© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Thieves target 'gold of New Zealand'

Talia Mimilo
Thieves have been targeting beehives for Manuka honey.  Aliveplus Honey

Canterbury beekeepers worry after hundreds of beehive thefts in the North Island.

Canterbury beekeepers have been encouraged to tighten security to prevent beehive robberies.

The North Island has had 400 beehive robberies in the last six months, due to the market value of Manuka honey. 

Vice President of the Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeepers' Club, Paul O'Donnell, said keepers needed to realise thefts were happening and keepers had be realistic about it.

He said there had been multiple robberies around Oxford and Rakaia.  

Thieves perceived Manuka honey as the "gold of New Zealand", O'Donnell said.

He said if thieves were not registered keepers they would have a lot of trouble selling the honey, as manufacturers were aware of robberies and stringent about who they bought from.

Maintaining hives was hard work and producing Manuka honey harder still. 

The only people likely to make money off stolen beehives were professional beekeepers, who integrated them with their existing hives, O'Donnell said. In response to the thefts, beekeepers were getting GPS trackers for their hives.