Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Creating A Buzz

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posted on 2021-11-22, 23:33 authored by Cooper, Maddison

How might communication design be utilised to raise awareness about the sustained well-being of Wellington City’s honey bee populations?  Human concern and intervention has been pivotal in maintaining the well-being of bee populations in Wellington City. Through the applied knowledge of bee keepers, the health of local beehives has been sustained. This status, however, is increasingly challenged. Without human interactions, bee colonies are now unable to survive due to a number of external interferences, including climate change and the growing urbanisation of the natural habitat. Within this context, support for the care-taking practices of our bees requires prioritisation. Supported by Wellington’s inclusion in the 100 Resilient Cities (2017) initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, the cultivation of resilience in regards to contemporary physical, social and economic challenges is imperative in the 21st Century. The motivation to protect Wellington’s honey bee populations reflects global concerns about declining bee populations that are the result of changing ecological impacts. Through the development of communication platforms that function to raise awareness and appreciation about the important role of bees in sustaining Wellington's native flora, honey production, and environment at large, this valuable natural resource and cohabitant will ideally see increased support. With the considered application of communication design, the importance of Wellington's urban honey bee populations can be reinforced and existing knowledge can be shared throughout the community, including the next generation of bee keepers.  Currently, no quantitative information exists that enables an insight into the perception of relationships with bees as cohabitants alongside human populations and environments, and there is little in the way of campaigns that promote positive interactions with the bees that live amongst us. Positive relationships with nature are needed to enhance resilience, and to confront, and change the negative climatic influences. Regardless of whether these challenges are man-made or naturally occurring, Wellington City has the potential to embrace positive and sustainable transformation and prosperity. A literature review pursued as part of this research revealed three key themes: sustainable environments; honey bee populations; and the potential value of communication design to promote awareness and to invite action. Quantitative research addresses a professional perspective and this is pursued through semi-structured interviews with experts who have a stake in the well-being of Wellington’s honey bee industries.   The objective of this research entails the application of communication design in the development of a campaign that has the ability to communicate a movement across multiple platforms, provoking positive environmental influences and behaviours amongst Wellington City’s young adult population. This research aims to connect passionate individuals in communities who have an interest in supporting the sustainability of our local honey bee ecologies with new-comers who are open to learning sustainable bee practices. Through providing a holistic presentation of current practices and bee populations within Wellington, and information regarding the potential threats these populations face, this campaign will enable this generation of Wellingtonians to be prepared to protect this vital species. This research aims to examine ways that communication design might be utilised through different platforms to raise awareness of the value local honey bees have within our environments. The campaign goal is to include educational tools that interact with Wellington residents, specifically young adults, to encourage a sustained support towards honey bee well-being.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Sweet, Tonya; Caudwell, Dr Catherine