Passion for beekeeping aids battle with dyslexia
Rupert Young Davies has always had a keen interest in bees.
Several photos show him as a young boy, dressed up in bee costumes, and it seems the fascination has stuck.
The 18-year-old Motueka man recently completed an apiculture course by correspondence through Lincoln University's Telford division.
Young Davies had dyslexia and sometimes found reading difficult but said the course had been "wonderful". He got his first hive after he finished his studies a year ago.
"It is fascinating to see how they work, because when you read about it its hard to picture it but you see how it all works and it is fascinating."
He now had 10 beehives after carefully splitting hives to start new colonies and collecting a few swarms.
Bees must be handled with care at all times, a painful lesson that Davies learned after being badly stung 17 times while trying to gather a swarm from the fork of a tree.
Young Davies was involved in all aspects of beekeeping, he had taught himself how to build the wooden hive boxes and lids using aluminium sheets.
"I make everything other than the frames and the bases."
He also propagated plants in order to make money to buy his beekeeping supplies.
With a focus on breeding bees, he hadn't harvested much honey, instead choosing to split the hives and leave the honey as food for the bees so their numbers could grow.
He had recently completed his Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA) course, a qualification that meant beekeepers were certified to carry out inspections for American foul brood disease.
He had passed the test with full marks and his family were very proud of him.
Young Davies said he hoped to work as a beekeeper full time and work his way up to having 200 hives of his own.