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Author Topic: Wairarapa, NZ loses respected beekeeper  (Read 1222 times)

Offline Understudy

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Wairarapa, NZ loses respected beekeeper
« on: March 08, 2007, 09:07:04 pm »

Story copied below:

Respected Wairarapa beekeeper dies at 74


A MAN whose passion for bees made him one of Wairarapa's most well-known apiarists died earlier this week.

Arnold Esler was born in Palmerston North on July 21, 1932, the eldest of two sons of Ted and Ethel Esler.

A year later his father, who had been working as a cowman/gardener, was offered a job at Pope's mill in Greytown and so the family moved to Wairarapa, before moving on to Masterton four years later when Ted became a benchman for C.E. Daniell's Masterton mill.

Educated at West School, Mr Esler recalls in his family memoirs the 1942 earthquake which demolished many chimneys and shops in Masterton.

"June 24 1942, Mum's birthday, a little rattle of an earthquake about 8pm with a real rattler at 11pm shook hell out of Wairarapa, with chimneys all over Masterton and concrete and brick fronts of many shops were lying in the main street."

In 1946 he took up a trades course at Wairarapa College, but had to withdraw when a polio epidemic forced the school to shut down.

After taking up a joinery apprenticeship at C.E. Daniell's mill in 1949, he continued working with the company for 14 years.

It was during his apprentice years he was invited to attend the Young People's Club at the Lansdowne Presbyterian Church, and it was there that he met his future wife, Beryl Sims, during one of the dance nights and get-togethers.

The pair later married in 1955, and went on to have three children – Wendy, John and Judith.

In 1971, having worked in the building and joinery industry for more than 25 years, the Eslers decided to move to the country – to Gladstone.

There they spent the next 18½ years – working 12-hour days, seven days a week – running the Gladstone store and post office.

Having always been somewhat of a nature lover, Mrs Esler says her husband had about three or four hives at the back of the store.

"I remember one occasion in the early days of Arnold having bees when he had extracted some honey, but for some reason it had set overnight.

"He had to put it on the stove to melt it, but because he had the extractor fan going all the bees from the surrounding district must have smelt it, and made a beeline for our kitchen."

Mr Esler's other passion was oldtime dancing, and in 1984 he and his wife established the Toe Tappers Club – with dance evenings held at the Te Whiti hall on Saturday nights.

In 1990 the couple sold up the shop and moved out to the Mangatarere Valley, where there was more room for Mr Esler's bees, and to retire.

In 1994 he established the Wairarapa Hobby Beekeepers Club, and also began writing the monthly Droning On column in Midweek.

In latter years he took bee classes as part of the Wairarapa College Continuing Adult Education programme.

In 2001 Mr Esler was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award by the Masterton District Council for his efforts with the Toe Tappers Club.

Mr Esler died on Sunday night as the result of an illness. He was 74.

He is survived by his wife Beryl, three children and three grandchildren.

Someone needs to go and tap on his beehives.

The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline Apis629

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Re: Wairarapa, NZ loses respected beekeeper
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2007, 02:38:07 am »
Wow, quite a life.  Imagine how he would have seen the beekeeping industry develop.  Chalkbrood, tracheal mites, varroa mites; just seeing it all develop over that period.