Here is a media release the Hamilton City Council put out this week:
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 local beekeepers Sweetree Honey, who are part of the Hamilton Farmers Market.
Martin and Stephanie Lynch, owners of Sweetree Honey, have placed 45 bee hives across 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 beekeeping for over 20 years, approached Council in early 2014, looking for iconic Hamilton 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 an exciting opportunity to produce a honey that reflects the flora and places of Hamilton and which I hope will turn out to be something very special. The honeys we already produce are all site specific each with their own flavour and texture and this is a chance to get a taste of Hamilton in a unique way,” Mr Lynch says.
“At the Hamilton Farmers Market, many locals tell me they don’t have any bees in their gardens and they would be very keen to have some. We will be adding 1,500,000 bees into the city, each with a 5km flight range, so we are very pleased to be working with Council to make some contribution to improving biodiversity and nature in the city,”
Mr Lynch expects the first batches of honey from the three Council sites to be available in April or May.
Mayor Julie Hardaker says the partnership with Sweetree Honey 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 1.5 to 2 tonnes of honey, once they are established and the bees are humming. The honey will be sold at the Hamilton Gardens shop, Hamilton Farmers Market, and fed to honey-eating animals at Hamilton Zoo.