It's a plant that has come with links to gangs and violence — but a steady income — for the tiny settlement of Ruatoria. But now, in a place with a high unemployment rate, the community is excited to offer the country's first legal cannabis course. Michael Neilson reports.

On a small plot of whānau land near the tiny East Coast town of Ruatoria, a dozen locals tend to their budding cannabis plants.

Two years ago this would have been hidden, way off in the bush.

The mostly Ngāti Porou iwi members are students on the country's first legal cannabis