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Napier or the job war
Back home, and before coming in New Zealand, I obtained a degree in horticultural production and I would like to run my own apple orchard for making apple cider, which is very popular in the place where I live. So, one of my plan was working in apple production for afford my trip of course and learn news techniques. Full of hope, I arrived in Napier at the beginning of December, as recommend by the Pick NZ office (http://www.picknz.co.nz/), the first result appearing when you look for a seasonal job in fruit picking in NZ. Very high level of job demand for this period of the year, and after having registered myself on the website and send some emails directly to the office without receiving any concrete answer, I decided to come and see by myself. As so many other travellers… I found a city full of backpackers looking for the same thing, a job in apple thinning, the only job available at this time of the year. Most of them were, even worse, in a hostel where the manager had promised them a job if they stayed in the hostel and paid for room for a week but couldn’t give a job to everyone, so all these poor travelers were wasting their money in the meantime. Very discouraging.
Of course, the trip until Hastings for visiting the Pick NZ office and registered myself again in person was useless. The same answer, ‘we will let you know if we have any opportunities’. I started to search for orchards address on Internet and go there for meeting the manager in person and ask if there were some positions available, and send some emails at the same time. After 3 days of work, because as everywhere in the world, looking for a job, if you really want to get one, is a full time job, I received a positive answer. But the manager was looking for someone with experience with hydraladder… Hum, I could do it, I could learn something new very quickly, and I was very motivated so that worked ! The farm was located between Napier and Hastings and was also a wwoofing place. They gave me a go during the 3 first days as a wwoofer and finally they hired me. I was working 8 hours per day, 3 hours for food and accommodation, who was in a caravan with share kitchen and bathroom, and the rest was paid. The job was not very hard, apple thinning being just pick the small and bad apple and let them on the ground, so you get it quickly and can be very fast after only 3 full days of work. Of course, you must know that you go to spend 8 hours up, outside, concentrated on apples, and that could be boring sometimes. But compared to the workers that I met before, I was paid hourly and not by contract (per tree), so I had decent wages. There were other wwoofers over there so I could socialize. I worked there for 5 weeks and they offered me to come back for the harvest season. Of course I said yes, I didn’t really want to have the same bad days, care about money and job opportunities. And even if this year is a bad year for apple because of the bad summer, I met some great people and it was a great opportunity for me to learn something new in my job back home. In conclusion, I would like to say to travellers who would like to enjoy a working experience in New Zealand to do not rely on those who say to you that they can find you a work but offer you nothing concrete and that’s always better when you do it by yourself.
Submitted by: Anne-Flore Date submitted: 1/04/2012 10:39:18 p.m.