[ KIWIANA DISPLAY BOX ]
New Zealand’s favourite bee
The inspired creation of Auckland brothers, Hector (Hec) and John Ramsey, the Buzzy Bee has endeared itself to millions of New Zealanders. An intriguing concoction of clackety-clack sound, quivering antennae, spinning wings and bold colour, this delightful pull-along toy has been produced in the hundreds of thousands since its first release in the mid 1940s and is now seen worldwide.
From turning out wooden cores for toilet rolls and wooden doorknobs, Hec Ramsey first ventured into toys with the release of the famous Mary Lou doll in 1941.
It was an immediate hit – with generations of New Zealanders destined to cut their teeth on its beaded limbs – and soon after other character wooden toys were added, including Richard Rabbit, Oscar Ostrich and Dorable Duck.
John Ramsey joined the company after the end of the war and was instrumental in designing the Buzzy Bee and sourcing the New Zealand Tawa timber from which it was made.
Following a fire at the factory in the late 1970s, the Buzzy Bee operation was sold into a number of different hands.
The Buzzy Bee has since blossomed into all sorts of products from jigsaws, story books, jewellery to mobiles, pillow cases and underwear.