Beekeeping is the perfect career says Tom. It has a bit of everything. He loves the challenge of building up the bees and the physicality of hauling in the crop. Beekeeping is in Tom’s blood. 

The eldest Swarming Son Tom lives with his wife Tarsh in Twizel, next door to his parents Ali and Peter Bell.

After several years working on a ski field in Canada, the couple returned to New Zealand in 2016 to begin the transition towards taking over Mackenzie Country Honey from Ali and Peter.  

“We wanted to be our own boss and I was delighted that my Wellington city girl was keen to move to the South Island and give beekeeping a go” Tom says.

But first of all Tom wanted to see how other beekeepers operated and worked a season for a large beekeeping outfit in Tauranga.

Beekeeping is the perfect career says Tom. It has a bit of everything. He loves the challenge of building up the bees and the physicality of hauling in the crop. Beekeeping is in Tom’s blood.    

And the Mackenzie Country – it has beautiful wide-open spaces and blue glacial lakes. He feels privileged to live there and have his beekeeper girl working alongside him.

Mackenzie honey

Tom produces Ohau Clover, Mackenzie Viper's Bugloss and Mackenzie Manuka honey. The range showcases the region- the white paddocks of clover of the Mackenzie Basin, the blue hillsides of flowering vipers' bugloss and the manuka flowers of the western valleys

Tom's mother says he is a real Jack-of-all-trades.  As strong willed as the rest of the clan, but also caring and artistic. These are the perfect attributes for his role in the Swarming Sons team as he takes pride and attention in the creaming and potting process.

These days Tom’s focus is on growing The Swarming Sons business. He has high aspirations and would like to be shifting 50 tonnes of honey a year within five years. He would like to see the business entering the overseas market.

Tom is excited about The Swarming Sons because “we are producing a great quality product.”

“We have a family business that is following in our parent's footsteps and producing a premium boutique honey in a range of beautiful landscapes.

“What more could you want in life.”