Rotorua for conference...

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Averil and I are going to the ApiNZ conference in Rotorua next week…

The National Beekeepers’ Assn didn’t ever hold an Annual Conference in Rotorua until 1949, and then didn’t hold another there until 1986. That’s the one I’m writing about, 37 years ago…

Ian Berry was the NBA President for that year, his last year as president. He and the NBA were welcomed to Rotorua by none other than Howard Morrison, who presented Ian with a bone taniwha. Murray Reid’s brother Lindsay carved a wakataniwha for it, and the Waikato branch of the NBA provided a silver inscription plate for the box.

Beekeeping Industry Taonga

Ian Berry had spent his time as NBA President initiating and ‘bedding in’ the industry planning process that led to many positive things for the NBA and beekeeping for the next decade or more.

Industry Planning

Ian alerted the industry to threats to AFB control, and the ultimate need for beekeepers to pay for the apiary registration and AFB inspection services that had always been paid by the Government. It took another 12 years from then to happen fully, with the NBA creating the PMS (now Pest Management Plan) for AFB.

He ended his President’s Report with “Beekeeping in New Zealand has never been a quick or easy road to big money, it probably never will be, but I suggest there will be a good living to be made by those who are prepared to put the necessary thought and effort into their beekeeping businesses for well into the future.”

At the end of the conference, Ian Berry placed the taniwha around the neck of the new president - Allen McCaw. Allen had been vice president for Ian’s 3 years as president. Both Life Members of the NBA, Allen and Ian shared the distinction of also being Industry Trustees of the Honey Industry Trusts.

I’m pretty sure that Rotorua was Mark Goodwin’s first NBA conference, but I might be wrong. He wasn’t appointed as a scientist to Ruakura until the following year. He replaced Pat Clinch, who was retiring as the main bee scientist.

Pat Clinch and Heini Belin were both awarded NBA Life Memberships during this conference.

Life Membership of the National Beekeepers’ Association

Steve Olds was pretty new to beekeepers, as well, though pretty well known, especially to those from the South. Steve, to promote his packaging and his region, had about a million oysters done up into small punnets, with the NBA Conference branding. Steve delivered these punnets to the rooms of the conference goers.

My partner Averil, then several months pregnant with our first child, took them from him at the door and quickly stuffed them to the back of the room’s fridge. The thought of them made her gag. About a half hour later, she opens the fridge, sees them there, and scoffed the lot; I never got even one of them. I gave the little punnet back to Steve at last year’s conference, telling him the story…

And time to go home? We went to our little Austin 1300 car, parked in the hotel lot, to find that 2 young people from Whakatane had, overnight, smashed windows (with a baseball bat) of 28 vehicles. Ours was only one of them…