Mother Aubert: The first person known to grow cannabis in NZ
Did you know? Mother Aubert who started a home for the less fortunate in New Zealand was the first person to grow cannabis in Aotearoa to help heal her fellow kiwis.
Suzanne Aubert – better known as Mother Aubert, was a Catholic sister who started a home for orphans and the under-privileged in Jerusalem, New Zealand in 1885. Aubert later started two hospitals in Wellington; the first, St Joseph’s Home for the Incurables in 1900, and Our Lady’s Home of Compassion in 1907.
Aubert devoted her life to helping others. Her work took her from France to Auckland then to Hawke’s Bay, to the Whanganui River and finally to Wellington. And along the way, she founded a new Catholic congregation, cared for children and the sick, by skilfully combining Māori medicine and Pākehā science, and wrote books in Māori, English and French adding significantly to a higher cultural understanding and literary heritage.
Much of the income of the order came through the sales of Aubert’s medicinal formulations, including many cannabis-based medicines – Aubert is the first person known to grow cannabis in New Zealand – The story of marijuana in New Zealand
On 1 October 1926, aged 91, Aubert died. New Zealand’s newspapers spread the word and crowds gathered to pay their last respects. Her funeral at the church of St Mary of the Angels was widely reported to be the largest funeral ever accorded a woman in New Zealand.