Neighbours within a three kilometre radius of award-winning Queenstown property, The Rees Hotel, Luxury Apartments & Lakeside Residences, will come eye to eye with its new little community ambassadors this summer.
In a vacant site next-door to the lakeside property nestled amongst an enormous patch of broom in several custom-made galvanised steel hives are the ‘Rees bees’ – a brand new apiary operation and eco initiative backed by the luxury operator.
“The inspiration came from our guests. We were buying Manuka honey pottles during Chinese New Year and thought wouldn’t it be nice to have our own bees on site which aligns with our commitment towards sustainability?” says Front Office Manager, Micka McDonald.
Local beekeeper, Nick Cameron who is managing the entire turn-key operation from hive to packaged product has identified the perfect spot for a young colony to thrive and build honey comb.
Under the cover of darkness at 2am in the morning he transported the hives to the site to ensure that the entire workforce was moved all at once.
“For anyone with a fruit tree or a vegetable garden, these little guys are going to be doing a favour for everyone around the Rees as they’re going to be travelling around the neighbourhood actively pollinating” says Cameron.
The native clad bush site is a hive of activity currently. The 3,000 new Rees recruits of Italian decent with their healthy Queen are expected to morph into a family of 40,000 and produce 25 kilograms by next season for harvest.
Mark Rose, General Manager has always had a long term plan for reducing carbon footprints by utilising as much local produce as possible.
The honey will complement The Rees Head Chef’s hand churned butter and be a key ingredient in ‘Bees Knees’ cocktails. “We’re looking forward to providing our guests with our own honey made literally on our doorstep” he says.
The Rees bee-friendly project in New Zealand’s top tourist destination is part of a global initiative amongst luxury operators like the Waldorf Astoria in New York, Mandarin Oriental in Paris and the Royal Lancaster Hotel in Hyde Park.