Southern North Island Beekeeping Group Ltd

Before the days of the computer, we had a MAF Advisory Service second to none. Advisors were on-hand in each region to help agricultural and horticultural industries and individuals with their problems. Most did research papers which were turned into aglinks. These were available to anybody for free.

During the 1980's the beekeeping industry had 9 Apicultural Officers that provided free advice, and also did research and looked after AFB. Because they were AP1's, hives with disease were burnt on the spot and they often inspected all the hives in a given area to detect disease. Disease levels climbed when hives started being moved into kiwifruit pollination. At the beginning, any hive would do and some of these were diseased so AFB spread rapidly.

In the lower North Island, we have had a number of very good advisers; Graham Walton helped me (now in the Philippines) and another was the late Ted Roberts who lived in the Pohangina Valley and whose office was situated in the government block over the road from the Massey University's main entrance. The advisors also put out newsletters for beekeepers. Ted was always available and if you couldn't get hold of him during the day (because he was out), he would answer his home phone between 8 and 10 pm for phone consultations. All he needed was a cheroot (Cigar) and a cup of coffee.

When we established as the South Western Branch (later changed to the Southern North Island Branch to reflect the Wairarapa) we had no money. We used the MAF Office to hold meetings.

Training: Once yearly a hobbyist introductory course was held at Massey University during the school holiday when the dorms were empty. We also used the facilities at Flock hours near bulls where live-in week long courses were held such as introduction into commercial beekeeping and queen rearing.

The aglinks were our reference material. I'm not sure how many are tucked into old files about but here are a few.

At a meeting in Levin for kiwifruit growers we met a very young Mark Goodwin fresh out of University. I was also pollinating Kiwifruit when it was grown around Otaki. Didn't take long to discover that some years the fruit was undersize. One grower I used to pollinated "pulled the plug" after his first loss and had the block chained sawed within a week of the cheque arriving. Other small blocks carried on but eventually these to were cut out. Some kept the males and used to collect pollen for artificial pollination.

Notice the photos in the swarm and feral hive aglink - they are upside down!

Frank Lindsay

Southern North Island Beekeeping Group Ltd