Waitaha Hemp business celebrates first shipment to China

By Aroha Mane

The Brothers Green is a Waitaha-based company that specialises in hemp food and body care products. Halts to trade and export as a result of COVID-19 has had a major impact on the business but today co-founders of the business Brendon, Brad and Michael celebrated sending their first shipment off to China.

“Pretty excited, it was kind of an unreal feeling I guess. We started only a year ago and already sending a palette full of organic NZ hemp to mainland China.

"It's something I didn't think would come this quick. I'm on top of the world,” says Brendon McIntosh, co-founder of The Brothers Green.

The company makes food from hemp that's nutritious, home-grown and plant based. Co-founders Brendon McIntosh (Ngāi Tahu) and Michael Burnett say they're not letting the impacts of COVID-19 hold them back.

“I'm a pharmacist by trade and I've been doing some COVID testing at the local marae and I guess we're handing out healthy kai there and I'd like to think everyone's becoming a bit more aware about what they are putting in their bodies,” says McIntosh.     

“We still operate at three different markets across the country, so obviously those were out of the question been able to sell our products face to face.

"Retail sales went through the roof online through our website which was awesome,” says Burnett.                 

He adds building networks with China is a priority.

“We're really new to this food game, so we are just winging everything, don't know what we're doing but we're learning all the time.

"I've been trying to find a company to help us liaise with supermarkets in New Zealand because it's such a big job. One of the lady's we talked to has a lot of connections in China.”

McIntosh hopes people's mindsets are changing when it comes to healthy living.

“Our company mission is to eliminate chronic disease through nutrition and it was awesome to see people getting into the home cooking and sharing their recipes especially with us. Like sharing how their using our hemp and making healthy meals.”

The company are looking at expanding their exports to Australia.