Auckland beekeeper killed by own bees

Bees gather at the entrance to their hive and fan the queen's pheromones out to guide their lost...
A woman died when she had an allergic reaction to bee stings she got after she took up beekeeping as a hobby. Photo: File

A recreational Auckland beekeeper has died after having a severe anaphylactic reaction to bee stings.

Vicky Turner (42) of Dairy Flat was stung twice on New Year's Day - just under a year after she took up beekeeping as a hobby.

She was put on life support, but died on January 5. A service at her parent's Red Beach home was attended by more than 300 people and several pets.

Her sister, Julie Turner, told the New Zealand Herald she decided to take up beekeeping early last year.

"She did a beekeeping course and then got three hives at her place and one at our parents, and no, she didn't know she was anaphylactic."

The bees were just the latest animal-related endeavour for Vicky, who begun riding horses at a young age, adopted a rescue dog when her parents were on holiday as a teen, and once had a pet kunekune pig she kept inside.

Vicky turned her love of animals into a career after studying animal behaviour at Unitec.

"She became a dog trainer working with mobility dogs and then worked at kennels in Waitakere, before becoming a team leader at Silverdale Animal Shelter," Julie said.

"Dogs were her favourite. Vicky was very good at convincing people they needed another pet."

While working at the shelter could be difficult, Vicky was passionate about her work. She had hoped to open an enrichment yard to train dogs so they could be rehomed.

"Shelter workers cop a lot of abuse," Julie said. "They don't deserve it. They don't make the rules, they just enforce them.

"If there could be one thing done in her memory, it would be great if people were nicer to the shelter workers. She would love that."

Vicky's love of animals also led her to rescue an ostrich she found on the side of the road, train elephants in Thailand and train with dangerous dogs in America.

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