Otago Polytechnic

Level 3 Apiculture


Central Otago (Bannockburn Road)

Dunedin (Momona Hall)

Christchurch (Springston)

Part-time (October to June)

A series of workshops supported by online content, self-directed study and practical work

5 October 2019
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    5 October 2019
    21 December 2019 - 10 January 2020
  • Momona Hall (Dunedin)
    5 October 2019
    21 December 2019 - 10 January 2020
  • Springston Hall (Christchurch)
    19 October 2019
    21 December 2019 - 10 January 2020

Want to learn more about beekeeping? Apiculture is one of New Zealand's fastest growing industries and there is such high demand for this skill that it is listed on Immigration NZ's Immediate Skills Shortage List. 

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, they will be able to pathway into Level 4 Apiculture training (either as a Leading Hand or specialising in queen bee rearing). 

There is international demand for manuka honey and other beehive products and, 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. 

Successful completion of this programme will lead to the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3). 

Entry requirements  
  • Academic entry requirements are pending - subject to final approval.
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

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

Pathways into this programme 
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 the students 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).   

Please note: At the end of this programme, you will own a fully-functioning beehive and be able to manage this at a location that suits your needs.

Your workload 

This programme will involve: 

  • two weekend workshops per month (from 9.00am-5.00pm each day) for 33 weeks 
  • 12 assessments (a mixture of theory and practical)
  • one-day, industry-recognised bee disease workshop (short test to complete at end of workshop) 
  • reading three text books that we provide you with (see details of books below) 
  • 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.
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.

Further study options 

Graduates of this programme can further their learning with:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Queen Bee Rearing) - 45 credits  

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. 

Useful resources/links 

The following three books will be supplied to you, free of charge, during this programme:  

Matheson, A., & Murray, R. (2011). Practical beekeeping in New Zealand. Auckland: Exisle Publishing Ltd. (4th edition).

Goodwin, M., & Taylor, M. (2007). Control of varroa. Wellington: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and HortResearch (revised edition).

Goodwin, M. (2007). Elimination of American foulbrood disease without the use of drugs. Wellington: National Beekeepers’ Association (revised edition). 

In addition, you might find the following websites useful: 

Student loans and allowances 

Part-time domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans (not allowances). Some students may also qualify for Free Fees. Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit www.studylink.govt.nz

Recognition of prior learning 

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.


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.

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