Whakamana Cannabis Museum

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Whakamana Cannabis Museum
Whakamana Cannabis Museum.jpg
The original museum in Caversham, photographed in 2016
LocationShand's Emporium, 217 Manchester Street
Christchurch, New Zealand
Coordinates43°31′52″S 172°38′22″E / 43.53111°S 172.63944°E / -43.53111; 172.63944Coordinates: 43°31′52″S 172°38′22″E / 43.53111°S 172.63944°E / -43.53111; 172.63944
TypeScience, Social History
AccreditationMuseums Aotearoa
FounderAbe Gray, Julian Crawford[1]
DirectorAbe Gray[1]
CuratorAbe Gray[2]
Nearest parkingOutside

Whakamana Cannabis Museum of Aotearoa is New Zealand's first museum dedicated to the history of cannabis use and culture.[3] It was opened in October 2013 (in its former location).[4]

Originally located Dunedin, the museum first operated in David Street, Caversham, Dunedin (45°53′55″S 170°29′1″E / 45.89861°S 170.48361°E / -45.89861; 170.48361), and later in the Eldon Chambers building[5] in Princes Street, closer to Dunedin city centre. In mid-2019 the museum relocated to Christchurch, now housed in the earthquake-restored historic Shand's Emporium on Manchester Street[6], behind the Cathedral Square in the City Centre.

The museum serves as an information service to educate the public about all aspects of cannabis. Its director is long-time cannabis activist Abe Gray, who co-founded the museum along with former Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) regional spokesperson Julian Crawford.[7]

Cannabis, while still a criminalised drug in New Zealand, has moved some way towards grudging acceptance, at least as a subject for open discussion. The museum is designed to be a national information centre on aspects of the history and legislation surrounding the drug.[4] Dunedin has had a long history of advocacy for marijuana law reform,[7] largely through the University of Otago's Norml.

Alongside other exhibits, the museum houses a library of books relating to cannabis use and culture, many of them unavailable in more general libraries around the country. In addition to acting as a museum and serving as a centre for drug law reform advocacy, Whakamana promotes open-source computer software.[7] It also features meeting rooms and a digital multimedia studio.[3] The museum operates within New Zealand's laws and does not sell cannabis.[4]

There is however a private members only area at the back of the museum which operates as New Zealand's only functioning Cannabis Social Club.[8]

Gray has stated that the presence of the museum and Dunedin's history of support for law change relating to drug use and possession would put it in the ideal position to become a centre for cannabis tourism should the drug ever be legalised in New Zealand.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Cannabis museum part of campaign". Stuff. 26 September 2013.
  2. ^ McNeilly, Hamish (13 May 2018). "Dunedin's Cannabis Museum left high and dry over alleged fake landlord". Stuff.
  3. ^ a b "Grand Opening for New Zealand's first cannabis museum", scoop.co.nz, 25 September 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Mead, T., "Cannabis museum opens in Dunedin", 3news.co.nz 6 October 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  5. ^ https://builtindunedin.com/2016/12/06/eldon-chambers/
  6. ^ https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/114699329/cannabis-advocates-aim-to-transform-christchurch-heritage-buildings-into-cannabis-hq
  7. ^ a b c d Chilton-Towle, J., "Dunedin marijuana museum planned", Otago Daily Times, 1 September 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  8. ^ Doyle, C., "[1]", Critic (magazine), 17 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

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