When Tom’s application for a hive came through, we were instantly impressed with his enthusiasm for bees, and also the amazing location that Tom, his wife and new baby have chosen to create a wee paradise.

On acres of bush in Oratia they’re building a strawbale house (there’s an interesting article about their project on Green Ideas), permaculture gardens, a food forest, composting toilets and apparently have a nice little tribe of chickens roaming around! Their goal is to live as off-grid and in touch with nature as possible, so having a bee hive seemed like a natural next step for this adventurous Kiwi family.

6 months after their hive delivery, we checked in with Tom to hear how they’re getting on …

“We had a swarm delivered from a nearby bee-catching man in late December. Since then the bee’s must have tripled or quadrupled in number. They seem to really be thriving there. I think it helps that we never mow our grass and that there’s wild food for them everywhere.

I took a 3cm by 3cm piece of comb in late January just to taste what the honey was like (it was delicious!) and I’m leaving the rest for them so they can stay strong during winter. I have noticed quite a few wasps hanging around the hive, but the bee’s seem pretty capable of defending themselves against them. I’ve inspected the hive a few times now after getting my bee suit and buying a good book on beekeeping in NZ, the hive seems to be really healthy from the looks of things. So I would say it has been a big success so far! No stings yet either. :)”

Delicious Honey Cupcakes (df, gf*)

Thanks to the bees, easy, sweet honey flavoured cupcakes, perfect for afternoon tea. Decorated with edible flowers that the bees enjoy too!



  • 1 cup flour* (I used 1/2 white, 1/2 coconut, can be all gf)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic almond milk


  • 1 cup Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp local honey
  • + extra honey for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; flour, baking powder, salt
  3. In a separate bowl mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk and yoghurt
  4. Combine wet and dry mixture using wooden spoon
  5. Evenly divide mixture into cupcake moulds (will make approx. 12)
  6. Bake for 10-15mins, or until browned and toothpick comes out clean
  7. Leave to cool (Otherwise the icing will melt!)
  8. Combine icing ingredients in a bowl, adjusting icing sugar and honey for desired sweetness. (If your RCY is too runny, check out our tips for making it thicker)
  9. Carefully spread a generous layer of icing on each cake and decorate with honey drizzle and flowers. Share with friends and talk about the amazingness of bees!