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The Land of New Zealand

The Land of New Zealand

Landing in New Zealand is unlike landing in any other country. As I descended over the glacially blue tongues of water cutting into the relatively untouched magnificence of the South Island and down through kilometres of thick tumultuous cloud to the green expanse of Dunedin, I knew things were about to change for me, and so they have. I was blessed enough to start with people I knew, who are thoroughly Kiwi and have a deep love for and appreciation of the land.

I have had so many life-changing experiences in the 4 months I have been in this country – involving people, the land and never a lot of money. This is in itself a reflection of the greatness of the country, where you do not need a goldmine to have an amazing time. In fact, following the well-worn tourist tracks spending all your hard-earned shanks and franks on various activities may be fun but may also see you ride rough-shot right over the splendour that lurks beneath. And let me tell you – there is immeasurable splendour beneath. So get out your spade or borrow one and get scratching through the surface!

I will start with a story from the start of my journey. I was staying with 3 wonderful people 20 minutes out of Dunedin in a magnificent area called Hamilton Bay. They had helped their neighbour shear his sheep the day before and as an exchange, he gave them some meat, which we cooked and ate gratefully. As many people do in New Zealand, this household had their own bountiful garden and loved it dearly. The next day we went down to the beach to explore some caves, run along the empty beach and collect mussels which we steamed and ate with malt vinegar – delicious! The land of New Zealand is very generous – Be good to the land and she will be good to you. We went out to watch a band one night – get out to see some local New Zealand bands: there is so much musical talent in this country, it would be a tragedy to leave here without hearing and learning from it. Get to the free concerts in summer, pay for some of the local favourites and make sure you go to at least one tiny little gig somewhere in an obscure area with not necessarily such a large crowd – the outcome is irrelevant, but I have been the only one dancing to some of the best DJ’s I have ever known until the early hours of the morning in this beloved country. ATTENDANCE DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT TALENT.

  • Handy Tip # 1: Stay with locals, even for just some of your stay in the country. I cannot emphasise this enough. They give insights into the country, help you avoid unnecessary “tourist red tape” and can themselves give the best handy tips you could ask for, which you should pass on to others. So too, in the last 4 months in New Zealand I have met some of the best people I have ever known. The way they open there homes, are keen to share their knowledge of recipes for pickle, homebrew and various other wonderful edibles and quenchers is both humbling and thrilling. They generally welcome helping hands and let you get stuck right in – so do!
  • Handy tip # 2: When arriving in the country, if you intend to stay for a while and need a NZ mobile number, use 2 degrees. They are the underdogs, their service is great and their prices are cheaper. No more convincing should be necessary.
  • Handy Tip # 3: Getting off the beaten track gives you more bang for your buck. Note, however, that this should not be done without awareness – take a friend or make a new one to go with you or go with some locals. Otherwise – just make sure you are safe. This is the world we live in.
  • Handy Tip # 4: Get out of the cities. It is easy to get caught up in them, and that is all good and well, but make sure that you take the time and make the effort to spend some time in the tiny towns tourists do not often frequent – I can almost guarantee that something will happen there to expand your mind, you may well find something delicious that could not be found anywhere else in the country and are likely to meet some phenomenal people who are not chasing city things but are rather more satisfied with a more sustainable life.
  • Handy Tip # 5: I cannot recommend Wwoofing (Willing workers On Organic Farms) highly enough. Before you come to New Zealand or when you get here, sign up, get the book, and get calling. But only if you are prepared to get dirty, do a bit of manual labour and are prepared to work for a few hours every day. Wwoofing is not about just getting a free bed and a feed – it is about an exchange. The more you put in, the more you get out. Get your hands into the land, and you will experience a whole different depth to the country. You will spend time weeding (“The Garden of Weedin’” as one Wwoof host called it), learning about planting the right things at the right times, little tricks of how to keep your plants as happy as possible and there is nothing more satisfying than walking with gummies into the garden, spade, bucket and cutters in hand, to choose what you would like for dinner, knowing that your hands had a part in the process. I have Wwoofed in a number of places spanning both islands and they have been my favourite times.

For example, I stayed with one Wwoofing host in Harihari for 8 days. We went tramping for 2 days to go hunting, did their bi-annual “honey run”, made capsicum chutney and caught the start of the fishing season for one certain kind of fish, where I spent the evening running up and down the beach from fisherman to fisherman freeing their hooks from the fish, bashing them on the head and getting them to the truck. 3 hours and 42 fish later, we 3 were exhausted and energised at the same time and stayed filleting fish until the wee hours of the morning, finished off with a moonlit bath in the natural hotpools down the road. Note: DO NOT spend money in mainstream “hotpools” that are chlorinated and overly popular. Take the time to find a local hotpool where you will have more privacy, can stay as long as you want and can melt into the morning at your leisure. While I am speaking about Harihari, I will emphasize: If you are coming to New Zealand, you need to see the South Island. Whether you do it first or last is up to you, but it is essential. The beauty, the lifestyle, the land, the people – all extraordinarily beautiful in ways that will continue to reveal themselves to you in waves.

I have never loved anyone or anything as much as I love this country and I implore you – if you are here, get stuck in. For this land is new, has more zeal than most and there are always seeds ready to be planted and fruit ripe to be picked. 

Submitted by: Gabriella Garnett
Date submitted: 28/02/2011 9:19:43 PM

Apple grading & stacking Fri Jun 8

Grape picking Fri Jun 8

Blueberry picking Fri Jun 8

Hop work in Motueka Tue May 16

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


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


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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