New Zealand’s best honey producers have been named at the Apiculture New Zealand National Honey Competition as part of the industry’s annual conference in Christchurch.
Ohope-based Angus Brenton-Rule says he was thrilled to receive the scholarship which provides $2000 to support training and set up costs for new beekeepers, a one-year membership to Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) and attendance at ApiNZ's national industry conference.
"I was really, really happy to get it. I didn't expect it, but I thought I might have had a small chance since I've been studying apiculture and fascinated by bees most of my life," he said.
Brenton-Rule's childhood interest in bees began with watching YouTube videos of hives in action, and then he got a taste of the real thing when some family friends started beekeeping.
"I remember being out there in the sun, helping them with the bees and thinking, yeah, this is what I want to do," he said.
"I love nature and being outdoors. Beekeeping is hands on and practical, and you get to go somewhere different and interesting every day. It's definitely what I want to do long term as my career."
While still at school, Brenton-Rule completed the Level 3 New Zealand Certificate of Apiculture run by Pacific Coast Technical Institute at Edgecumbe College.
He received a number of job offers and took up a beekeeping assistant position with Golden Grove Apiaries for the current season.
His employer Lorraine Stanley says he has made a great start in the industry.
"It's a crazy time of year to join a beekeeping team but Angus has perservered, showing a strong commitment to learning and absorbing as much information as he can glean from senior staff. He is destined to be part of the beekeeping world for quite some time to come," she said.
Brenton-Rule says he plans to use the scholarship to further his studies and to purchase his own hives so he can continue to learn about bees at home.
In the long term, he hopes to build up his own beekeeping business and have hives dotted around New Zealand.
"I really like the idea of travelling the countryside and checking up on my bees," he said.
The ApiNZ Ron Mossup Youth Scholarship is named for industry pioneer Ron Mossup who started his family beekeeping business Mossop's Honey in the 1940s.
Mossop's son, Neil Mossup, says it is a privilege for the family to support enthusiastic and motivated young people like Brenton-Rule into the industry.
"We are thrilled to be able to give him a head start in this industry and we look forward to seeing his future progress."