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I could romanticize it…

Our first full day in Gisborne was devoted to trying to find work. It was a bit discouraging at first, as none of the vineyards need workers, but we finally stopped in to a citrus orchard where a guy called Murray said he had oranges to pick. The orchard surrounds his main business, which is a timber haulage company. The citrus is hardly how he makes his living, it seems more like a bit of extra pocket money for him, but we’re sure glad he has it. He’s been really good to us. He’s let us camp in his orchard (complete with a hot shower, a sink to wash our dishes in, and internet) since then. We’ve spent the week picking his organic tangelos.

I could romanticize it…

They’re the most amazing fruits. A cross between mandarins and oranges, they’re the sweetest, juiciest pieces of citrus I’ve ever experienced. We’re allowed to help ourselves to as many as we like, whilst working under the springtime sunshine. The orange blossoms are really fragrant and smell amazing. From our ladders we can see vineyards and farms stretching for miles, with mountains in the background. Every now and then we come across a birds nest with pretty blue eggs or newborn babies, and do our best not to disturb them. Tom’s been having fun learning how to drive the tractor/forklift.

Or I could complain…

The sacks we fill get really heavy, so we’re both getting back ache. The branches scrape your arms and legs unless you’re wearing jeans and long sleeves, and then it gets too hot. The leaves and oranges that I thought were covered in dirt are actually covered in shit. Literally. It’s the poo of tiny white bugs (an invasive species from Australia) that look far too small to leave much of anything behind, but because there’s bazillions of them it starts to add up. They’re not the only bugs in the trees. I did well not to fall off my ladder the first time a cockroach scurried across my arm. They’re harmless, unlike the occasional wasp with a nest, but they’re still not pleasant. In the middle of the afternoon the sun becomes unbearably hot. We’re still not sure how much money we’re making. We get paid by the kilo, but we’re not sure how much, or how many kilos we’ve picked, so we’re trusting Murray to pay us decently for a long week of work.

The reality is somewhere in between…


We’re happy to have work. We’ve started picking every morning, taking a long break and swimming/surfing during the heat of the day, and then coming back to work when the evenings start to cool down. Fortunately, we both have mums who have taught us to work really hard, and I have the added motivation of wanting to get back to Michigan for my best friends’ wedding in August, and that’s enough to keep us grateful for the work. Having a place to shower and camp for free is a great bonus, and weve been making friends with some of Murrays other employees.

For photos of us in the orchard, please visit <katiemaenz.blogspot.com>




Submitted by: Katie Mae
Date submitted: 7/12/2010 7:57:55 p.m.


Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27

MY JOURNEY FROM $350/HR TO MIN WAGE: LOVING IT IN NEW ZEALAND Tue May 27

The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I don’t live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17

6 MONTHS AS A NANNY IN WAIMAI Sun Jul 17

Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize it… Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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