Wellington community orchard wants to keep bees

Island Bay and Berhampore Community Orchard Trust chairwoman Bronwen Newton at the orchard where the trust hopes to keep ...
CAITLIN SALTER/FAIRFAX NZ

Island Bay and Berhampore Community Orchard Trust chairwoman Bronwen Newton at the orchard where the trust hopes to keep bees.

One of the first community orchards in Wellington has applied to extend its licence to allow it to keep bees.

The Island Bay and Berhampore Community Orchard Trust planted its first trees more than four years ago and is looking to expand its ecosystem.

Trust chairwoman Bronwen Newton said the changes being sought to its licence were not major.

"It's interesting in the context of the town belt. Our community orchard is a bit different to others on council land, because it's part of the town belt," she said.

The community orchard was one of the first of its kind when the trust applied for its original licence more than four years ago.

Since then, community orchards and gardens have sprung up around Wellington.

The trust started the process of applying for an amendment to its licence eight months ago and is waiting to learn if its plans can go ahead.

"My sense is that it's not that controversial because I see what we're doing as using the town belt in a community enhancing way.

"We're not cutting down native trees or keeping people off the land."

Bees would create a more holistic ecosystem and provide a point of interest for visitors, she said.

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"A big part of what the orchard is about is education. School groups occasionally use the orchard for teaching purposes."

The swarm of bees is currently at Local Flavour Urban Honey's head apiarist Cenna Lloyd's house.

Lloyd has offered to manage the bees at the orchard should the licence amendment be passed.  

The hive was given to the orchard by one of the trustees, who had it in her attic.

Wellington City Council provides guidelines for community beekeeping on public land, including where the hive can be located and the number of hives that can be placed on one site. 

The trust submitted the proposal at this month's Environment Committee meeting.

Friends of the Wellington Town Belt chairman John Bishop said his organisation did not yet know the details of the orchard's plan to keep bees.

 - The Wellingtonian

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