Team effort changed busy-bee industry: apiculturist

Allan (Allen) McCaw, of Milburn, shows off some of his award-winning honey in 2019. PHOTO: PETER...
Allan (Allen) McCaw, of Milburn, shows off some of his award-winning honey in 2019. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Allan John (Allen) McCaw, Milburn
For services to the apiculture industry

Milburn beekeeper and apiculture industry stalwart Allan McCaw (known as Allen) has received an MNZM for his services to apiculture, an honour he says is down to the collective efforts of many in the industry over the past 45-plus years.

When he entered beekeeping at the beginning of the 1980s, it was a time of political change.

There was shift from the long-standing Honey Marketing Authority to self-regulation, necessitating the industry reorganising itself, and putting a strategy in place to ensure its longevity.

"Because I was relatively new, I could have an unbiased eye, and I was seconded into the executive at a very early stage. I think I’m most proud of the shared contributions I made to formulating that strategic plan, and later in the emergence of the mānuka honey industry.

"It needed sorting out, so we did it."

Mr McCaw helped through a variety of leadership roles, including in the New Zealand Honey Packers and Exporters Association, honey industry trusts, and executive of the National Beekeepers Association, of which he was made a life member in 2007. As a member of the Bee Products Standards Council between 2005 and 2016, he assisted in developing food safety and exporting standards, including monofloral mānuka.

Taking joy in manufacture and innovation, Mr McCaw invented a honey drip tray pallet to store honey supers during the extraction process, and has received several awards in the ApiNZ National Honey Competition, including the supreme champion award in 2016.

Alongside his many industry colleagues, who he said had become trusted friends over the years, he attributed his successful career to the support of wife of 52 years, Maria, and their family.

"As is so often the case, Maria has been the anchor at home while I was distracted by industry matters.

"I’m extremely grateful for her and my family’s support."

He said it was with considerable pleasure he had been able to hand over the business to his eldest daughter and her husband recently, to continue the family’s honey-making tradition.