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Bees' arrival sweetens up Hamilton attractions

Zoo News - Posted 27 November 2014


Three of Hamilton’s most popular visitor attractions are about to get a whole lot sweeter.

Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum are now home to bee hives, installed through a new partnership between Hamilton City Council and Sweetree, a Hamilton-based honey purveyor.

Martin Lynch, owner and operator of Sweetree, has placed a total 15 bee hives at each of the three publicly-owned facilities in a deal which will see Council on-sell some of the honey produced by the hives’ resident bees.

Mr Lynch, who has been involved in the beekeeping and honey industry for more than 20 years, approached Council in early 2014, looking for new locations to place some of his hives. After discussions with staff, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum were identified as ideal locations for the bees to do their business.

“This is a really exciting partnership and I’m very pleased to be working with Council to contribute to the protection of biodiversity and nature in the city,” Mr Lynch says.

“I’d expect the first batches of honey from the three Council sites to be on-tap in April or May, which is a few months away, but this is a long-term commitment and one which will reap rewards for Council, Sweetree, and the city’s green spaces.”

Mayor Julie Hardaker says the partnership with Sweetree emphasises Council’s commitment to protecting the city’s natural environment, while promoting public-private partnerships.

“Hamilton is known for its green spaces and this is a great match. Bees pollinate an estimated 70 per cent of our food crops, so gardeners near these three locations will benefit as well,” Mayor Hardaker says.

“The three locations Martin’s chosen are some of our most-loved and beautiful sites, and this enhances their reputation and the fantastic work staff are doing there.”

Mr Lynch expects the hives to produce about 4.5 tonnes of honey, once they are established and the bees are humming. The honey will be sold at the Hamilton Gardens shop, and fed to honey-eating animals at Hamilton Zoo.

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