• A working bee at the University of Auckland bee sanctuary. From left student volunteers Edmund Sharrock, Louis Newton, Kaya Shlomi, Wednesday Davis and Georgia McCrory-Bowick. Photo credit: The University of AucklandA working bee at the University of Auckland bee sanctuary. From left student volunteers Edmund Sharrock, Louis Newton, Kaya Shlomi, Wednesday Davis and Georgia McCrory-Bowick. Photo credit: The University of Auckland

Student built bee sanctuary takes shape at the University of Auckland

The University of Auckland’s new bee sanctuary is taking shape behind the Law School thanks to a dedicated group of bee-loving students.

Georgia McCrory-Bowick, who is studying a conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Science degree, is the creator of the University’s bee sanctuary. She learnt the fundamentals of establishing a bee garden at a workshop, and was soon able to identify and secure a suitable plot of land behind the Law School in which to build the sanctuary.

With native bees in mind, Georgia and ecology student Maia Miku Nakano-hay carefully select plants to flower at different times of the year including natives such as Harakeke and Hoheria, and some introduced species like Rosemary and Lavender.

Georgia explains: "People often don't understand that saving the bees is not about having a hive, it is about having land and flowers and pesticide free spaces which insects can live in."

"With the Bee Sanctuary we hope to alter this misconception. There are over one million western honeybees in New Zealand and each honey bee colony requires a billion flowers a season to survive, and that is just one species. Bees have an essential role in supporting the ecology of the planet. Without pollinators, we simply would not survive."

A bee-loving committee of seven students now tends to the garden, as well as researching bee habitats, fundraising, and organising working bees to help build and maintain the sanctuary.

Georgia said: "What struck me most about our first working bee was the joy people felt getting stuck into the dirt, doing something physical and helpful to make the environment a better place. A wonderful by-product of the sanctuary is how happy it makes people."

Georgia is also an executive member of The Sustainable Future Collective at the University of Auckland – a student society with the common objective of achieving a sustainable future for themselves and for the planet. 

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