New Zealand’s top honey producers and innovators were honoured this weekend at Apiculture NZ’s annual conference in Rotorua.

The conference is the industry’s biggest gathering and the awards mark successes in innovation and scientific excellence in apiculture as well as naming New Zealand’s best honey producers.

The Supreme Award in the ApiNZ National Honey Competition was claimed by Milburn Apiaries of South Otago.  Their win was based on the combined scores of their top three honey entries in the competition.

Class winners in this competition included:  Taylor Pass Honey Co. of Blenheim for the liquid or clear honey class and Kaimai Range Honey of Tauranga in the naturally granulated honey class.  Milburn Apiaries won best in class for their creamed honey.

Judges Maureen Conquer, Alessandro Tarentini and Claudine McCormick had the sweet task of tasting and rigorously examining all the entries.  Ms Conquer said:  “The quality and quantity of the entries is increasing every year which makes it an absolute pleasure to judge.  New Zealand produces some of the finest honeys in the world and we have unique regional varieties that need to be celebrated.”

Veritaxa and Analytica Laboratories won the Roy Paterson Trophy which acknowledges the best innovative idea, invention or technology in beekeeping.  Their Classifynder system uses robotics, image processing and neural network technology to count and classify microscopic objects like pollen grains.

Pike Stahlmann-Brown of Landcare Research won the ApiNZ Peter Molan Award for Excellence in Apiculture Science, while the ApiNZ National Photography Competition was won by Gary Glasson of Glasson Apiary Ltd on the West Coast.

ApiNZ chief executive Karin Kos said the awards were a chance to celebrate both the high-quality products and leading work being done by those in the apiculture industry.    “This is a hardworking industry committed to excellence.  This conference has been a fantastic opportunity for our industry to get together and talk about our challenges and successes, and plan for a strong future.”