Grandma bee Carol Smith, from Helensville, with her grandchildren Felix and Elodie.
From left, ApiNZ chief executive Karin Kos had nothing but praise for festival organisers, Grass Espoti and Isabella Sullivan.
Every now and again, a working bee just has to take a break. Pictured at the Big Buzz Festival is Matakana School student, Hunter Murray.
Organisers of what was believed to be New Zealand’s first honey and bee festival could not have got their timing more perfect last month.
The Big Buzz was held at the Matakana School on Sunday, February 14 and wrapped up just hours before torrential rain hit the district and the announcement of the level 3 lockdown.
An estimated 2500 people attended the event, which celebrated all aspects of beekeeping and honey production. Honey-related products ranged from candles and beeswax wrappers to tonics and beauty products, and a line-up of speakers throughout the day kept audiences engaged with bee-themed talks on everything from cooking with honey to planting for pollinators.
At the opening ceremony, ApiNZ chief executive Karin Kos congratulated the organisers on a timely event. ApiNZ is the peak industry body representing New Zealand apiculture.
Ms Kos said there were about 10,000 beekeepers in NZ, compared to 4000 a decade ago.
Of that total, about 6000 were hobbyists, averaging between one and 10 hives each.
She put the growth in interest in beekeeping down to growing environmental awareness and a better understanding of the important job bees do. She urged anyone who was thinking about becoming a beekeeper to get in touch with their local club.
“Caring for bees can be quite complex so the clubs are a wonderful way to learn and exchange ideas and information,” she said.
An organiser Isabella Sullivan says a survey done at the festival has provided some valuable feedback.
“It has been lovely to see how much people enjoyed the event and how complimentary they were,” she says. “It was a relaxed atmosphere and people just soaked it up.”
Isabella confirmed the festival would be run again next year.
About 70 volunteers helped throughout the day and earned a special thanks from the organisers. The Matakana School was also thanked for its support, particularly principal Darrel Goosen and teacher Kim Scott.