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Growing Dope

Starts on Wednesday 6 October on Prime TV. Airs every Wednesday 9.30pm and whole series available on SkyGO from 7 October 2021.

Growing dope is about growing hope . 

A grassroots Māori company from Ruatoria enters the million-dollar medicinal cannabis industry to turn a small town dream into reality. 

We follow Rua Bioscience (formerly Hikurangi Enterprise) as its led by East Coast locals, Manu Caddie and Panapa Ehau, on its path of successes and failures to grow and manufacture medicinal cannabis. 

From small beginnings growing in a shipping container, to full scale production and extraction facilities. 

“We’ve created a 100 million dollar company,“ Manu Caddie said. “We started this company with a dream to help our community we didn’t start with anything and now we’ve got some real resource.  I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve”. 

This isn’t just the story of a company, it’s the story of an East Coast community, kaumatua, kuia and whānau that supported the dream by digging into their savings or whatever they could afford to buy shares in the company.  

The support was so overwhelming it crashed the crowd funding website.  

The community holds the company accountable every step of the way, locals want to know what’s happening, who’s being hired and how their money is being invested. East Coasters are not afraid to voice their opinion! 

Just like their tīpuna (ancestor) Maui, this company and community are trailblazers at the forefront of New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry. 

RuaBio’s achieved a series of breakthroughs –  Aotearoa’s first legal cannabis breeding programme, first to get a licence to cultivate medicinal cannabis,  and first to import high THC cannabis strands. 

It’s also the first Māori-owned company to list on the stock exchange..   

“If you want to do something just have a crack! Things will always stay the same unless you do something differently,“ Panapa Ehau said.  “From Ruatoria we can do things that are nation leading.” 

Ruatoria is often portrayed by mainstream media for the wrong reasons, as a poor East Coast town with high rates of unemployment, drugs and socio economic problems.  

This observational documentary series shows how a community, rich in spirit, culture and determination is driven to succeed.  

Despite the obstacles over the last four years, the company never loses its focus to create possibilities for future generations. 

Along the way we meet Rua Bio’s head grower Brandon Holloway.  He drives an hour and half to get to work every day because he loves the mahi. He’s straight up, knows how to grow and is passionate. His key goal for Rua Bio : “They stick to their kaupapa,; heal the people, heal the land.” 

It’s a fascinating insight – a fly-on-the-wall look – as the company balances its twin goals of developing a successful company and satisfying the aims and desires of the community.

Airs every Wednesday on Prime TV and SkyGo.