Where it began
Row upon row of feathery leaves create an emerald blanket inside the greenhouse. Just beyond, a torrent of water rushes through the hydro power station that helps to grow the thriving plants. In the distance, snow-capped Mount Taranaki is ethereal, shrouded in mist.
This is the amazing place where Greenfern Industries are building an amazing business in a new industry.
It’s a unique and pristine location in New Zealand’s North Island and the culmination of a dream to do something more impactful with their renewable power, rather than merely selling back to the national power grid.
Set on the banks of the Waingongoro River in Normanby, growing and extraction facilities will be built to house thousands of cannabis plants destined to be turned into premium quality, pharmaceutical grade products.
Greenfern was founded by 5 school friends with diverse backgrounds.
These include civil and electrical engineers, a tech/blockchain entrepreneur and a director of food and beverage (of a Fortune 500 hotel chain).
This dedicated group decided to take on the new medicinal cannabis industry taking off in New Zealand. All share a common ground – a passion for renewable energy, in particular, hydro power and the power of the cannabis plant.
Having been involved in the Normanby hydro scheme a number of years previously, the idea of producing medicinal cannabis on the site, using the clean-generated power at almost no cost, seemed like a no brainer.
Currently growing hemp in two South Island locations, Greenfern’s medicinal cannabis business model involves the establishment and development of facilities, resources and collaborative arrangements with the intention of operating as a fully comprehensive grower, processor, manufacturer and supplier of medicinal cannabis products.
Cultivation. Breeding and growing the highest quality cannabis strains by leveraging capabilities and proficiencies in plant genetics and breeding.
Extraction. CO2 extraction producing concentrated oil for use in therapeutic products and for further purification.
Manufacture. Formulating and producing fit-for-purpose, therapeutics cannabinoid products.
Distribution. Supplying sales channels in specific industry sectors.
“Our vision is to become New Zealand’s regional hub for the commercialisation of world-class medicinal and therapeutic cannabis products while in harmony with the environment”
“At Greenfern Medicinal We Will Stand by Our Name, Our Service and Our Product.”
Greenfern utilises the latest research and works with various institutes to implement research programs that give scientists and New Zealand-based students the chance to explore a new field while gaining work experience in an exciting new industry.
Greenfern currently has several novel research initiatives around the country.
Greenfern is committed to environmental sustainability in all aspects of our processes. We intend to be a role model company for sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices.
Using the renewable electricity from the on-site hydro power station means our carbon footprint will be dramatically reduced.
Our packaging, where possible, will be eco-friendly and ideally compostable.
View our sustainability strategy mapped to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The power of blockchain will be the backbone of a traceability system for all our products and processes. This system will provide assurances for the authenticity, quality and provenance of all our products.
One of Greenfern's co-founders is an expert in this field and has worked on many blockchain projects over several years.
Theo Irvin's story
At age 3½, Theo began to have grand mal seizures, frightening seizures that would grip Theo many times a day. Doctors struggled to get the condition under control and Theo's father TJ spent hundreds of hours researching how he could help his son. He discovered that US research had suggested it was possible cannabis could be used to treat epilepsy.
Finally, TJ began to give Theo medicinal cannabis oil. It worked. And Theo, now 8, has been seizure-free since. Theo is back to being a care-free boy; the Irvin family has returned to normal.
Theo's father TJ is now a Greenfern team member and Medicinal Cannabis advocate.
Honouring young Theo’s journey, Greenfern has long term ambitions to produce a clinically proven cannabinoid epilepsy medicine.
Normanby power station on the Waingongoro river
Mt Taranaki is a landmark of cultural significance on the western shores of the central North Island. It was formed some 120,000 years ago and scientists believe the mountain is dormant rather than extinct, even though it hasn’t erupted since 1775.
From the upper reaches of Mt Taranaki, snowy slopes form rivers which run down to the lowlands in a radial pattern. One of these rivers is Waingongoro, which means ‘resting ‘or ‘sleeping place’ and was the name given to the river by Maori from the Aotea canoe of the Great Fleet, who arrived in New Zealand about 1350 AD and made their way over land to settle in South Taranaki.
The Waingongoro has its source on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Taranaki between the Stratford Plateau and Dawson Falls and winds 74 km through productive dairying country to reach the sea at Ohawe, seven km west of Hawera.
Situated on this river lies a township called Normanby. It is close to here that in 1903 a hydro power scheme was commissioned and built using a 6m tall weir to dam the river at a looped section which allowed water to be taken via a piped section that fed a pelton wheel generator where the water was then fed back into the loop. Normanby hydro used to power the surrounding towns of Hawera, Eltham and Manaia. The scheme was decommissioned in 1967 then rebuilt in 2011.