The Kiwi Bee Story

The Beginning by Katie Francis

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In a small town in New Zealand is where I started my life.

I was born in a beehive in a little place call Mananui. That’s in the King Country. Mr McElroy had a farm down by the river. My parents and grandparents were all born in the same hive. I didn’t have a worry in the world. All the local folk bought our Manuka honey.

One sunny day in early spring, Mr McElroy brought another man with him when he came to collect our honey. “Yes, they will do nicely George” said the stranger. “I’ll need all of these bees to pollinate the kiwifruit this year.” The next day the man came and loaded us onto his truck and we drove away.

The Beginning by Katie Francis

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He took us north to a place called Te Puke. The sign said ‘The Kiwifruit Capital of the World.’ By nightfall our hives were set up in the middle of his kiwifruit orchard.

The following days we were all busy flying around the vines. The kiwifruit had loads of flowers, so there was a lot of work for us to do.

While we are gathering nectar, we are also transferring pollen from one flower to another. ‘Hey Presto’ before long you have little kiwifruit growing on all the vines. The whole thing is called ‘pollination’ and we bees are the only ones that can do it. So you see bees are really important.

The Beginning by Katie Francis

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One day while we were busy working, it started to get quite dark.

This was very unusual as it was the middle of the day. All the other bees rushed back to the hives, but I was too far away. It grew very dark. When I looked up at the sky I saw that the sun was all covered up. “Oh my goodness,” I thought. “Where has the sun gone?”

I stayed looking up at the sun, trying to figure out what was going on. Suddenly I began to feel quite strange. I felt bigger, and taller too. I could see that I was growing

and growing
and growing
until I was positively


The Beginning by Katie Francis

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All the other bees were looking at me from the hives. They didn’t know what to think, and neither did I!

I quickly looked down at myself just in time to see my wings changing shape. My legs looked really weird, they started looking more like wheels. And if it that wasn’t enough, my colours were suddenly different too. Now I was shiny black all over instead of brown.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the sun began to come out again. Slowly at first, then faster, and I began to shrink smaller and smaller and smaller. But when it was all over I was still much bigger than before. I was different than all the other bees.

When nightfall came, I was too big to fit in the hive. I had to sleep outside on my own. As the weeks went by the other bees didn’t want to fly with me. Life had become very lonely. 


The Beginning by Katie Francis

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Then one day there were children on the orchard. They were on a school trip studying the pollination of kiwifruit.

One of the girls became lost in our orchard. She wandered around and around and then sat down. “Oh what will I do, I can’t find my way back. All the vines look the same to me” she said. I heard the little girl’s cries and flew down beside her. “Don’t cry little girl” I said. “I know the way out, I can help you.”

The girl took one look at me and yelled “Oh my gosh! Why are you so BIG?” Then she saw my wheels and my strange wings. “And what are those?” she asked. “Oh well, it’s a funny thing really” I said.

I told her about that strange day in the orchard. How I had grown bigger and different from the other bees. “That’s called a solar eclipse” she said. “We learnt that at school. It’s when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. It blocks out the light from the sun, so that’s why it was dark. I’ve heard very strange things happen to those who stare at an eclipse.” 


The Beginning by Katie Francis

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“I can still help you get back to your bus” I said. “I don’t see how,” said the girl. “But I am pleased you came along. My name is Jessie and I’d like to be your friend.”

“Oh that would be great” I said. “I don’t have any friends since the eclipse. I’m Kiwi Bee but you can call me K.B. You know that growing bigger thing? I think I can grow big enough for you to ride on my back and I’ll fly you out.” And with that I began to grow

and grow
and grow

“Hop on Jessie, and hold on tight.” I said. And off we flew.

Over the top of the vines. The sun on our faces. The wind in our hair.


The Beginning by Katie Francis

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Just before we got to her school bus, I landed between the last rows of kiwifruit.

“Oh thank you so much for bringing me back K.B.” said Jessie. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“I’ve been thinking about you being so lonely K.B. Would you like to come and live at my house? I’m sure you can help other people like you’ve helped me.”

“Oh I would love that” I said. “I reckon we would make a great team.”

So off we went together, me hiding in Jessie’s backpack. If only we knew what wonderful adventures were in store for us.

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