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Aug 23, 2016

Pupils' 'Honey Huts' creating buzz nationwide

Kaika BeeCo

Like  bees to honey, hobby apiarists around the country are swarming to a new beehive manufacturer in Dunedin.

Kaikorai Valley College pupils Nadia Paine, Bella Richmond-Grant, Kes Johnstone and Ashley Arthur have established Kaika BeeCo - a Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme which manufactures beehives called Honey Huts.

To date, they have sold more than 150 hives, which were handmade by the girls in the school's wood technology facility.

Nadia (17), the company's managing director, said the team initially wanted to create a skin-care product using natural ingredients such as honey.

However, there was too much competition in the market.

``So we decided why not go straight to the source by building beehives and making our own honey?''

Word got out, creating a buzz among apiarists, and orders started flooding in from all over the country.

Nadia said the group had spent many hours after school just keeping up with the demand.

The beehives were made mainly from pine, but some were also made from rimu which had been recycled from old school buildings and furniture, she said.

The Honey Huts sold for between $100 and $130 each, and the money made would go towards their tertiary studies, she said.

Yesterday marked the completion of their largest order so far. One hundred kitset Honey Huts were loaded on to a trailer after being bought by Bay of Islands apiarist Blake Cameron, of Paihia.

``It's wonderful what the girls have done. We wanted to support this initiative.

``They look really good. Of course, you can get kitset beehives off the shelf anywhere, but they don't come with the love and hard work by students that these do.

``There's a lot to like about the product,'' Mr Cameron said.

The team's business has also caught the attention of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme secondary school competition.

It recently finished first equal in the business plan and second in the Dragon's Den oral business presentation categories of the Otago competition.

Originally published on the Otago Daily Times by John Lewis.