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Just a little fun and kiwiana with some off the topic triva!
The Buzzy Bee Story
The Buzzy Bee™ is New Zealand’s most famous children’s toy. This brightly coloured, wooden pull-along toy has been handed down from generation to generation and is now regarded as a major New Zealand icon. There would be few, if any, New Zealanders that don’t immediately recognize this charming little toy as a feature of their youth.
The inspired creation of Auckland brothers, Hec and John Ramsey, Buzzy Bee™ has endeared itself to thousands of New Zealanders. An intriguing concoction of buzzing sound, quivering antennae, spinning wings and bold colours, this delightful pull-along toy has been purchased in the hundreds of thousands since its first release in the mid 1940’s.
From turning out wooden home wares and wooden door knobs, Hec Ramsey first ventured into toys with the release of the famous Mary Lou™ doll in 1941. It was an immediate hit and soon after, other character wooden toys were added including the New Zealand icon, Buzzy Bee™.
The postwar baby boom and import restrictions saw yearly sales of Buzzy Bee™ increase rapidly. 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 and device was sold to Lion Rock Ventures Limited, its current owner.
Such is New Zealand’s love affair with Buzzy Bee™ that it has appeared as the subject of such things as paintings, sculptures, television advertisements, postal stamps (twice), magazine covers, school murals and parades. Buzzy Bee™ is now often presented by New Zealand dignitaries to VIP’s visiting New Zealand. Notable recipients include the future King of England, Prince William, Princess Aiko from Japan and the Spanish Royal family.