Bees, basil and broccoli

22 Nov, 2018
Solitary bee hotel on North Campus

Staff and students on the North Campus have been putting on their sustainability caps and making use of the green space, resulting in the creation of a bee hotel for solitary bees, and raised food gardens.

Estates Operations Manager Rory Chacko says that because of all the open spaces at the North Campus, they have the opportunity to undertake sustainability initiatives that support AUT’s Sustainability Roadmap. He talked to us about these initiatives, and how people can get involved.

The bee hotel

The bee hotel came about when students taking the Design for Sustainability paper within the School and Art and Design were given a design brief by Rory and Dr Amabel Hunting to create a physical environment that supports solitary bee life.

Rory says that the team learned that native bees are more prolific at pollinating, but because of the priority to produce honey, honey bees are quickly supplanting native bees.

“Everyone spends a lot of time creating spaces for honey bees, so we thought why don’t we do something for the native bee population? We want to increase our biodiversity on the campus, and to do that we need to encourage safe places for native pollinators to live,” he says.

You can find the bee hotel by the walkway at the back of the North Campus that leads to the Akoranga bus station.

Read more about the bee hotel

AUTSA’s raised food gardens

As part of their Foodie Godmother initiative, which provides students in need with living essentials like food and personal hygiene products, AUTSA and Estates have collaborated in making and growing raised food gardens to provide staff and students fresh food.

Rory says that the gardens are a learning opportunity, allowing us to teach staff and students who may not have had a chance to learn how to plant and grow their own food before.

“We wanted to give students the chance to grow their own food without worrying about space and the long-term commitment,” he says.

You can find the raised food gardens between the AA and AJ buildings on the North Campus.

Read more about the Foodie Godmother initiative

If you would like to volunteer to help with the raised food gardens, composter or planting around the campus, or if you have ideas around sustainability at North Campus, visit the Estates team in the AT building at North Campus or email Rory at

Read more about sustainability at AUT

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