Historic: Apiary registration...

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

NickWallingford

BOP Club
321
470
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
NZ has had some form of required apiary registration system since 1928...

Back then, the required information related to the number of Italian bees, Black bees and Cross-bred bees that the beekeeper owned.

The register was held centrally, in the Wellington office of the Dept of Agriculture. Regulations in 1937 gave specific power to keep the records "bookwise" or in "card form", and were allowed to be rearranged to any chosen order!

It wasn't until 1953 that the apiary registers were 'devolved' to the Dept Ag offices and the apiary instructors. But still, for a beekeeper, there would have been no feeling of having a code number assigned to them, though each apiary district began to do so, at least for internal purposes.

1958 brought the numbering system pretty much as we have it now. Each of the apiary districts was assigned a letter to precede the number.

1953_Apiary_districts.png

I'm not sure how close to that the allocations are now. There may be a few additional districts/letters?

Another new provision in 1958 would be that beekeepers needed to clearly display their apiary number in each bee yard, either painted on a box, or using a 2"x2" wooden stake.

So when I registered as a beekeeper in 1978, having bought some hives outside Rotorua, I registered with the Tauranga MAF office - Doug Briscoe was in his last few years in the apiary section. And he assigned me the number D0482.

And it has remained my number ever since, even through a prolonged period of not having any hives.

In 1983 I was writing a distance education beekeeping programme at the Bay of Plenty Community College and registered hives for the BOPCC. They got number D0806. So from 1978 to 1983 - 15 years - the Tauranga office had a total of 350 new beekeepers. But that doesn't tell you about any that have left in the meantime, though.

There have always been a few registration numbers that stick in my mind, ones that I might see around neighbouring beekeepers in the past. But I think I generally recognise their hives more by colour, condition and layout, rather than actually seeing the number displayed.

The current capabilities of the HiveHub system certainly show the opportunities afforded by modern technological capabilities. I look forward to its on-going and further development. It has D0482 as an active beekeeper again now...
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,825
10,023
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Wish I still had my original number from Palmerston North, issued in 1969, unfortunately it lapsed when I didn't have any bees of my own for a few years.

Another thing from back then, you had to apply for permission, and get a permit to move hives, before you moved them. All this was done on paper, no internet, no computers. The paperwork specified where the hives were presently located, where they were going, and the date the permit would expire. Which from memory, was a month from date of issue.
 
14
20
Otago
Experience
Commercial
Interesting stuff Nick, thanks for sharing. My number is N0001, from my grandfather and father. However, I have always been puzzled how my father and uncle got to be N0001 and N0002, when they separated their partnership in the late '70s? The last name starts with A, so i always assumed we were the first number for alphabetical reasons, but how could my uncle get to be N2 so much later than the register was set up? I am now wondering if granddad got N2 for the kids in 1958, as my father would have been 19 at the time. Another question you have raised for me relates to some frames we have had since the 1920's. They had the number 6 branded on them. I was always told this was from when hives were first registered in the 20's. But it would now seem there was no "number" as such at that time? Or could have my great grandmother opted to put her number on them anyway? Its entirely likely that they were just somebody elses' frames, but i am pretty confidant they were made and branded well before 1958.
 

NickWallingford

BOP Club
321
470
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
Interesting stuff Nick, thanks for sharing. My number is N0001, from my grandfather and father. However, I have always been puzzled how my father and uncle got to be N0001 and N0002, when they separated their partnership in the late '70s? The last name starts with A, so i always assumed we were the first number for alphabetical reasons, but how could my uncle get to be N2 so much later than the register was set up? I am now wondering if granddad got N2 for the kids in 1958, as my father would have been 19 at the time. Another question you have raised for me relates to some frames we have had since the 1920's. They had the number 6 branded on them. I was always told this was from when hives were first registered in the 20's. But it would now seem there was no "number" as such at that time? Or could have my great grandmother opted to put her number on them anyway? Its entirely likely that they were just somebody elses' frames, but i am pretty confidant they were made and branded well before 1958.
That's pretty cool! I've never *heard* of a number being made available to the bkpr before 1958, but *maybe*... If allocated on a national basis, you Adamsons may have been the 6th in alphabetical order back then? I'll certainly keep my eyes open for any references to the use of numbers like that. I'd never much thought about that far back - most of what I know has been the (now finally sucessful?) getting most apiaries ownership marked. Nice to hear from you!
 
14
20
Otago
Experience
Commercial
I asked Ernest about the frames with a "6" on them today, and he told me that they had came from the bees at Hook in South Canterbury, where great grandma had them, and that "sometime around 1928 to 1930" the registration number was introduced. So perhaps they decided to use that as a unique marker voluntarily? He said some of the old petrol case boxes had that number on them too which i do recall. I still have a few of the frames in circulation, which i hesitate to remove knowing that they have been in use with occasional cleaning for nearly a century. He then gave a list of the Apiary Officers that had been at Oamaru, of whom Gary Jefferies was apparently the last, finishing sometime in the late 70's or early 80's maybe.
 

NickWallingford

BOP Club
321
470
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
That all seems very likely. I'll do some more searching, but don't recall any concept of "marking hives for ownership" until 1958.

The first ref I see for your greatgrandmother would be May 1921, when "Mrs. L. Adamson, Makikihi" had paid her NBA sub to 22 March of that year. These were the early days of the Honey Producers Assn.

Her name comes up again in Billy Bray's magazine, the NZ Honey Producer, in 1929 and 1930 - she was one of those on the "List of Signatures to Contract" (and in Canterbury then?). The HPA was in troubled times, and there was a movement to get beekeepers to forward contract their crop for the year to the HPA. The HPA had a total of nearly 1,200 shareholders - a goodly proportion of the total number of beekeepers. Efforts were made to get 75% of beekeepers to sign agreements to either sell through the HPA or as agents of the HPA at a uniform price to be fixed periodically, and in uniform packages.

Billy Bray's publication of this list of prominent beekeepers who had "signed the contract" (Privacy Act? What Privacy Act?) was an attempt to get the others (who were also shareholders!) to co-operate, rather than cut prices.
 
14
20
Otago
Experience
Commercial
Nice! Excellent sleuthing there Nick, As i understand it Lucy got about 100 hives off her uncle Andrew Gibson, who maybe brought his bees out from England? She had a berry farm at Hook, just south of Makihihi.
 


Top