A local venue will be buzzing as a performance comes to Rotorua to help celebrate Bee Aware Month.

September is Bee Aware Month, a nationwide celebration of bees and their importance to New Zealand's ecosystem, food chain and economy.

Bee Aware Month is co-ordinated by Apiculture New Zealand, and this year's theme is Love our Bees.

Events to celebrate bees are being held across New Zealand, including Rotorua.


On March 19, 180 years ago, the first honey bees - Apis mellifera - arrived on the shores of Aotearoa. The name of the person who bought the bees to New Zealand is Mary Anna Bumby.

Bumby's story and the history of bees in New Zealand was fascinating to storyteller, gardener and novice beekeeper Tanya Batt.

"I first came across Mary Bumby in Bee Dawson's fabulous book, A History of Gardening in New Zealand.

"Reading about her, I realised the 180th anniversary was rapidly approaching and contacted a friend in the Hokianga to see if there was any interest in the community that was the first home to Apis mellifera, to celebrate the bee's arrival with a storytelling performance."

Tanya is bringing her public performance to Rotorua of Mary Bumby's Hive of Story – an interactive storytelling theatre piece which explores Mary's life and the life of the honey bee and its history with humans.

Tanya's interest in bees began in her childhood.

Her father kept bees in their backyard, then in her teenage years she Wwoofed (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) on a farm where she had the chance to work with bees.

These days she co-manages a hive or two with her neighbour on the Awaawaroa Bay Eco Village, Waiheke Island.


"They are intriguing and highly sensitive creatures whose documented relationship with humans dates back to more than 8000 years ago. Our lives on this planet would be very different without them."

Rotorua Honey Bee Club president Kim Poynter says the club is supporting the storyteller and has been holding Introduction to Beekeeping workshops.

She says a lot of people are involved in beekeeping for different reasons.

Kim says beekeeping is not about putting a hive in the back of the garden and forgetting about it: "There's actually a lot of responsibility as a beekeeper because of the diseases, and we don't want to spread disease to other people's beehives."

"It's important I think that the general public have an appreciation of how important they are in our lives, rather than just being a little insect that will sting if you stand on it."

She says a lot of people also do not know the difference between bees and wasps. The club website - www.rotoruahoneybeeclub.co.nz - has information about bees and wasps, and their differences.


• To learn more about bees and Bee Aware Month events, check the Apiculture New Zealand website or follow Bee Aware Month on Facebook or Instagram.

• For more details on Tanya Batt's tour, go to www.facebook.com/BumbyBatt or www.Imagined-Worlds.net.>

The details

What: Mary Bumby's Hive of Story by Tanya Batt
When: Wednesday, 7pm
Where: The Monarch, Prince's Gate Hotel
Admission: Koha. Limited 70 tickets. For Rotorua performance information and bookings contact Jill Walker (07) 362 0888 or thetravellingtuatara@gmail.com