector.

“We are linking to a high-performing investment and innovation ecosystem from genetics and cultivation technology, to research, manufacturing, product development, pharmaceuticals and marketing.

“Within this sunrise industry, the context in which the business is operating in is constantly evolving. Over the last year, the board and management have made significant progress to ensure that the business is match fit at the starting line in 2020.

“You have to ignore the hype and get on with the hard mahi required to be in pole position when we get the green light from the regulators.”

“We are building the expertise within the company and with external research partners needed to be a world leader in plant genetics and compounds of the cannabis plant through focused R&D investment. We are working towards understanding the full potential of cannabinoids to enhance and restore health – naturally, safely and effectively.

“The company’s first horizon will be to grow, manufacture and export high-value pharmaceutical grade products for export to international medicinal cannabis customers.”

Caddie says the work by the board and management team this year is critical to position the company at the cutting edge of the medicinal cannabis industry world-wide, with investments in R&D to discover and unlock the true potential of the plant.

The company is also investing in long-term relationships with the leading plant research organisations and medical researchers in New Zealand and internationally.

“The board has challenged us to think globally from day one, while emphasising responsibility to the local community. The kaupapa to give back to the community will always be in our DNA.”

Chair, Trevor Burt says, he’s excited by the company and its purpose. “The foundations of this company are something special and mean so much to the local community in the East Coast.

“Success can have such an impact on the local community, and I see an important part of my role as providing a bridge between successful commercial outcomes and community outcomes.

“I have joined a board with the broad skills to steer this company to reach its full commercial potential. The type of skills we are seeing the world’s leading medicinal cannabis companies are appointing to their boards.

“But, just as importantly, people attracted to this company aren’t just focused on financial success. They are acutely aware of social impacts back at the flax roots. This is an exciting industry going through an exciting time and it’s great to be involved.

“There’s no blueprint for entering a sunrise industry. But there is a blueprint for building a sustainable, long-term business. It starts with getting the foundations right, with good governance and good strategy.”

Burt says the business has a clear strategy to climb the value curve of the global medicinal cannabis industry to become a world leader in research and development of plant genetics and medicines derived from the cannabis plant.

“The board has worked with Hikurangi’s management team to sharpen the company’s strategy, utilising the full range of our directors’ expertise. We’ve mapped the value chain and will ensure that the growth plan along that chain is realistic and achievable.

“The company’s opportunity once the new regulations come in early next year is to grow, manufacture and export GMP certified pharmaceutical products.”

With the global medicinal cannabis market estimated to be worth over $100bn by 2026, Burt says the company’s competition is international, not local industry players.

“New Zealand has an excellent heritage in horticultural IP, where we have taken a global leadership position in plant genetics and research to create unique high value products. This company is looking to replicate that excellence in cannabis cultivars to create innovative new health products that carry the highest pharmaceutical grade certification backed by robust clinical evidence to give confidence to prescribers and patients,” he says.

Caddie says while the company is thinking global, it remains committed to sustainable economic development in the Ruatoria and East Coast community and to create jobs within this region and beyond. But as part of the company’s development, it is changing its name to Rua Bioscience.

“Indigenous innovation and Hikurangi Enterprises’ kaupapa to use the power of the plant to heal the people and the land, will continue to underpin the company’s mission and values and ensure we remain unique in New Zealand and around the world.

“It will continue to drive new opportunities for our community in Ruatoria and across the East Coast as the company grows. But the name Hikurangi needs to remain in the community.

Hikurangi Cannabis Company grew under the umbrella of Hikurangi Enterprises to work towards creating sustainable economic development and job creation, focused on the opportunity in the sunrise medicinal cannabis industry.

Caddie says that the opportunity is now a business poised to climb the value curve of the global medicinal cannabis industry.

“The name Hikurangi needs to remain with Hikurangi Enterprises and our whanau living in the shadow of the mountain. With the company poised to enter international markets, the time is right for it to have its own name, Rua Bioscience, which will carry it into the future and can flex with the company as it evolves.

“Rua references the company’s home and roots in Ruatoria. Bioscience underpins the company’s focus on bringing together world leading expertise in plant genetics and science to create unique, high-value pharmaceutical products derived from indigenous innovation.

Co-Founders Manu Caddie and Panapa Ehau have announced the latest developments for the company, including the name change at a series of hui over the weekend.

The company’s new website is live from today and the full transition to the new name will be completed by the end of October.