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Working with Kiwi fruit
It was about early October last year I think. I have been in New Zealand for about 2 months and it was about time to get myself a paid job cause I was running low on money. So I decided I might go for some seasonal work. Since Im in the kiwi country what else could I do but work in the kiwi industry? "What a great experience that will be", I was thinking at that time. After a short period of time I have found myself a job in Tauranga as a kiwi pruner. I had no idea what exactly I would be doing but it was a paid job after all. It was a work and stay packet which means that I had to stay in a certain hostel for the period of work in exchange for them to find me the job and arrange the contact with the contractor.
Between the time I arrived at the hostel and the actual date the job started there was a gap of about a week. Of course I havent been told about that. There were quiet a lot of other backpackers around who also waiter for the job to start or who have already been working. So it wasnt hard to kill time after all. We would either drive to Mount Manganui and have a swim or have a few beers in the evening or something alike. I had a good time there.
Eventually the job started. We had to go to the companys office and sign our contracts, get told about Health&Safety and we alos got a brief description of what we had to expect from the work.
The next day we started working. We received the address of the orchard we were working at from our supervisor. After arriving there our supervisor explained us what the usual working day looked like. Two short paid breaks, one big lunch break, usualy 8 to 9 hours...it didnt sound too bad. Then the actual work started. Turned out were werent actually doing pruning but rather something thats called thinning. Everybody got his or her own lane of kiwi plants and we had to remove small branches to even out the growth of the plants. Its kinda hard to explain that. But after a few hours and with help from our supervisors (there were 3 of them) we eventually figured out what to do. It took us a few days to become reasonably fast. But it took me only a few hours to find out that this job is the easiest thing in the world. And also the most boring thing. But again, it was easy money. So the hours went by. Once youve finished your lane you either had to help someone else finish his or her lane or start another lane yourself.
Thus the first days passed. Then the job changed. We didnt have to remove small branches anymore but the flowers of the kiwis. Not just all the flowers of course. Wherever their grew a triple, like three connected flowers, we had to remove the 2 smaller flowers of them. And there were heaps of thos tripples. Again, its kind of hard to explain what we actually did. But once youve figured out what had to be done it was the an easy, boring and repetitive work. And like this the weeks passed by. We mostly worked 6 days a week with days off only if the weather didnt permit working. You could of course take a day off if you wanted to. We got paid weekly and the wages obviously changed based on the hours we made per week.
I stayed in that job for about 6 weeks and once I felt I had saved enough money I was off again. Back on the road.
I probably could had saved a lot more money I it wasnt for the beer and wine being as tasty as expensive in New Zealand. But its not always just about the money, right? And I had a lot of fun and memorable nights during my time in the sunny Tauranga. The peak of that probably being one of my mates coming after a night in the city at 10 a.m. telling us he had spent his night in prison cause of drunken behavior...
Anyway, I hope that gives an idea of what to expect when doing seasonal work in New Zealand.
Submitted by: Cedric Sell Date submitted: 24/03/2016 11:27:47 a.m.