Special Group NZRUA Bioscience
Submission # 174
Identity – Tuakiri
Identity – People & Culture
Impact – Social Good
Gisborne, Te Tai Rāwhiti
PEOPLE: We would firstly like to acknowledge the two founders of this business, which started life as the Hikurangi Cannabis Company. We thank them for their welcoming spirit, the open sharing of local culture and knowledge and the desire to grow their community. Their continued counsel and commitment is what makes this endeavour possible.Manu Caddie — Kaihautu Innovation & Regulation, Co-FounderManu is one of New Zealand’s most trusted authorities on medicinal cannabis. With 20 years’ experience in research, public policy and project management, including with the World Bank and as an elected representative, he has recruited a comprehensive team to establish Rua Bioscience as a sustainable business with global reach.Panapa Ehau — Director, Co-FounderPanapa established New Zealand’s first tertiary training course for cannabis cultivation, via the Eastern Institute of Technology. Born in Ruatoria, with a degree in marketing and cofounder of numerous social enterprises, he has returned to the region to develop economic opportunities with his people.BRIEFRUA Bioscience is a Māori owned social-commercial enterprise based in Ruatoria. The company uses sustainable growing practices and leading-edge plant science to cultivate pharmaceutical-grade cannabis. Rua’s vision is to operate a sustainable business that heals the whenua, whilst providing security and prosperity to its local community and future generations. As Aotearoa’s first licenced cannabis cultivators, and the first to legally import high THC seeds, RUA opened a new chapter in horticultural innovation in New Zealand. With the global cannabis industry evolving quickly, the company is set to become a leader in medicinal cannabinoids both here and abroad.RUA’s challenge was to quickly establish a reputation as a respected innovator. Its opportunity was to create a brand that avoids cliché and instead celebrates RUA’s indigenous worldview, together with its plant breeding and genetics expertise. This vision, mission and ambition are neatly encapsulated within the brand purpose: ‘indigenous innovation for global health’.
What is the challenge or opportunity?
Our challenge is to be a respected and preferred agricultural product and IP supplier in the nascent cannabis industry. We are competing against hundreds of cannabis companies worldwide all chasing the green rush.
The opportunity is to stand RUA apart from cannabis clichés and define and own what a humanistic Pharma company looks like.
Who do we market to?
We are a sustainable, B2B social-commercial enterprise. While we sell our services and products to other businesses, we serve many audiences, including: pharmaceutical companies/buyers, HCPs, government bodies, investors, whanau, media and the general public.
They are united in needing confidence, efficacy, legitimacy, transparency, permissibility into the product and our enterprise.
What is the brand’s purpose?
Indigenous innovation for global health.
(We exist to draw upon mātauranga Māori to create a better world.)
The impact idea
In a world that needs healing, Rua uses knowledge and innovation to heal a place, a people and a global community.
What are the supporting truths?
A network of expert NZ growers. A business model that embraces Tikanga Māori.
Committed to supporting people and land for the benefit of future generations.
GMP-certified facilities and processes. Pharmaceutical-grade API extracts.
Sustainable Business Network member.
In a world that needs healing, RUA uses knowledge and innovation to heal a place, a people and a global community.
On the Eastern Cape of New Zealand, in one of the very first places in the world to see the dawn each day, is Rua.
From our home, sheltered by the mountain Hikurangi and flanked by the Pacific Ocean, we exist to heal people and place though plant cultivation and bioscience.
Making lives better is the common purpose that unites us and shapes our every decision.
We’re a unique collective of dual forces: science and nature, land and people, commerce and community, modern innovation and ancestral wisdom. These inextricable connections bring balance and integrity to our business.
Like the rua, we hold knowledge. Each new perspective brings an opportunity to deepen our understanding. Through diversity of thought, we develop better ways to do things.
Today, we work to heal. The past is our teacher. The future is ours to create.
Bound together… Haumi e.
We gather… Hui e.
And move forward as one... Tāiki e.
The brand identity took its lead from RUA’s purpose and values of Mauitanga (innovation), Oranga (health) and Whanaungatanga (relationships) – all woven together in the concept of Kotahitanga (unity). We explored the inextricable connections between people and place. The harmony of common purpose. And the balance of duality: the latter informed by RUA’s elegant balance of commerce and community, science and nature, bold innovation and business pragmatism, he tangata he whenua.
It was important for us to create a strong sense of place and people. This began with naming the company RUA. The company is based in Ruatoria, often shortened to ‘Rua’ by locals. Te reo for ‘Two’, RUA also references the concept of duality. Another meaning of ‘Rua’ is ‘storage pit’ – from a metaphorical perspective, the brand is a ‘storage pit’ of knowledge, R&D, technologies and IP that can benefit humanity.
Many B2B pharmaceutical companies rely on clinical white visuals to communicate professionalism, with little consideration for telling a human story. With RUA, we chose to create something more earthbound and organic with clean and simple visuals reflecting the concepts of harmony, unity and duality and the brand’s strong connection to place.
RUA’s inline logo represents duality. A dynamic taper on the diagonal terminals is influenced by Māori shapes found in carving and weaving – an artform that binds elements together to create something extraordinary. The opposing stem endings express a plant blooming, while open, rounded terminals denote the welcoming community behind the brand.
Clean, sophisticated type treatments express expertise, with a tone of voice that is sincere, simple and confident. Colours are woven together to reflect plant and nature, balanced with a simple design that reflects the precision behind the science. A calming natural palette leans into the brand’s focus on people and place, while a photographic approach heroes people, plant, place, product and process. A unique iconography suite is formed from the shapes of the logo.
The result is a brand that holds true to RUA Bioscience’s indigenous roots and reflects the brand’s purpose, ethos, values and worldview.
22 October, 2020 — RUA Bioscience debuts on the NZX; becomes only NZX listed company headquartered in Tairāwhiti, and first founded by a Māori community.
21 March, 2021 — RUA Bioscience exports first sample medicinal cannabis flower to Germany.
"A competent execution that clearly speaks to what the company does."
"A beautifully crafted identity - wordmark is well executed and balanced and I especially like the stripped-back teal green colour palette. A great example of moving this product premise into the holistic/humanistic - dare I say it corporate - arena. Delivers on premise and also balances its commitment to the people/community.
Credits & Collaborators: Design Director - Heath Lowe Designer - Amy Tasker, Alistair McCready Design Strategist - Nick Salter, Sarah Shepherd Photographer - Josie McClutchie Business Director - Emma Vivian, Janet Hale
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