I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA and emigrated to New Zealand in 2002 to do an undergraduate degree in botany at the University of Otago. I have lived in Dunedin ever since and I am proud to call New Zealand’s deep south my home. My wife is a surgeon at Dunedin Hospital and we are raising two beautiful children (8 years old and 8 months old). I absolutely love Dunedin, our wildlife attractions, heritage architecture, and youth culture focus are unique strengths that make us stand out internationally as a great place to live and a fun place to visit. Things are pretty good for many in New Zealand, but I believe we do better if governed with honesty and integrity by people who put the interests of their community before themselves.
I now have a Masters degree in Botany and am a great lover of outdoor activities. I have seen noticeable environmental decline in my 15 years as a botanist in New Zealand and we can’t wait any longer to start implementing bold environmental policies to clean up pollution and reverse the declines of threatened species.
I have spent my entire adult life in Dunedin tutoring young scientists, volunteering for community groups, and standing up for those who are disadvantaged and discriminated against. I spent over a decade as a biology tutor to thousands of students at the University, some who have gone on to become doctors and diplomats. I also served as a fill-in botany lecturer when my professors were away. Educating others and opening people’s minds to new ways of thinking is one of the most rewarding experiences, and I am very excited to bring the public up to speed on what TOP has to offer.
I have also been a lifelong cannabis law reform activist and in my professional role as a science communicator I recently founded New Zealand’s only Cannabis Museum, Whakamana, based in Dunedin. I have assisted with numerous court cases to get a better outcome for cannabis users, have acted as an expert witness in hearings and tribunals, and am the former president of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. I have been fighting for cannabis legalisation on principle for nearly 20 years and I am so excited to be part of a serious political movement that doesn’t mince words and is prepared to stand up for what is right, especially on the cannabis issue!
My enthusiasm is hard to hide and one of my main hobbies is radio broadcasting. I host two weekly shows on Radio One, the Otago University student radio station, and I have a weekly segment on the Radio Hauraki Breakfast Show with Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells. I also enjoy bird watching, tramping and bike riding with my children.
“Abe Gray is a highly effective advocate who I work with and trust.” - Helen Kelly
“Abe from Whakamana is a great New Zealander” - Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells