NZQA Certificate in Apiculture

Practical Beekeeping Course Overview

Would you like to graduate with the NZQA New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3) and launch your career in the Beekeeping industry?

This NZQA approved 34 week part-time programme is available to students throughout New Zealand. 

Our course follows the beekeeping season, with our annual intake of new students mid-to-late winter. We don’t start new classes in Summer because that’s peek harvest time when the industry and our students are at their busiest.

Register your details with us below and we’ll be in touch with reminders closer to the time.

Your training includes 18 face-to-face training days which is 2 consecutive days per month for the duration of the course.

  • If you live in the North Island our practicals are run from our training centre in Tauranga (one Monday/Tuesday per month).
  • If you live in the South Island our practicals are run in-and-around Invercargill (one Saturday/Sunday per month).

Within the programme, a significant amount of practical, on-site training with an apiary (a collection of beehives) is provided.

This programme is ideal for you if you:

  • want to work, or are already working in the beekeeping industry
  • want to be self-employed in the beekeeping industry
  • want to assist in a commercial beekeeping operation
  • want to incorporate beekeeping into your lifestyle

Beekeeping Student from Mercury Bay testing a bee smoker


  • This is an entry-level programme designed to follow the beekeeping season
  • Graduates will be able to work within the apiculture industry as an assistant beekeeper
  • Gain recognised skills and knowledge, learn how to work safely and productively with honey bees
  • Help secure a long term sustainable honey bee population and provide safe bee products to your community
  • Once qualified you will be able to work under limited supervision in a commercial beekeeping operation, or independently in a small scale operation
  • This qualification is an entry point for apiculture training. Use it to kick start your career in the Apiculture industry. Follow this course with:
    • the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 4)

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Practical Training

There is a significant amount of practical, on-site training to complete the on-course requirements.

How this happens will depend on your individual situation.

For example, if you are working full-time or part-time in the industry your practical hours will occur naturally within your workplace.

Or, if you do not have access to an apiary we will organise experience for you when you attend the block course days in either Tauranga or Invercargill.

Beekeeping students training at beehive site

What our Beekeeping course will teach you

  • Maintain, manipulate and operate beehives to produce quality products and pollination services
  • Assist to transport beehives and bee products, and establish hives in new sites
  • Carry out a beehive disease management plan

Certificate Awarded

New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture – Level 3

Beekeeping Class of June 2017 at Mercury Bay School

Course Modules

  1. Hive construction
  2. Hive management
  3. Bee behaviour
  4. Trees for bees
  5. Harvesting
  6. Shifting bees
  7. Disease management
  8. Chemical handling

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  • No academic requirements. Open entry
  • However, you must not have any allergies to bee stings or pollen
  • International students are not eligible to enrol on this course

What Our Students Think

I’ve always been interested in bees.

A friend of mine is a commercial beekeeper and I’ve joined him on several occasions. My family has property in the bush and fruit trees so I’ve got plenty of places I could put a few of my own hives.

Before finding this course I was planning on obtaining my own hives at the end of the year but I was worried about killing the bees, wasting their lives and my money due to my lack of knowledge and experience. That’s why I’ve joined the course: to learn about how to care for the bees long-term.

The training centre and site visits are awesome, the staff are friendly and helpful.  Chris, our instructor is knowledgeable and he welcomes any and all questions. I enjoy the diversity amongst my fellow students too, we are different ages, different experiences and different reasons for being here.

I’m working full-time at a Packhouse in Katikati where my supportive employers allow me to schedule in the 2 training days per month.  This has fitted in well time-wise, with the completion of the main pack season leading in to the start of the course.

I’ve really enjoyed the course so far, and if you want to learn beekeeping, I think you should do this course.

Clayton Russell, Katikati

I was looking at a similar course full-time, but I didn’t want to be away from my 7 year old son for so long, so when I found this course not far from home, and it was part-time, I was stoked.

I’ve been interested in beekeeping since childhood, and I became increasingly concerned when I started reading news articles about the declining bee population.

When I was recovering from a back injury last year, I was pondering the big questions “what kind of job would make me happy?”, “what can I do that will make a difference?”, and the answer I came up with was beekeeping.

I have space for a couple of hives in our backyard which borders a farm, so I’ll have my own hives soon and after that a full-time career. I’ve already contacted 14 apiaries near me to sort out work experience when the bees wake up in Aug/Sep. None of them have qualified beekeepers, so I’ll have a huge advantage once I’m qualified.

If you are considering this course I say definitely do it, 100%. Even the first few days of training were awesome. We learnt hive building, wax melting and more. All us students really bonded as a team too. I can’t wait for the next practical block in a few weeks.

Jonathan Newell, Tauranga

I’m doing this beekeeping course simply because I have a beehive of my own and I want to ensure I know how to look after my bees all year round. I don’t have ambitions beyond that. I just need to know how to spot potential issues and deal with them. Practical, hands on learning, that I can’t get from books, is important to me.

I find bees to be fascinating creatures. Isn’t it incredible that such a tiny insect is crucial to the food supply of all humans on the planet? Without bees our world would be very different.

If you are like me and just interested in bees as a hobby, I urge you to do this course so that you know how to look after them properly. Imagine if you didn’t pick up on a disease in your colony and it spread to other hives and impacted pollination and food supply in your region? You need to educate yourself. People from all walks of life are welcome, with the whole range of ambitions from hobby to career.

Sam Cunliffe-Steel, Tauranga

Sure, bees are cute (only bumble-bees are cuter), and their honey is sweet, but most important is their pollination role which is vital to the survival of our planet. Without them we’d be in serious trouble.

That’s one reason why I’m doing this course, to learn how to care for them and pass on knowledge and respect to my grandchildren.

I plan to have my own hives soon and would like to breed queens.

I’ve enjoyed the course so far. The whole atmosphere is very positive. It’s a great environment to work and learn in. Everyone is knowledgeable, and helpful.

If you do have an interest, my advice is to join this course and take your interest to the next level and learn something worthwhile.

Linda Pivac, Tauranga

Start Dates and Duration

  • Our course follows the beekeeping season, with our annual intake of new students mid-to-late winter.
    • We don’t start new classes in Summer because that’s peek harvest time when the industry and our students are at their busiest.
  • The programme is part-time, and uses self-directed study (distance education) over a 34 week period
  • Includes 18 face-to-face training days arranged in 2 day blocks per month for 9 months
    • These are spread out throughout the programme which follows the beekeeping season
    • Tauranga: One Monday/Tuesday per month
    • Invercargill: One Saturday/Sunday per month
  • Practicals and work placement components are scheduled to suit you

Cost: FREE!

  • FREE for NZ Citizens and Permanent Residents
  • International students are not eligible to enrol on this course
  • Student allowances are not available for this course

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