Kirsty Harkness is currently the Managing Director and Co-founder of Mount Base Vineyards in Blenheim, Founder of luxury skincare company Hark & Zander, and a licenced hemp grower.
Educated in Te Puke, Kirsty began her working career in the health sector at aged 16. She is a registered nurse and holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree from AUT, specialising in kidney transplants and health law.
She has worked as a theatre nurse in a mission hospital in central Congo, then as a Nurse Manager at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. While there she pursued her hobby of photography and began working as a freelance photographer. On returning to New Zealand in 2006, she established TigerTiger – a successful Auckland-based photographic studio specialising in corporate and event photography which she has now sold in 2020.
In 2007 she became a part-owner of a block of land in Blenheim which was developed into what is now a well-known premium producing vineyard of 800,000 bottles of delicious Sauvignon Blanc per annum. As an initial novice in the wine industry she ‘learnt on the job’. Her natural entrepreneurial skills enabled her to not only improve the day-to-day running of the vineyard but she is currently the Managing Director and the largest shareholder in the business.
In 2017, Kirsty was motivated to look into hemp as a crop and is now licensed to grow 54ha. With this new found knowledge of hemp, she founded luxury skincare brand Hark & Zander in 2019, where herself and her team are bringing hempseed oil and NZ botanicals to the world in their luxury range of active skincare products.
Motivation to join the NZHIA board
Kirsty says hemp is an intriguing plant, with many properties that help improve bio-diversity.
“As a grape grower that really interests me, because the more diverse an eco-system you can create within the vineyard, the better the health of the vines.”
Kirsty joined the board of the NZ Hemp Industries Association (NZHIA) in 2019 and is standing for election again because she believes she can make a difference.
“I am really excited about the future of hemp in NZ. I believe I have the right mix of skills, flair and sheer determination to work cooperatively with other association members to promote the development of hemp growing and its downstream products in New Zealand.”
“I look forward to working with other like-minded horticultural entrepreneurs, so we can continue to evolve the association and make it a powerful voice for the promotion of hemp in New Zealand.”
Mount Base Vineyards | Hark and Zander
Phone: +64 (0)21 432 989