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.


33 Weeks Part-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
Online with block course(s)


33 Weeks Part-time
*Approximate full qualification tuition fee
Online with block course(s)

What You Study

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) 
  • Ashburton (Brucefield Avenue)
  • Christchurch (National Trades Academy)
  • Cromwell, Central Otago (Bannockburn Road)
  • Dunedin (Momona Hall)
  • Gisborne (Eastwoodhill Arboretum)
  • Hamilton (Fraser High School)
  • Hokitika (72 Tudor Street)
  • Lincoln (Biological Husbandry Unit)
  • New Plymouth, Taranaki (Coastal Taranaki School, Okato)
  • Orewa, North Auckland (Hibiscus Coast Community House)
  • Otaki, Kapiti Coast (Otaki College)
  • Queenstown (Southern Lakes English College)
  • Tauranga (Whataroa Road)
  • Timaru (Timaru Boys High School)
  • Wellington (Newtown School)
  • Whakatane (Toi Ohomai Campus)
  • Whangarei, Kerikeri (Maromaku 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. 


Your workload

This programme will involve: 

  • two weekend days per month (from 9.00am-5.00pm each day) for eight months - see locations in What you study tab
  • 12 assessments (a mixture of theory and practical)
  • a one-day, industry-recognised bee disease workshop (short test to complete at end of workshop) 
  • reading three text books that we provide you with
  • the completion of a logbook documenting field work undertaken 
  • 5-10 additional hours per week for extra reading (online and books), undertaking assessments and doing practical work on your own beehives/course hives.


Entry requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes

Pathways into this programme 

  • New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Skills (Level 2)
  • On job training for those employed in the Apiculture industry   

Want your existing skills recognised?

Students who have previously completed unit standards in Apiculture at Level 3 may be able to claim recognition of prior learning to exempt themselves from completing the equivalent learning on this programme provided these units appear on their student Record of Learning. Please email for more info.


Domestic fees

Full tuition

International fees

Full tuition

Study for free until the end of the year

If you're a domestic student, apply for our August 2022 intake and your tuition fees will be covered by the Government's Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) until 31 December 2022. This means you study for free until then! 

You'll still need to cover any additional costs (such as equipment) - see more info below - and any living costs you have.

As this programme is part-time, students generally aren't eligible for student loans or allowances to cover additional or living costs. But, some help may be possible depending on your circumstances. Check the Studylink website for more information. If you have any questions about student loans and allowances, please email our Studylink Advisor: 

You may be able to access Fees Free funding in 2023 for additional tuition fee support (conditions apply). 

Additional costs

  • You will need to purchase your own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes a beekeeping suit (overalls and veil), gloves, smoker and hive tool (approximately $250).
  • It is preferable that you wear steel-capped boots or gumboots.
  • You will be supplied, free of charge, with the woodware to build your own beehive and will then be required to purchase a nucleus of four frames of bees, honey and a queen bee for approximately $250. 
  • You will be supplied, free of charge, with three textbooks (worth $130) and an industry-recognised American Foulbrood disease recognition course (worth $100). 
  • You will need to have access to a computer and the internet. Course material will be made available online (through Moodle, our education online platform). Meetings, theory classes and assignments may be carried out online (via Microsoft Teams).   

At the end of this programme, you'll own a fully-functioning beehive and be able to manage this at a location that suits your needs!

Tuition fees

The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.

Student Services Fee

For most students, your tuition fee shown above includes a Student Services Fee – also known as the Student Levy. This compulsory fee covers your access to the student services we offer. This cost is tailored depending on how you're studying.


A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Get in touch

0800 762 786
International +64 3 477 3014