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So what are you waiting for?!
I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand
Even though I cannot explain my exact reasons, I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand. When I started dating my current boyfriend Tomas, I was slowly preparing him for the fact that once I finish my university studies, I would like to come to this wonderful country, no matter if with or without him. Although my interests in English have always been huge, Tomas has never learnt it and this fact worried me a little bit.
After our second anniversary and also after almost two years during which we spread this information among our families and friends, everybody became a little bit bored by our plans and stopped hoping we might ever get there. At that time I finished my economy studies and had summer holidays ahead. This was the time when I had to decide whether to find a job or simply leave and extend my holidays. I had a lot of free time to browse on the internet and gather the needed information. As I was not completely decided yet, I started to apply for both and let the faith decide.
While I went to some job interviews, we sat down one evening and applied for the Working Holiday Visa. Knowing that there are various companies in the Czech Republic which can arrange the visa for you and worrying that we might make some mistakes by trying to get it by ourselves; we did not hesitate and visited the immigration websites (www.immigration.govt.nz). After creating our accounts and downloading the right document, we started to fill it in. The questions were very easy to understand and much easier to answer. At the end Tomas applied for his visa himself (without the knowledge of a single word) and was very satisfied that he could understand the conditions without having to pay to any agency. We paid by our visa card online and could wait for the reply.
To our surprise, we got the visa approval within two days. From now on we had one year for getting to New Zealand, and then the possibility to work and travel for a year. Our dreams were slowly becoming true, I no longer applied for another job, Tomas prepared his own business for enclosure and we started to plan our journey.
There are some very useful Czech websites concerning traveling and working in NZ, e.g. www.hedvabnastezka.cz, www.cestananovyzeland.cz. Moreover, it is not difficult to find many English ones: www.newzealand.com, www.i-site.org.nz etc. For some more information we also used many blogs of people who were here before, or we simply contacted some people through facebook or used the information given by the immigration of NZ. Even though we got plenty of useful info and advice, we still felt very unprepared and scared about traveling around half of the world and not knowing anything for sure. It was the right time for getting our plane tickets. When we visited our largest travel agency, we found out that the ticket would cost us arms and legs. After a little bit more searching on the net, we found a highly recommended private ticket trader Oldrich Ther on http://letenky-levne.sletenkou.cz/ and decided to use his services and travel by Korean Air. A return ticket per person cost us about 1800NZD, which was just a little bit more than a single one (you need a proof of having a leaving ticket at the customs and we also wanted to be secure in case we were unsuccessful in earning any money for the journey back). By the way, the tickets included a really wonderful stop-over in Seoul, Korea in a brand new 4-star hotel with all meals included. There are of course some other options, e.g.: www.airasia.com, www.airnewzealand.co.nz, www.koreanair.com, www.emirates.com ...
One of the important parts was to arrange a good health insurance. I am not sure if it applies in your country as well, but we have to show to our authorities that we are insured if we do not pay the insurance at home. We chose the one designed especially for working holiday workers Orbit Protect (www.orbitprotect.com). Try to compare the prices of different companies, but I am sure you will appreciate the fact that Orbit is held by a New Zealand company and therefore easy to claim in case of an accident. Moreover, it also includes most of the Pacific Islands, which are a popular destination for hard-working backpackers. :-)
Once we got to New Zealand, we were trying to run away from Auckland as soon as possible, and therefore we needed a new car. What we may highly recommend in this case are either the famous weekend car-markets in Auckland, walking around some back-packers notice boards, or simply get out of this concrete jungle and have a look along the roads. Getting a car and change the ownership is the matter of ten minutes in the Post office. Some other websites are: www.trademe.co.nz, www.sella.co.nz …
We slowly started to explore this amazing country and meanwhile we were slowly heading down to the south, we were looking for some jobs. In http://www.picknz.co.nz/ you will find a very useful map of the main horticultural areas with their seasons and other important information. From our experience, working here is basically a matter of combination of both knowledge of the peak seasons and a good luck. You may apply for a job through a mail, or a form on various websites: www.seasonaljobs.co.nz, www.seek.co.nz, www.trademe.co.nz or www.backpackerboard.co.nz. From our experience, the best thing you can do is ask people, stop at farms, ask farmers, read ads in local stores etc., more than through the internet. This is how we got all our jobs. If you are really desperate, sometimes it helps when you accommodate in a backpacker and the owners will help you with finding the job.
First we were working in Blenheim at vineyards. The job was called “wire-lifting” and was physically really hard. We were working for an Indian company, paid 3-4c per a tree. Even though we were trying our best and almost running the whole day without having a break, we could hardly reach the minimal wage. We quit after four days and immediately found a job in strawberry picking. This was paid 2$ per a small box. We could easily earn about 80$ in six/seven hours and enjoy the sun the rest of the day. Unfortunately the season finished soon and we had to move on. It was the before X-mas and cherry season was already open. Some friends of ours got a stone-fruit picking position in Cromwell and ask if we would like to be a team with them, as a team of 6 was the condition for this job. We moved to Cromwell and picked apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches etc. The supervisors were awesome and sometimes helped us. We had better money than the minimal wage and were really satisfied. The problem when you work in a group of people and share the price is that somebody takes it easy and it might drive you crazy sometimes.
After the stone-fruit and cherry season, start apple and kiwi fruit picking. We decided to travel and enjoy our time. After two months of working we had enough money for almost two months of traveling. We moved back to the North Island and found jobs in a kiwifruit packhouse. The position was called a “grader” and we worked nightshifts, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. We were paid 13,5$/h + 1$/h night allowance. Tomas soon became QC (quality controller) and enjoyed it much more. Even though this was a monotonous job and picking might have been more fun, less hours for better money (depending on contract) and in the fresh air, we knew some friends picking and complaining about the never ending rain. So we finally earned much more money in the same period of time.
We felt really tired and exhausted after our 3months kiwiseason. We bought tickets to Samoa and spent the rest of winter over there (3 weeks). When we got back we found a great family and now we are staying at their place, doing wwoofing. The spring is wonderful, everything is blooming and we enjoy working 3-4hours, 3-4days a week for food and accommodation. We are getting to know the kiwi way of life and meet many interesting people. When we get tired and broke, we will move on and find another job. It is really easy, and you may not believe, but also fun!
Submitted by: Michaela Date submitted: 24/10/2011 2:43:11 a.m.