This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Letter from New Zealand : 33

a nuisance not to be tolerated and as a high speed challenge. And as for reversing into a parking slot; just don’t talk about it. It’s painful to watch. So what has all this to do with beekeeping? Well of course most beekeepers are drivers, and when you are driving bees around – mostly at night – the hazards involved in bad driving are multiplied several million times.


Situation Sorted!

David Cramp N

ew Zealanders have many admirable qualities. They can be laid-back and energetic at the same time. They are excellent sportsmen and women, able to work at problems until they find a solution. They are innovative, superb at soldiering, first class beekeepers and they are endlessly inventive. These are all good qualities for a generally content people in a very fair land – but they do have one failing; they can’t drive!

At least not in a way that would satisfy

the requirements of most civilised nations. It probably stems from the fact that they are able to obtain a driving licence as children of 15 – although to be fair, to every teenager’s horror, this has recently risen to 16. A few years ago, my eldest daughter plonked a couple of ‘L’ plates on the breakfast table on her fi fteenth birthday and said, ‘Come on Dad, time to go driving. I’ve waited long enough!’

At this age they are invincible and they know it, thus picking up all of the bad driving habits of drivers who believe that they can do what they want and get away with it.

By the time they are adults, their appalling driving habits are set in concrete and manifest themselves in various ways. For example, few can handle all the issues involved when encountering a roundabout and it is never wise to rely on their signals as they sail round indicating left but suddenly cut right. Traffi c lights red? What traffi c lights! Bends in the road are a special area of concern. Most drivers in Europe or the USA slow down and turn the wheel. Not so a Kiwi who regards a bend in the road as both

August 2013 Vol 95 No 8

However all is not lost. When the worst does happen and the bend in the road fi ghts back and tips the beekeeper’s trailer over, spilling hives and bees in all directions, the better qualities of the Kiwi beekeeper immediately reassert themselves. The truck will be dug out of the swamp or dragged from the river, or cleared from the highway, bees and all, with skill, innovative use of anything on hand and an amazing amount of energy in a remarkably quick time. By dawn, the bees will generally be happily settled in their planned location, ready to pollinate those kiwi fruits or raid the manuka fl owers.

I must add though, on one occasion, when one of our bee trucks nearly rolled into a river and was held upright only by a couple of manuka saplings, it took three days to accomplish this happy state of affairs. When the beekeeper in question was asked about the business, he replied as though it was a strange thing to ask: ‘Yeah, a few issues there. Bad road. River got in the way. But no problem. Bees all good. Situation sorted!’ ¤

David lives with his family near Wellington. He started beekeeping as a hobby in the UK and, after postgraduate research on drone congregation areas at the Cardiff University Bee Research Unit, became a commercial beekeeper in Spain, where he produced organic honey before moving to New Zealand. He now keeps 15 hives of bees and writes for the New Zealand parliament select committees on farming, forestry, fi sheries and biosecurity matters.

Colin Eastham

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48