17 December 2018

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods on Sunday received the first honey to be collected from a beehive trial, which is being facilitated by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) in the Residential Red Zone.

LINZ manages the Residential Red Zone (RRZ) land in Christchurch for the Crown and is tasked with encouraging and supporting community groups, agencies and individuals, like the beekeepers from Gold Fern Honey, to develop Transitional Land Use activities to activate area.

Beekeeper Simon Phillips from Gold Fern presenting Minister Woods with the first jar of Red Zone Honey was a small, but symbolically important milestone in the regeneration of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.

“These temporary activities are crucial to bringing life and residents back to this area until Regenerate Christchurch finalises a plan for the long-term designation for the land,” says Jeremy Barr, Group Manager Land and Property for LINZ in Christchurch.

Mr Barr explains that LINZ reviews all proposals for events and projects in the RRZ for licences and leases for up to five years.

“The list of projects and people we have been working with is very long and incredibly diverse,” says Mr Barr.

“They include four community gardens, the Life in Vacant Spaces Trust, several running, walking and mountain-biking events, movie filming, children’s days, cultural fests, research projects, a driverless car trial, concerts and even training exercises for emergency services.”

The Gold Fern beehive trial involves 10 beehives with over half a million bees at a Dallington location, but that number of locations could be increased in the future.

This trial supports the growth of the bee population, which is vital for our eco-system and our horticulture, but is also an eco-friendly project that fits wonderfully into the long-term vision of the Green Spine.

Beekeeper Simon Phillips says that the red zone is an ideal area to grow bees because the fruit trees that were planted by the former residents provide plenty of food for the bees.

“The abundant supply of a balanced diet for the bees has created strong colonies so they can fend off diseases that might affect other New Zealand beehives, and has produced outstanding honey.”

The location of the hives have been chosen carefully to keep them out of sight of the public but are well sign-posted and fenced off to keep the public safe.


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