Paul Berry about being an Organic Beekeeper in New Zealand…KM030


We went down to meet Paul in his packing facilitate in Auckland, it was great to finally meet Paul after only chatting via Twitter in the past.

Sorry about the sound quality on this one, our recorder failed so this was recorded with Paul’s iphone. Which didn’t turn out too bad. Excuse the plane landing at around the thirty minute mark. We were near the Auckland International Airport.

Paul Berry TastingThere is some great content so please bear with us. We will start saving up a better recording setup to do better field recordings. We would love to get out of the studio and start doing more out of the studio interviews.

Paul produces organic honey and also runs a meadery that produces some beautiful mead. Pauls Meadery is at Sting Honey Mead You can check out Pauls Website and follow him on Twitter for some great photos of Pauls mobile office. His web site is at Sanctuary Honey, follow him on Twitter at @StingMeadery

Resources Mentioned

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
  • DVD – Food, Inc
  • The art & adventure of beekeeping by Ormond Aebi

Links Mentioned

Scientific Beekeeping – Randy Oliver’s Great Website Chat with Robin Bedard from Canada

11 thoughts on “Paul Berry about being an Organic Beekeeper in New Zealand…KM030

  1. Avatar photo
    Tyson says:

    As someone who would like to transition into a sideliner organic honey producer from someone who keeps bees and removes them, I’m grateful you interviewed a commercial organic beek!

    • Avatar photo
      Gary Fawcett says:

      Hi Tyson,

      Thanks for listening to the show, its great to hear you enjoyed the interview with Paul.

      It goes to show you that you can keep bees on a commercial scale without using pesticides in your hive.

      Good luck with your venture and we would love to talk to you one day about your bee rescues you do. Get in touch if you are keen to come on the show at some point.


  2. Avatar photo
    Colin says:

    The organic label gets thrown around a lot these days. Not putting chemicals on the hives is one thing, but, how do folks like Paul justify where the bees may be flying or where they may gather from? If bees from the organic hives travel a distance to a field of clover that exhaust fumes from landing aircraft frequent, does this effect the honey? What about agricultural land that the bees may stumble upon in gathering pollen and necter? To use another buzz word, bees are pretty ‘free range’ there isn’t much control on what they are gathering correct?

    Just curious how this is rectified and how the organic label is justified.

  3. Avatar photo
    Paul Berry says:

    I have to agree with Colin that “Organic” is a buzz word that does get thrown around, but not nearly as much as the “many assumptions made by the uninformed” as to what quantifies genuine Organic production.

    Having a MPI RMP registered export specific warehouse close to the airport is simply that, all our hives are run in the wilds of the Coromandel ranges.

    Sanctuary Honey Ltd holds the highest Certified Organic standards available in New Zealand, namely the COR (Canadian Organic Standard) as well as Asurequality technical rules, UK soil and health, JAS etc.

    What this means to the layman is that all Organic sites must be Audited and qualify to the Organic standards by being specific distances from council maintained roads, non organic farms and any non native vegetation within flying distance.

    Every batch of our honey is also individually tested utilising a “Multi Residue” laboratory test, designed to detect residue in ppm of 250 chemical compounds and our Organic honey must pass 100% before each batch of honey receives its final Asurequality certification.

    I trust this may answer your questions and additionally shed some light in what it takes to be an “Organic beekeeper” …


    • Avatar photo
      sandy says:

      Hello Paul

      My Name is Sandy and I have my own Manuka Honey brand mainly selling in China. I saw your ORGANIC HONEY online, I am very interest in your product.

      Do you think it is possible to talk more about your ORGANIC HONEY?

      Please email me back, looking forward!

      Thank you!


    • Avatar photo
      Gary Fawcett says:


      Thanks for the feedback, yep it was a great talk on the day. This show has been very popular. We will have to see if Paul can come on the show again at some point.

      When is your next show coming out Kev?

      See ya…Gary

  4. Avatar photo
    Graham Bull says:

    I didn’t really understand the organic treatment of Varroa. I think Paul said that APi LIfe Var was harsh so he reduced the amount and treated more often, presumably when building up honey. But how then does API life var compare to the usual chemical treatments?

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    Steve says:

    I am experimenting with frequencies to kill the wax moth, varoa mites, and other parasites. I am keen to really study the effectiveness over a several seasons. I have had success with horses and on my own self so would like to try with bees. I have worked with commerical bee operators and would like to settle in with a bee company that is certified organic.

    • Avatar photo
      Margaret Groot says:

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your comment. One of the things we have come to understand is that learning about the pests behaviours and instincts, is a great way to help us to manage them. We used the breeding behaviours as a way to schedule our OAV treatments. Organic beekeeping, in itself – is in our view – does require big picture thinking, for example, thinking of long-term desired goal ie: preventing resistence goal. We found that it takes a lot of work and on-going monitoring – combined with regular inspections. A consistent treatment schedule, especially with us using Oxalic Acid Vapourisation (OAV). All the best with your studies Steve. Regards Margaret …it’s the kiwimana buzz…

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