The question of to bee or not to bee has finally been answered - Kawakawa School has a licence for beehives.

The Bay of Islands school's beehive saga has involved a few twists and turns.

It started off with excitement after the school received a $1000 Countdown grant earlier this year to get a beehive project under way. That turned to sadness after initially being told by Far North District Council (FNDC) they were not allowed to have the hives, then there was hope after the Northern Advocate made inquiries and FNDC said the school can apply for a licence to have hives.

The council has now issued that licence, much to the delight of teacher Dana Cowles.

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"We were pretty stoked to be able to get our bees and we started talking about our next steps. We will use next term to establish the area and get planting.

"Then we can get the bees and gear when that part is done," she said.

Cowles said FNDC also refunded the $104 licence fee which she said was "really nice of them".

Darren Edwards, FNDC Environmental Services manager, said the fee was refunded out of recognition that schools often have limited financial resources, and to acknowledge that on this occasion there had been unnecessary confusion about the need for a licence and the process to acquire one.

He said staff had also been instructed to exercise their discretion and do all they can to assist schools wishing to keep bees.

"This recognises that the keeping of beehives provides a valuable curriculum tool for teachers. It also recognises that beekeeping is now a significant industry in Northland and the council needs to do all it can to encourage the growth and understanding of this in the Far North."