THE BUZZY BEE – A Great Kiwi Icon

HOW DOES A WOODEN TOY THAT RESEMBLES A BEE AND MAKES A CLICKING NOISE, BE SUCH A FAMOUS NEW ZEALAND ICON?

 

 

Let me start by sharing the history behind the creation of the Buzzy Bee and why this toy continues to be given as a gift to the current generation of Kiwi children.

  

HISTORY

Possibly based on an earlier American concept (not that we like to admit that), it was designed and first produced in Auckland by Maurice Scheslinger in the late 1930’s.  He distributed his Mary Lou Dolls and Buzzy Bees throughout New Zealand with the help CL Stevensons.  Sadly in the early 1940’s Maurice Scheslinger became very ill and was forced to close his workshop.  Heck Ramsey, an agent that was distributing the toys, saw the potential and took them to his brothers wood turning business in New Lynn in

Auckland.  Yearly sales of the Buzzy Bee and Mary Lou flourished as there was a postwar baby boom and import restrictions.  However following a fire at the New Lynn factory in the late 1970’s, the Buzzy Bee operation was sold into a number of different hands before the trade mark was sold to current owner Lion Rock Ventures Limited.  

FEATURES

The bright colours are an instant attraction and the clicking sound it makes when pulled along is very unique. The Buzzy Bee is a toy that is pulled along by its long white string, which makes the yellow plastic wings rotate around to make a clicking sound. The two antennaes made of small plastic balls and bendy springs, always seem to find their way to a mouth of a young child because they are the perfect size to be sucked on.

INTERESTING FACTS

The Buzzy Bee received some amazing publicity when the media captured Prince William playing with the toy on the Royal visit to New Zealand  in 1983.

Prince William with his new toy

A picture of the Buzzy Bee was used on the keel of NZL at the America’s Cup held in Spain in 2007.

Buzzy Bee is often presented by New Zealand dignitaries to VIP’s with children who are often visiting New Zealand.  Notable recipients include Prince William, Princess Aiko from Japan and the Spanish Royal family.

The Buzzy Bee is the most well known toy that New Zealand has ever produced. It has been in production for over fifty years.   My five children were all born in Australia and so I wanted them to experience a piece of Kiwiana and enjoy this toy as much as I had as a child.  The clicking sound came in very handy as I knew when it was becoming faint that my son was taking Buzzy Bee for a walk where he probably shouldn’t.  Buzzy Bee was very naughty because according to my son  he always wanted to go on adventures and visit people.  Did you know that Buzzy Bee likes to fly?  Holding on tightly to the white string my sons all had a turn at spinning around really fast so that Buzzy Bee could fly.  Our Buzzy Bee has had a great life and is still going strong in the toy box.  His paint is looking a bit worse for wear but he still makes his clicking sound when he is taken for a walk.       

Greys Gifts is a proud distributor of this product and has a selection of Buzzy Bee merchandise that would make the perfect gift for any child .    I had a lot of fun designing our range of Buzzy Bee Gift Hampers and know that the famous Kiwi icon will be enjoyed by all! 

Available from our website

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