This follows the government’s recent legislative change allowing hemp seeds to be sold as food.
The partnership comprises various prospects surrounding hemp, including a possible hemp processing facility in Tararua district, hemp planting trials, and facilitating the sale of high-quality hemp products in the country.
According to reports, trust chairman Hayden Hape has commented that the iwi (community/tribal unit) saw the hemp industry as a sustainable business undertaking that could enable economic development.
“[We] have been proactive in ensuring all due diligence has been carried out to ensure we're well positioned to become a leader in this space,” he added.
"We've found a world-class processor to partner with to ensure our operations are informed by best practice.”
A Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech spokeswoman added that: “[We] right away saw a natural fit to partner with people who knew their land well and had connections across the region to really drive growth in hemp production.”
According to its website, Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech specialises in organic hemp products, using their self-designed, patented equipment.
“The products mainly consist of hulled hemp seed, cold-pressed hemp oil, hemp flour, hemp protein, purified hemp products, and more,” it said.
Various research bodies have named the company as a major player in the global hemp seeds market.
The joint venture into industrial hemp production is also seen as a boost for the local economy, especially if plans for the hemp processing plant come to fruition.
"It would employ between 120 to 150 people and could start towards the end of next year," said Hape to Stuff.
According to Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collins, the facility would also likely provide a ‘supply chain effect’ as farmers would have the opportunity to plant the crop.
Academic research and support
Apart from the economic and business aspects of the partnership, the trust and Jinzhou Qiaopai Biotech will also be co-operating with Massy university in hemp planting trials, located across Manawatu, Tararua and Hawke's Bay.
The university will help Ngati Kahungunu to develop a long-term plan, in an effort to support its targets of producing, processing and marketing hemp and related products locally and internationally.
Pro-Vice Chancellor of Massey University College of Sciences Professor Ray Geor told Bush Telegraph that: “We have expertise in growing, looking after the land, food production and processing and taking products to the world, and we look forward to working with Ngati Kahungunu in this innovative venture.”
Massey University previously also hosted the first inaugural New Zealand industrial hemp summit earlier this year.
It is also known to be a strong supporter of Ngati Kahungunu, having previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the iwi, relating to research and other collaborations.