A Northlander was able to use an apiarist's name to commercially extract just under 2000kg of honey from beehives police alleged were stolen, a court has been told.

Justin Mathew Howes, 25, of Titoki, has denied seven charges and has elected a judge-alone trial in the Whangarei District Court.

There are four charges of theft of beehives, two of causing loss by deception, and one of making a false statement.

Police allege between June and October last year, Howes stole two 20-foot containers that contained beehives, boxes, bases, frames and other beekeeping equipment.


The items, worth $46,000, belonged to New Zealand Queen Bee.

In September last year, Howes allegedly stole a 20-foot shipping container valued at $2645 which also belonged to New Zealand Queen Bee.

Three other charges were laid earlier - two of theft of beehives and another of breaching the Animals Products' Act by falsifying an apiarist and beekeeper statement.

He allegedly stole one beehive worth $9600 from Horeke and another valued at $1000 from Wellsford in 2014 and last year.

Beekeeper Paul Whitehead gave evidence in court yesterday and said he discovered 12 of his beehives on Horeke Rd were missing during a check on March 23, 2015.

The beehives were there when he checked on January 22 and February 20.
Mr Whitehead said no one had the permission to take them and he had never lost any
beehives before the 12 went missing.

Richard Kidd of Marshwood Apiaries in Kaiwaka said on April 7, 2015, he received a text message from a Matthew Howes who asked whether the company could extract honey.

He said the person who sent the text said he had between 100 and 200 boxes to extract.


The boxes were initially not accompanied by harvest declaration that listed where the beehives were from and the apiarist number was missing.

Mr Kidd said the apiarist's number Howes later supplied was listed under someone else's

Marshwood Apiaries extracted six drums of honey, each weighing 330kg.

The drums were seized by police.

Inspector Chris McLellan told the court officers executed search warrants at a house in Titoki and another in Mangawhai last year where beehive boxes and frames used in the production of honey were recovered.