The man who brought the world rowing championships to New Zealand was badly stung when he was forced to leave the sport after a fraud case.

And now Craig Ross is being stung for a different reason.

Ross, formerly the chief executive officer of Rowing New Zealand and the man who battled to win the right to host the world championships, is now a beekeeper and is happily suffering the odd sting in pursuit of a new and lucrative life.

But there was still a sting in the tail for Ross, who made a rare appearance at Lake Karapiro yesterday since he publicly fell from grace.

"I told him [world rowing body director Matt Smith] I wasn't coming across [to the lake for the championships] because the whole thing is a bit hurtful. But then Geoff Blampied, the CEO of [long-term sponsor] AON, sent me tickets, which is more than Rowing New Zealand has done."

He can understand why RNZ wanted to distance themselves, "I still hurt a bit seeing the things being achieved at Rowing New Zealand, knowing I helped put the blocks in place. But [world championships chief executive] Tom Mayo's done a brilliant job rolling out the blueprint we put in place."

The former RNZ chief executive was convicted of two counts of fraud in July 2008 and fined $10,000 for forging documents to elicit almost $370,000 worth of charitable grants. The documents were to buy Italian boats - then the fastest in the world - rather than follow the edict from the board of buying New Zealand-made.

Because his actions were not for personal gain, Ross eventually had the convictions and fine overturned, provided he paid $15,000 towards prosecution costs.

Ironically, the Evers-Swindell twins won Olympic gold in Beijing by 0.01s in one of the Italian boats, cementing their place as national sporting greats. The men's pair of Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater also took bronze in one of the Italian boats.

"The fact is I stuffed up but there were circumstances behind why I did it. You can clearly say I cheated to get the best for the athletes. I sometimes wake up at night thinking about it - but I did what I had to. If others want to call me a fraudster, so be it."

He and wife Sue are now beekeepers. They own apiaries, about 1000 hives, and a honey- extraction business based mainly in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Ross says it was the only way they could move on to control their destiny.

They farm about 50 tonnes of valuable manuka honey a year and Ross jokes that he has a workforce of about 25 million workers.

"The best thing is none of those employees [the bees] can make a grievance claim against you," he says. "None of them answer you back. All they do is what you want and there are no bloody board members to account to.

"Life's good now after some times when all I wanted to do was swim at the bottom of the ocean."