Pacific Bee Sanctuary
Bees pollinate around a third of every mouthful of food we eat, including 75% of the global crops. But around the world, bees are dying at startling rates each year due to a host of causes collectively known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
The good news is Niue could hold the answer to helping save the world's bees. It turns out Niue's relative isolation made it a literal paradise for bees. Niue houses what are believed to be the Earth's last known significant colony of sufficiently isolated disease and parasite-free Italian honey bees (Apis mellifera ligustica - the cornerstone of global pollination). These bees arrived in the 1960's from New Zealand. Well before all the bee maladies had affected them.
These bees have effectively been in a naturally and geographically enforced quarantine so the Niue Honey Company, with the help of the Niuean government, World Trade Organisation’s Standards and Trade Development Facility, are developing an official bee sanctuary. Increasing biosecurity, suring up ports and borders in order to protect and preserve these special bees. Much like Norway’s Global Seed Vault, the Pacific Bee Sanctuary is the world’s insurance policy on pollinators. With the ability to breed and export pure, healthy queens and genetic bee-breeding material to help repopulate the dwindling colony numbers worldwide, while we all work on other measures to combat CCD.
There are a wider set of benefits that the Pacific Bee Sanctuary brings to Niue and the Pacific region. Including the provision of livelihood opportunities and increased agricultural productivity for Pacific Island communities. Providing revenue for local landowners with hive rental arrangements, as well as generating significant economic activity on-Island and off-Island via promotional activities. The bees’ presence also contributes to native bush regeneration, helping to mitigate the effects of global warming and soil deterioration.
The honey produced by these special bees also helps fund this initiative. With an exquisitely unique flavour profile of caramel and malt, this raw, organic liquid honey was awarded Best International Honey at the prestigious National Honey Show in the UK. So it seems happy, healthy bees make for world class honey.