Māori innovators use hemp as sustainable building material

The East Coast Hemp Organisation (E.C.H.O), is a company launched by four young Māori innovators based in Hawke's Bay that are turning Hemp into houses. With only 12 weeks for Hemp to mature compared to 25 years for Pine, they see it as the way forward in New Zealand.

Hemp is refined into products such as hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel.

Levi Waihape of (ECHO) says, “Echo is a building company that we started to provide a sustainable building material for New Zealand really.”

After seeing the way house prices were going, the boys came up with a business plan to cultivate hemp as a sustainable building material.

Henare Cherrington says, “The overall picture is to create something that not only helps Māori but everybody in Aotearoa.”

They've been granted a license to grow hemp but because there is no processing plant in New Zealand, they'll have to import it for the meantime.