21 November 2016
30,000 Bees Among Those Rescued by the NZDF
If calamity struck and you had to flee your home, what would you take?
One of the estimated 900 Kaikoura residents rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) from the quake-damaged
seaside town carried his most valuable possession: about 30,000 bees.
“Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two - the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees
just could not leave his bees behind,” Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of amphibious sealift vessel
HMNZS Canterbury, said.
“The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board as a matter of course. Last Saturday, we evacuated 192
people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees - they were one thing we didn’t count
“I smiled when I read the cargo manifest just before we sailed. It is the type of entry you’d probably see if they did
an inventory of what went into Noah’s Ark,” CDR Rooke said.
He said the bees were kept in a small wooden crate and not in a conventional beehive.
Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake jolted North Canterbury on 14 November, HMNZS Canterbury and the NH90 helicopters
from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 3 Squadron have rescued about 900 people. The ship has evacuated about 640 people
carrying 9.3 tonnes of baggage, the cat, 17 dogs and the bees since the disaster relief operation began.
The NZDF has delivered about 250 tonnes of vital supplies to quake-damaged communities by land, sea and air. It has
mobilised about 560 personnel, 11 aircraft and four vessels to support the Government’s national relief effort.