Sustainability meets luxury: Our favourite Kiwi-made hemp products for sale in NZ

Earlier this week we brought you a feature on why hemp may be the future of New Zealand's agricultural industry. But with so many perks to growing it, what can the resulting crops actually be used for? 

Quite a lot, as it turns out. 

Hemp grower Sarah Gibson from South Island company Larrys Gold claims there are over 50,000 products that can be created using hemp, including biodegradable plastics, clothing, paper. 

"Henry Ford made a car using hemp plastic in the '40s which was 10 times stronger than steel and much lighter than the traditional car," she tells Newshub. 

"Hemp is also far superior to cotton, not only for its strong fibres but for its impact on the environment.

"And as the population continues to grow with a shortage of houses - hemp offers hope here too. Hempcrete is non-toxic and mould resistant. Unlike concrete, over time hempcrete actually gets stronger! There are hemp homes that are estimated to be over 300 years old." 

Those are only a few of the perks of the plant which is being brought into the mainstream by suppliers like Canterbury-based The Brothers Green and clothing makers Goodlids and Original Canvas.

It's now up to these keen Kiwis to shake off the negative associations with hemp. 

"You hear the word 'cannabis clothing' or 'hemp' and you think of the recreational use, and there was a stigma around it for so many years and it was illegal to grow here in New Zealand, so no wonder people thought that," Original Canvas creative director Eden Sloss told Newshub last year. 

"Putting it simply", Brothers Green co-founder Brad Lake says, "you'd be needing to smoke a telephone pole amount of hemp to get high." 

Instead, Lake says that now he's around 90 percent plant-based, hemp provides a lot of the protein and healthy fats in his diet. 

We've put together a list of our favourite hemp products available from Kiwi suppliers, so you can try the 'wonder plant' for yourself: 

To eat: 

The Brothers Green Hempy Bars: These bars come in two flavours, are vegan and free of refined sugar, gluten and nuts. This makes them perfect for school lunch boxes or to throw in the handbag for an afternoon energy boost without a sugar crash an hour later. They also are wrapped in eco-friendly home-compostable wrappers. 

Larrys Gold Hemp Hearts or The Brothers Green Superfood Garnish: If you want to incorporate hemp into your diet but you don't know how to start, hemp hearts are for you. Each of these garnishes contains the all-in-one superfood, which is 100 percent raw, super versatile, low in carbs, and comes from one of the most versatile and eco-friendly crops in the world. You can scatter them on salads, sprinkle on top of porridge and soup, even throw some on your avocado toast. 

Little Bird Organic Hemp Cookie: A fantastic hemp-based 'treat' or breakfast on the run, this cookie is made of nuts and seeds, protein-rich hemp, chewy fruit, tasty coconut and oats. It's described as both delicious and nutritious. Team this cookie with your morning flat white to tide you over and stop you reaching for another cheese scone. 

To wear: 

Original Canvas: Be cool and comfy in everyday basics from this Kiwi brand, which makes its clothing from 100 percent organic hemp textiles and certified organic cotton jersey. There are a number of collections, with my favourites being the 'Earth Kind' and 'Ocean Friendly' pieces you can mix, match and layer. Natural hemp clothing has the incredible ability to breathe and wick away moisture, making it perfect for all year round. 

Goodlids: You've probably seen the trendy Goodlids caps pop up on your Instagram feed, but you may not have known the brand uses organic hemp to make them. Founder Dane Watson told Newshub last year his 'lightbulb moment' was learning about the wonders of working with hemp, and was inspired to launch his own brand. There's now a wide range of caps which will be perfect as we head into the summer season, or beanies if you're still set on catching the last snow of the year. 

To apply: 

Koaka Hemp Seed Healing Balm: This should be a staple in anyone's skincare supply, as it's a great remedy for just about everything you throw at it. Eczema, cuts, grazes, dry lips, pimples, nappy rash - it's said to soothe and treat them all. The super anti-inflammatory ointment combines nourishing oil from New Zealand hemp seeds with calming essential oils and moisturising cocoa and shea butters. I've found it amazing for dry, cracked hands from too much washing during lockdown! 

Larrys Gold Hemp Serum: A little goes a long way with this serum, which is great for any skin type - oily, dehydrated, ageing or teen. A mix of cold-pressed hemp seed oil and Jojoba oil will help soothe breakouts and congestion, while Vitamin E is great for repairing. 

Kiehl's Cannabis Sativa oil

This calming facial oil from popular skincare brand Kiehl's has been a sell-out sensation since its launch onto Kiwi shelves earlier this year. Uniquely formulated for skin prone to blemishes, visible redness and discomfort, a blend of hemp oil and green oregano oil helps to de-stress the skin, balancing hydration and repairing the skin's barrier.