Rapa Nui beekeepers travel to East Coast to learn from Māori honey businesses
A delegation from the farthest reaches of the Pacific is in the country to forge closer ties with Māori.
They hail from Easter Island and they’re visiting the East Coast to learn more about Māori land use.
The delegate consists of Rapa Nui beekeepers and officials from the Chilean government.
All have travelled to the East Coast to learn about the honey production in NZ. They are also interested in the business perspectives of Māori, as well as those of Ngāti Porou Mīere Limited.
Ngāti Porou Mīere Limited’s Victor Goldsmith says the delegation’s trip is about education.
“From a province perspective, they were quite keen to understand how we went about and marketing and how we produce our honey and the quality of honey that is produced on our lands.”
Due to Rapa Nui's isolation, the wild bee species from Rapa Nui is one of the only species in the world that is free from pathogens.
Currently, there are 13 bee-keeping operations distributed across different parts of the island and several wild colonies that are part of natural bee reserves.
Rapa Nui beekeeper Diana Edmunds says producing honey on the island is the community's livelihood.
“As a community, the bee making and honey industry locally on the island is important because it's part of the agriculture and part of how they also feed their population.”
Thanks to the tropical climate Rapa Nui can harvest three times a year as opposed to the usual once a year common for other countries around the world.
The delegation returns to their homeland on Saturday and hope to one-day export Rapa Nui honey products to an international market.