Inside the 6th Annual Auckland Cannabis Cup

“Damn, that shit is pretty unbeatable.” These were the words of a fellow entrant at the 6th annual Auckland Cannabis Cup, upon having a fat, sticky bud of Te Kakariki thrust under his nose, and a fat joint into his hand, writes CHRIS FOWLIE.

And this year, like the four previous years, he was right. Te Kakariki has won it’s 5th cup, topping the indoor competition 3 times and now the 2nd time in the outdoor category. Their mantlepiece must be groaning with trophies by now.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of coming across this Kiwi strain will know why: dense clusters of calyxes absolutely dripping with resin, a Rhino-like bouquet to die for, and a powerful knock-out high that will cut across even the heavy sedation that can come towards the tail end of a cannabis cup!

The competition this year was especially fierce, with twenty entries neatly lined up in display bowls along the central table. More than one hundred judges from near and far had patiently waited for the secret location to be announced. At seven they were told and it didn’t take long for the place to be packed and the judging to start.

The entries:

  • A: The Hog (Indoor, from FAB) an indica with huge calyxes and a thick sour aroma.
  • B: MacDaddy (I, The Contender) dense nugs with hints of melon and sage.
  • C: Blueberry Surprise (I, Reeceasaurus Rex), dripping with trichomes and a nice berry flavour.
  • D: Somango (I, Fruity Loops), sugar frosted with a melon smell.
  • E: Northern Lights (I, from Rehab) a classic NL cola: big, solid, resinous and stinky!
  • F: Devil’s Lettuce (I, WW) surprised many with it’s smooth flavour.
  • G: Purple Manic (I, Mike) these striking purple, green and orange nugs finished 3rd Place Indoor.
  • H: Psycho Killer (I, Talking Heads) the 30x loupé revealed copious amounts of shining resin glands.
  • I: Hillbilly (I, Hillbilly) lived up to the hype and came 1st Place Indoor. Huge, fat colas coated in resin, with a delicious flavour and potent high.
  • J: Rongoa (Outdoor, from Tuksta) a delicious flavour ensured this ‘medical’ strain came 3rd Place Outdoor.
  • K: Kurirua (O, King G) a tasty indica.
  • L: Waitakerhino (O, Westie) had that characteristic Rhino lemon-pine taste.
  • M: Stink Bitch (O, Naki) great name and a mean smoke.
  • N: Tyre (O, Dug) Finished last.
  • O: Te Kakariki (O, Maori Wowie) 1st Place Outdoor. Top quality in every aspect. Looks fantastic. Tight manicuring and proper curing. Delicious silky-smooth flavour, with an almost too-powerful narcotic stone.
  • P: Hydro Afghani (I, the Daktory) hard nugs with that old school taste.
  • Q: Coronaki Afi (O, Flying High) a huge purple-tinged cola, it finished in 2nd Place Outdoor this year.
  • R: Mad Cow (O, Mountain Guru) fat purple calyxes from the Naki
  • S: Sativaction (O, Kaitaia Fire) was a spicy organic pure sativa from the sunny far north.
  • T: The Rock (I, Te Rohe Potae) sticky trichome-laden tops with a nice uplifting high, came 2nd Place Indoor.

The Judging

Points were awarded for looks, smell, and smoke – the taste, smoke, and overall effect. Entries were divided into indoor and outdoor categories, with samples labelled only A, B, C, etc. Judges passed pre-rolled joints to and fro (unbleached organic Raw papers for the outdoor entries, and ultra-thin Smoking Deluxe papers for the indoor entries, identified by their entry letter written on
the filter).

Sometimes the calls of ‘got any I?’ or ‘here’s the G’ or ‘let’s smoke some P!’ got a bit confusing, but if judges needed more help to make up their minds entries could be sampled at the spotting booth
or using digital vaporisers.

The location itself was a visual work of art, with trippy lighting and plenty of nooks and crannies. The food was delicious and abundant, as you’d hope for a party full of people with the munchies

As well as top DJ’s such as the Submariner, Sandy Bay, Killa Fire Burn and MC Grassroots, there was a juggling show from Paul.y.Paul, and for the first time, a contest to find the Functioning Pothead of the Year!

The competition involved entrants answering questions like “spell marijuana backwards” (try doing that after sampling twenty strains!), speed rolling, speed toking, and performing the police field sobriety test. This had contestants nearly falling over backwards as they attempted to touch their nose while standing on one leg, or walking a straight line that they could barely see in the dim lighting. The inaugural medal was easily won by the Naki’s King Ganja, and deservedly so. The dude is a living embodiment of the cannabis culture and it was obvious he took his judging very seriously. When I asked if he wouldn’t mind helping out with the knives, his only condition was that he roll the spots too.

The Winners

This year’s beautiful trophies, as seen on these pages and on the cover, were made by New Jewellery on Lorne St. They are works of art and the winners certainly deserve them. With that
many entries being smoked, it’s not surprising that bouquet and appearance can dominate the judging. However in this case the two winners, Hillbilly and Te Kakariki, were clearly ahead of the field – impressive as it was.

It will be interesting to see what growers come up with next year. The challenge is now over to other budding entrants: will you be the one to finally beat Te Kakariki, if that is possible?

[Originally published in NORML News Winter 2009]