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For the Love
of Bees

Two wāhine share their passion for hobbyist beekeeping. Womenclan explores making our gardens bee-friendly.

In one corner of Chanel Brinfield’s Tasman backyard, next to a chicken coop, bees hum in their hive. She opens the hive to inspect it, spots her queen bee, then points out brood – the eggs, larvae and pupae of bees. Some cells are already capped with honey. Beekeeping is a meditative practice for Chanel. Often she’ll kneel by her hive quietly to watch them at work. “They’re fascinating, and it’s a great way to become more connected with everything around you.”

 

Bees are important critters, responsible for pollinating a significant amount of the world’s flowering plants, including the vast majority of human food crops. The main benefit of keeping bees as a hobby is establishing a healthy pollination chain in an area, with honey being a tasty by-product.

 

Chanel works as a nurse in Whakatū (Nelson), and has always wanted to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. A move to Wakefield from Wellington and the Government’s zero-fees offer of industry courses presented the perfect opportunity to get into beekeeping in 2020. “I’ve always been fascinated by bees. The more I’ve learned, the more fascinated I’ve become.” She joined a class of 20 other locals studying apiculture, constructing her first hive as part of her studies.

 

It’s a connection to the environment Chanel values most. “Years ago when I first started my nursing course I was fortunate enough to also learn about Rongoā Māori, which encompasses being more connected to te Taiao (nature)...

Want to keep reading? Find the full story in Womenclan: Journal Two, available now.

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