New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3)

With this programme, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to manage your own beehives. You’ll meet commercial apiarists in your local area and have the chance to complete an American Foulbrood (AFB) disease recognition course. Topics include bee behaviour and life cycle, beekeeping equipment, harvesting and extracting honey, and suitable bee forage plants.

About the programme

Want to learn more about beekeeping?

Apiculture is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing industries and there is international demand for mānuka honey and other beehive products. 

During this programme, you will gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage your own beehives and be exposed to commercial apiarists in your local area. You will also have the opportunity to complete an American Foulbrood (AFB) disease recognition course as part of this certificate. 

Graduates of this new programme will be able to work as an assistant beekeeper for commercial operators, as an independent beekeeper with a small number of beehives or even develop their own business. Alternatively, you will be able to progress into Level 4 Apiculture training (either as a leading hand or specialising in queen bee rearing). 

This programme is taught online with block courses in a range of locations throughout New Zealand (see locations in 'What you study' area below).

You will study

Each Apiculture tutor will develop their own course timetable and will supply you with the appropriate information. This information will include the dates of each workshop, their content and what will be assessed. There are no electives within this programme and all students undertake the following topics of learning: 

  • Bee behaviour and life cycle
  • Suitable bee forage plants
  • Beekeeping equipment
  • Building a beehive
  • How to feed bees
  • Beehive products
  • Manipulating beehives including swarm control, and dividing hives
  • Re-queening beehives
  • Harvesting and extracting honey
  • Identifying and managing pests and diseases
  • Shifting beehives
  • Wintering beehives

At the end of this programme, you will have the knowledge and skills to manage your own beehives throughout a beekeeping season.

Block course locations 

  • Akaroa (Rue Jolie) 
  • Christchurch (National Trades Academy)
  • Cromwell, Central Otago (Bannockburn Road)
  • Dunedin (Momona Hall)
  • Hamilton (Fraser High School)
  • Hokitika (72 Tudor Street)
  • Lincoln (Biological Husbandry Unit)
  • New Plymouth, Taranaki (Coastal Taranaki School, Okato)
  • Ōrewa, North Auckland (Hibiscus Coast Community House)
  • Ōtaki, Kapiti Coast (Ōtaki College)
  • Queenstown (Southern Lakes English College)
  • Tauranga (Whataroa Road)
  • Timaru (Timaru Boys High School)
  • Wellington (Newtown School)

Further study options

Graduates of this programme can further their learning with:

These courses can be completed on a part-time basis. Or, for those employed in the Apiculture industry full-time, the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3) and (Level 4) can be completed through an apprenticeship scheme. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.