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Upper Clutha school children are learning about bees thanks to a new community initiative.

Wanaka Primary School and Te Kura O Take Karara are looking after bees as part of the Hives in Schools programme.

The programme initiative between rent-a-hive company Tiaki Bees and natural children’s craft brand Honeysticks offer a unique learning opportunity as well as increase local biodiversity by pollination.

Tiaki Bees owner Barna Szocs said bees played an integral role in the local ecosystem and it was important young children gained an understanding of them.

“The idea is that these schools will have a wonderful educational experience with none of the work and all of the benefits,” he said.

“Students will be able to immerse themselves in the full life cycle of the bees, understand how they make honey and why they are so important.”

Children would learn to be relaxed around bees and don children’s bee suits to get up close to a hive and look inside the boxes.

The schools would receive a three-weekly support package and any honey produced by their hives could be used for fundraising or as they saw fit, Mr Szocs said.

Honeysticks owner Will Radford agreed the importance of bees needed to be showcased more to the younger generation.

“Bees are vital to the local ecosystem and we support any initiative that focuses on educating people around that,” he said.

The hives will be placed in specific areas so the flight path of the bees does not affect any of the children playing outside.

Careful thought has also gone into the location of the bees, so there is no greater risk for those with allergies.