Our People

At the heart of Hikurangi Cannabis Company is a team of highly skilled and passionate individuals committed to the vision of what we are doing for patients and our community.

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Chief Executive: Manu Caddie has 20 years research and development experience. Manu is a co-founder of Hikurangi Enterprises and was Managing Director of Hikurangi Bioactives LP overseeing the range of research, product development and commercialisation projects progressed to date by Hikurangi Bioactives LP. Manu oversees all aspects of the establishment phase and leads the research, regulatory and market aspects of Hikurangi Cannabis Company.

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Chief Operating Officer (Production & Community Relations): Panapa Ehau is a co-founder and General Manager of Hikurangi Enterprises. He manages sustainability/horticulture programmes at the Eastern Institute of Technology in  Ruatorea and initiated the hemp production for Hikurangi Enterprises in 2016. He is now running the first tertiary cannabis cultivation course in Aotearoa. Panapa is acting as Production Manager and will oversee the planning and infrastructure for the growing operations in Hikurangi Cannabis Company.

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Chief Financial Officer: Hamish White is a Chartered Accountant specialising in Business Information Systems and Business Development. Hamish has worked for PWC & BDO in the areas of Risk Assurance, IT & Internal Audit, Business Advisory & Information Systems. Hamish moved back to his hometown of Gisborne where he runs his own Accounting & Advisory firm, Digital Accounting. Hamish comes from a farming background and is currently a hemp producer with experience in the industry.

Head of Research: Dr Alavro Vidiella comes from the horticultural science sector where he led the research arm for an industry association and more recently was the head scientist and microbiologist for a plant breeding company.

Chief Medical Officer: Dr Sheena Hunt is highly experienced in R&D and commercialisation of new products bridging academic, R&D and business environments in science and innovation. Sheena is experienced in most aspects of clinical trials including design, conduct, analysis and peer-reviewed publications. She has significant experience in multiple regulatory and compliance frameworks in New Zealand and overseas with more than 20 years’ experience in scientific R&D and innovation in the UK, Europe, US and NZ.

Manager, Plant Science: Irene Lopez-Ubiria is an agronomist and plant scientist with a background in plant genomics and horticultural engineering. She has a particular interest in rural community development and is originally from the Basque Country. Irene is a PhD candidate working on the cannabis breeding programme for Hikurangi.

Facility Designer: Mathew Metcalfe has designed, built and operated GMP compliant factories in New Zealand. He is leading a team of regulatory advisors, civil engineers, architects and equipment specialists to develop a state of the art medicines cultivation and manufacturing facility at Ruatoria.

Business Development Manager, Asia: Tony Robinson (LLB, BA) holds a bachelor’s degree majoring in Japanese and a law degree with a focus on international trade law. Tony has lectured commercial law and has more than 20 years experience in civil law in the Asia Pacific region.

Director, Europe: Wim Smit is a citizen of The Netherlands, has Permanent Resident status in New Zealand and has returned to Europe to establish offices on the continent for Hikurangi. Wim speaks languages of six European countries and is learning Croatian. He is focused on building partnerships with producers and purchasers in Europe.

Business Development Manager, UK: Leigh Gorton has a background in sports health working with the likes of Novus Leisure, Maggie Jones, Fabric, Equinox, Living Octave, Red Bull, McCann Erikson, One World, Oracle, Emirates Team New Zealand, NZ Warriors, The All Blacks, Florence and the Machine & Team Aqua.

Head Grower: Brandon Holloway is a passionate horticulturalist with a focus on plant yield optimisation, particularly for indoor cultivars.