Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (2024)

Table of Contents
Apple grading & stacking Grape picking Blueberry picking Jozefien Nuyttens Hop work in Motueka Jamie Nguyen Working as an apple packer in Motueka Hillary Hodgskiss Working for free accommodation in Wellington Rebecca Vickers From working holiday visa to a resident lomelli From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Cedric Sell Working with Kiwi fruit The Christmas rush Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Adela Kadanikova Asparagus picking Kevin Gillikin put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Jian Xi Teng MY JOURNEY FROM $350/HR TO MIN WAGE: LOVING IT IN NEW ZEALAND Germán Distel The Gorilla Hut Rb Working in sales in NZ Lai Sem Min Life as an apple picker Philipp Schulz Marahau Gosse Verschoor hanging nets at isabel vinyard Alexander Hannay Farm stay Beau Thoresen Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Christoph Zeuch Vineyard Work in Blenheim Camy Chew Working As A "Milkman" Carina Fossati Being an au-pair Anne-Flore Grandsire Grape harvesting in Central Otago Juan Ignacio Murillo Whenever Gonzalo Silvela Picking up the oil in Tauranga Wei Onion grading Charlotte Cook Omarama, Place of Light Anne-Flore Napier or the job war Tomaž Meniè Some helpful tips Donna Keenan Fruit picking in Central Otago Isha Persoon Some useful tips Tony Sundman Fruit picking in Motueka Grisa Grauf Where Do We Go From Here Rob Cummins Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Aimee Tapping Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Anne van Hulten I work to live, I don’t live to work Emma I only had $100 to my name Kyle Gibson Odd Jobs In Central Otago Michael Peach thinning working experience Morgan Barrie The young vines were frosted over Gavin Lammin The work found me Gonza Barnes Working for Watties Factory Hayden McLean Working New Zealand from a different perspective Michaela I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Denis Cassius Castelot My first job in vineyards was stripping Mariano My happiness was indescribable Cristian Santibanez Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Emily Fredrickson Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Franzi and Benni Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Marina Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Edward Baker Whale and Dolphin Watching Max Olsen Cherry Picking in Central Otago Joaquin Monge 16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Aleš Kopecký No one got payslips, really crazy Martin Muerza picked apples at first Robyn Peary In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Gijs Lijbers cash-in-hand odd jobs Nils De Winter A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Siân Robinson Talking to strangers about charity Katie Woolsey Fresh out of college Law Siaw Sun Working trees for $350 per week Dan German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Diego Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Steph We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Laura 6 MONTHS AS A NANNY IN WAIMAI Robert Garrett Wilding Pines Carolin and Philipp boss was very nice and friendly Amanda Haehl Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Caroline Fullenwarth Mr Apple packhouse experience Gabriella Garnett North Island Notes Freddy Fruitpicking in Napier Anna Jakob blueberry harvest season Michaela Veselov bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too James Sprecher Mate! You are on fire!! Holly Snowden, Wales UK The real vineyard work lowdown Liam Butler I had pretty much run out of cash Gabriella Garnett The Land of New Zealand Gaspard Buffet Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Mat Walker heard cattle on motorbikes Nis Traditional Maori hangi Martje Nehmiz Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Gaspard Buffet When I got to Whangamata... Katie Mae I could romanticize it… Clara Markus I thought it sounded interesting Anna Jakob My New Zealand adventure :) Daniel Diaz Tazzer Well I am from Mexico... Sarah Kate Ferry ~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Nela Popiolkova New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Agnese Mukstina Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Jan Kucera First Job Thinning Apples... Jolke Bomhof Damn recession! Elizabeth Coffey Loving New Zealand.. Melissa Tan From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Michal Cigánek A Czech in New Zealand..


Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (1)Experiences

8/06/2018 7:12:44 PM

Apple grading & stacking

8/06/2018 7:12:01 PM

Blueberry picking

Hop work in Motueka

When looking for work in Motueka, there are a lot of options to choose from. Depending on when you arrive you can find a job in the orchards around the town center. They are plenty.

The orchards grow kiwifruit, apples, cherries, blueberries and other crops that provide work from end of winter until the late autumn months.

From the end of September until half of November I worked for Mac hops. I did mainly propagation work and some planting. Lucky for me because the spring was very wet and propagation happens inside. Which meant that during rainy days I could still work. Every day we would start at 7.30 am. Hop stems would be cut up and dipped in a rooting hormone. Then the individual stems would be planted into individual pots and cared for in the greenhouse. Those little plants, in 2 – 3 years, would then be planted out on the field. Whenever an old plant had died or did not produce enough buds, they would get replaced.

We worked with 10 people propagating and another 15 people outside, training.

During 2 weeks, in the afternoon only, half of the team would be thinning on the farms small block of kiwifruit. This was also paid hourly. There was never a day you would be bored on the job because in one day you could expect to do 3 different things.

Mac hops is a family owned farm that has been growing hops for 2 generations now.

Owners Brent and Owen share the management of the farm. Never have I met such a hard-working duo. You often find them in the shed when you arrive at 7.30 am and they will stay late to work long after you have gone. Which is understandable since the farm has just expanded with a new plot in Mapua.

Brent and Owen grow hops for Mac’s New Zealand brewery, famous for its craft beers. One of them the Hoprocker. The biggest workloads on the farm are during the spring and late summer. In October, the hops need to be trained, which is contract work. You can expect the training period to last at least 3 weeks. I did propagation which is paid $16 per hour + %8 vacation pay. Another job is planting which is also paid hourly. Then the harvest happens around the end of March. You can expect to do different jobs since there are many other tasks on the farm. For example, weeding the glass house, potting plants and sweeping the shed.

There is staff accommodation available. For $100 per week you get a room with a shared kitchen and bathroom. If you plan to camp, it costs only $50.

Mac hops

91 Poole street


South Island

Google maps:,+Motueka+7120/@-41.1078352,172.9972745,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x6d3b8729db2a0919:0xcd738be9b12e01bf!8m2!3d-41.1079444!4d173.0003805?hl=nl

Kind regards,

Jozefien Nuyttens,
snowboard and ski instructor


"follow your heart but take your brain with you." Alfred Adler

by Jozefien Nuyttens
16/05/2017 9:31:33 PM

Jozefien Nuyttens Hop work in Motueka

Working as an apple packer in Motueka!
I worked for James Apple Packhouse in Motueka for more than 1 month and this was extremely an easy and happy job. We worked only 40 hours/week from Monday to Friday, with salary 15.25$/h. All we need to do was to pick apples from the round box and put into the tray. There was one interesting point in this packhouse which made me really impressed. That was: we had cakes for break time from boss quite often in week. This is not a big packhouse, but the atmospheres so warm and friendly. After season finished, boss even helped us to find job in kiwifruit packhouse. I would like to recommend this packhouse to anyone who wanna find jobs in Motueka. Job in James packhouse may begins from March and finishes in May. This is the address and phone number of my boss:
James Packhouse
Address: 85 Brooklyn Valley, Motueka 7120

by Jamie Nguyen
9/05/2016 4:21:59 PM

Jamie Nguyen Working as an apple packer in Motueka

You have recently arrived in a new city, booked yourselfinto a hostel that you found

online from and are ready to hit theground running – making new

friends, exploring the local cafés, and finding bars hiddendown poster-pasted alleys. That was

my mindset when I arrived to Wellington, New Zealand in themiddle of January. I did not have

many expectations when I first arrived, but I knew I wantedto try and find a temporary part or

full-time job and a place to live. On my second morning atNomads Hostel, the kind receptionist

who knew I was new to the city and looking for work let meknow that there was an opportunity

to do Work for Accommodation at the hostel. For those of whohaven’t heard the phrase “work

for accommodation” it is where you do work at the hostel inexchange for free accommodation

plus other perks; these perks can vary by hostel from freewi-fi, complimentary laundry, and

even a free meal a day. The hourly commitment per week alsovaries per hostel and usually you

need to make a small bond payment to ensure that you will bethere for the minimum two-week

commitment. Work for Accommodation was such a nice way tobecome familiar with the city

and attend local events such as walking tours, or Music inthe Park with other people who have a

working holiday visa here or travelers passing through. Andsince you are only working up to

four hours per day, you can have the rest of the day to lookfor a job in the city. I recommend

Temp Agencies; these may require that you come in for aninterview, but after the interview and

receiving your contact information they will contact you whenthey have a job that needs filling!

Extra eyes to help you on your way to saving some extracash, so you can explore the rest of this

beautiful country! So if your goal is to giving life in thecity a-go, then think about the work for

accommodation as an option to help keep some weight in yourpockets, so you can go out for

that drink with your new friends in the bean bag chairs andenjoy the harbor view.

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by Hillary Hodgskiss
24/03/2016 11:50:55 AM

Hillary Hodgskiss Working for free accommodation in Wellington

I first came to New Zealand on a working holiday three years ago. As I’m the type who likes planning ahead, I started applying for jobs (mostly through the Seasonal Jobs New Zealand website) in October, hoping to start work in January. But when I was called up the next day by two different places asking if I could start work next week, I decided to delay the search!

In December I applied for two different cooking jobs, one at Mt. Cook Village and one in Wanaka. They both got back to me almost at once, and after googling photos of both areas (knowing almost nothing about New Zealand at the time), I decided to go with the Wanaka job! I had worked as a baker and breakfast cook the summer before, so I was an ideal candidate, and I was offered the job as a chef’s assistant at Kai Whakapai following a phone interview.

Honestly, I would have been happy with a fruit-picking job—anything to get me to New Zealand. But Kai Café was perfect.

I started my job the day after I arrived in Wanaka. The flat I had lined up fell through (there was a miscommunication, and the room I wanted wasn’t available), but I was able to sort out a much better (and cheaper!) place that same day. Basically I just sat at the lakefront while the flat-owner chatted to his mate, and next thing I knew I had a place to live!

That was my first introduction to how easy and straightforward most things are in New Zealand.

It was simple enough setting up a bank account with Westpac and getting an IRD number (required for anyone working in New Zealand), and then all I had to worry about was work and travel.

Working at Kai Café was wonderful. I had never been formally trained as a chef, yet I was given many opportunities to perform as a full chef, and the team was plenty of fun to work with. I had coworkers from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, and New Zealand, and the owners were never afraid to step in and wash dishes if we were busy.

Better still, with the high minimum wage and affordable cost of living, I was left with about $500 a week to spend on travel. I visited Mt. Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Glenorchy, and the Catlins; did a canyoning tour, a horseback riding trip, a 4-wheeling excursion, and a whitewater sledging trip; and hiked up mountains and to backcountry huts most weekends. It was crazy! I started to think of my work-days as “down time” in between the hikes and adventures.

I worked at Kai Whakapai for three months, and afterwards spent three weeks traveling around as much of the South Island as I could see. If I had the chance to do it all again, I absolutely would. For me, it was comforting to have a home base to return to while I traveled, and a community to become familiar with. And I gained enough experience in my role that I was later hired as a proper chef at an upscale restaurant.

You can probably tell how much I loved New Zealand by the fact that I’m now a resident!

by Rebecca Vickers
24/03/2016 11:39:14 AM

Rebecca Vickers From working holiday visa to a resident

From the big city to the field
You couldnt imagine a bigger contrast. After my friend and I arrived in Auckland we immediately looked for a job, of course if you are coming to NZ for beautiful nature a city that houses a third of the total population isnt the best address.
Two days later we found ourselves in Kerikeri in the far north. We contacted the Hone Heke lodge members of the BBH club which are working hostels and in my opinion the best place for backpackers seeking employment.
My friend and I worked on a kiwi orchard and were assigned two main tasks,thinning and vine training. For the former we had to take the undersized and misshapen fruits off and discard them on the ground, this is necessary so the remaining fruits can mature and ripen to the desired size. Besides you also have to strap in new vines too a guide wire so they dont get damaged when the tractor drives down the row. During a work day of eight hours you are alone in your row and it can become hard to concentrate with so many hundreds of kiwi hanging above you. The two tea breaks and a half hour lunch make the day much more bearable being able to plug in your head phones listen to music and relax outside in the shade make it all worthwhile.
However while doing vine training there was no canopy to hide under and whether the sun was shining or the rain was pouring down we had to climb up and down the ladders to twist the young kiwi vines around strings.
Speaking of rain on most other orchards it is not possible to work because if you cut or scratch some of the wood you can open up the whole plant to PSA infection. Luckily for my friend an i we were working on an orchard that had PSA resistant kiwi plants, which is really lucky for the backpacker and the backpackers bank account. One of the most important things I found was wearing good trekking shoes, on my first rainy work day I decided to wear comfortable sneakers which got soaked right away. I would suggest against them unless you like the feeling of walking around all day on soggy sponges.
Altogether I did this job for eight days then the work finished. I came too late for the full job as it can last for a few weeks at a time depending on the size of orchard. Compared to my other jobs as a farm worker I would always suggest thinning. Despite being quite boring it is not as exhausting as some of the other jobs so you can always enjoy your free time in the evening without being too tired- for example with a large pizza and a lot of ice cream like we did after weve finished our first week of work.
The last and most important information to the backpacker is payment. Most orchards pay minimum wage which is 14.75$ an hour after tax and holiday pay (which is collected and given to you after you leave the job) you are making 12.91 an hour. I almost always had the weekend off except for once when the weather was really terrible and we made up for it on a Sunday. So you are almost guaranteed 40 hours a week which translates too 516$ every week. Subtracting the hostel costs and grocery bills and a bit of economics you can save over 300$ which can then be spent on day trips too Cape Reinga or Abbey caves or 90 mile beach. Most people visit these places so make friends and share petrol costs and the price can be one fifth of a bus tour!

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by lomelli
24/03/2016 11:34:37 AM

lomelli From the big city to the field of 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 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.


by Cedric Sell
24/03/2016 11:27:47 AM

Cedric Sell Working with Kiwi fruit

It was just like any ordinary year. I dusted off another year of studying and was on my 3-

month holiday until I started university again. I was low on income and needed to use my

time wisely as life as a student is difficult especially in the financial area, most of the time

youre broke due to accommodation costs, food, university related costs and travel costs.

Nothing is easy and I sure learnt that the hard way. I ended up looking for every single job

possible, my job experience isnt great and all the places I applied which were mostly retail,

needed experience as it was the Christmas rush. The time of the year where every single

retail shop prepares for the climax of the year and prepare their scenery and prices

to suit the time, they had no interest in training someone from scratch. After e-mailing a

couple of places with no sudden response, it was clear I would not get any retail jobs.

I started looking for other types of work, I went on to backpacker’s board and looked for the

jobs there in Auckland but there was nothing that I could actually do, there were jobs

available but once again a necessary amount of experience was required so I just shrugged

off the idea of actually finding a job again. I started looking forward to University starting up

again. It was around mid-December where I got a wakeup call, I realized that I had failed a

few papers in my second semester and I had to redo them but I was lacking the necessary

amount of money to retake the papers. it hit me hard. I felt depressed at times as I really

needed to finish off my second year of University to advance otherwise I would never get

my degree and I would be jobless without experience too.

I started the search up again and literally was on top of it day in day out, it was hard.

Employment in NZ is not the best in my own opinion, it’s hard for students to find a job

especially when most jobs require a certain period of time to work under contracts such as a

minimum of 6 months. I kept searching but in all honestly I thought I would never find a

suitable job. I stumbled upon and I had a look at the list of jobs that were

listed in the north island, most were up to date and I saw one listed that said they needed a

couple of egg farmers. I started at the link for a while, questioning my morals. Ive never had

any experience on a farm, nor any experience much at all. I read up on the details and the

only thing that fell prey unto my eyes was the "No experience necessary". I was quite

shocked to actually come across a job that doesnt require experience. I texted the person

that had put up the advertising and he gave me a test run.

It was in Henderson on a distant farm. Was a couple of South-Asian men. They looked like

very hard workers. They showed me how to extract the eggs from the chicken and how to

make sure they dont crack when taking them, making sure not to shock the chicken so they

dont break it. How long it takes for the eggs to become eatable, not letting the eggs ripen

too much was the key. It was hard work. Very hard work, or so I thought. A couple of trucks

would come by every so often to pick up the eggs that were collected and they were taken

away to be sold in stores. There were a lot of trucks. Ive never really experienced any work

like this but at the end of the day it was satisfying. Finally, being able to work felt really

good. I felt like I would get somewhere. The days were very long though, It was extremely

busy too, there were a couple of other people they had hired.

They looked a bit older than me. They were very nice though. The trucks kept coming and

we kept piling up the eggs.

It was the Christmas rush I tell you. I never really realized how hard these people work just

to get eggs out in the supermarkets. People that work in agricultural and farm areas need to

be shown a bit more gratitude. They work really hard for everyone to make sure they get

what they need. Im more appreciative now when I see eggs in the supermarket. I continued

working until about mid-March, University was starting up again. I was happy that i was able

to collect enough money to retake the papers I had failed and I was happy that I was able to

find a job in the farm area, it really opened my eyes to a lot of things I was blinded to. I

appreciate every farmer now, very much.

Ahmed Sooran

29/02/2016 10:36:47 AM

The Christmas rush

How is the common worker in the pack house?
Deprived of clean air and silence, uncontrolled in his/her movements. This is because the kiwifruit pack house makes you a little twitchy.

But when one wants a winter of snow, one needs one thing: money!

Thats right. My choosing a job in kiwifruit was not out of a pure poetic plight we Europeans tend to have with New-Zealand and kiwifruit.
I have to say though, it did soundlike a delectable way to spend my autumn months.

March 2015 I left my home country Belgium for New-Zealand. It was the first country that I travelled to where I knew nobody. My plan for the first months was very simple: to find a job as soon as possible to replenish my savings. If possible on the South Island.
Fruit picking was an obvious choice, since it is very Kiwi. I searched google and found the seasonaljobs website.

It had a job offer from a pack house called Inglis packers. They needed 30 people to start at the beginning of April. The pack house was situated in Motueka, a town at the very top of the South Island.
Having no idea of what Motueka would be like, I imagined finding a lovely countryside community. Fruit trees on every corner and lush hills with sheep and cow.
This was not so far from the truth.

I arrived in March with no more than my backpack and snowboard. The pack house was on the outskirts of town. There I met the pack house king: Mr. Kong.
Mr. Kong offered me a job as a grader. $14.75 per hour+ 8% vacation pay. 45-50 hours a week.
"Work starts next week.", said mr. Kong.
It sounded heavenly in my ears.

A grader makes sure that our ordinary Smiths and Joneses in the world are not confronted with anything confusing. Blemishes, haywood marks, watermarks.
Because we know what will happen if the customer picked up a kiwifruit with a blemish. The horror! Terrorised by non conformity they would run away in tears. For sure we do not want anyone to cry.

Now that I had a job, I neededsomewhere to stay. I still had time to find a place since work only started work after a week. With this wonderful area to explore but no money to spend, I decided to do a tramp. Because this was Abel Tasman country! Cheap fun.
My gear was stored at the I-site in town.Then I packed my backpack with peanut butter and appels and was on my way.
The Abel Tasman was simply beautiful! I found a friend on the journey named Mark. We did not finish the tramp together. When he left, he donated a block of cheese. For a hungry tramper eating nothing but peanut butter and appels, this was the best gift ever.
Since we were both working in pack houses in Motueka, I was going to visit him when I got back.

I found Mark again, a couple of days later, in the Motueka backpackers campground. A rugged sort of place but the cheapest accommodation in town. I met the owner Lesley who outfitted me with one of his own tents and a weekly rent of only $90. Now that I had found my palace, I was ready to tackle the job.

I graded in Motueka for 8 weeks and finished with $2500 in savings plus 2 boxes of kiwifruit. Money used to buy aseason pass for Cardrona ski resort.
All this time I lived in a tent at the Motueka backpackers. I met some of the most colourful people there. Kiwis and travellers:a writer named Jonesy, a whitebait fisher named Ed.

Motueka was a great place to stay. The place to make money and new friendships.

The packhouse where I worked:

Inglis Packers
20 Thorp Street

29/02/2016 10:33:38 AM

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka

Our first seasonal job in New Zealand was an asparagus picking. We found some email adresses of asparagus farms on the internet after our arrival to Auckland and in a couple of days we arranged an interview in one family company growing strawberries and asparagus. The farm was close to Hamilton and we were working there for 5 weeks - till Christmas time when asparagus season was finished. First week was really hard was us and we were tired. It was only working-sleeping. But by the time our bodies got trained and we were faster and stronger. After few days the manager offered us a job in the packhouse so every day after work on the field we earned some more money by sorting asparagus that we had picked a few hours before. These kinds of jobs are very stereotyped so you needto find something what will help you to do your job well every day. For us it was breaking through the number of crates we should pick in the parficular time. It was very good experience - we got knowledge how to grow asparagus, how to pick it and sort it and the benefit - bigger muscles!:-)

by Adela Kadanikova
29/02/2016 10:27:47 AM

Adela Kadanikova Asparagus picking

Are you looking for an easy, relaxed job?

Dont like working up a sweat or getting dirty?

Afraid of a bit of sunor the wild elements of the NewZealand outdoors?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then seasonal workis NOT for you! There is dirt, there is sweat, there are bugs and hot sun andrainy days BUT dont get me wrong...I love it!

The work on a vineyard (or I would assume at an orchard orother farm as well) leaves you not only with money in your pocket but with thefeeling of accomplishment and the joy of a hard days work. The pleasure ofgreat company and the pleasure of working in the great outdoors.

My first experience in seasonal work was at a vineyard justSouth of Auckland in a tiny town called Whitford. I lived in a small house witha group of other travellers where we shared our stories, our food and a lot ofwine! We did that at night that is...during the day we worked.

The work the first day involved picking the grapes andloading them onto a truck that would later that day be delivered all the waydown to Napier. Since I had worked on a farm growing up and had some experiencedriving four wheelers, I got the enviable job of riding around on the quad andbringing the grapes from the vineyard to the truck. It sounds like fun and attimes it was great to ride around with the cool breeze cooling me off from theheat of a mid-March day in Auckland but it was also the hardest job of the day.I had to pick up hundreds and hundreds of baskets of grapes thatweighed...enough to be a workout...and load them onto the quad trailer theneventually into the big rig truck. Needless to say, I got some good muscles inthe two weeks I was there.

Aside from picking we had to walk through the rows early inthe morning and scare out the birds that had settled to eat the fruitovernight. Sounds easy but with the dew on the nets and our heads scraping thesoaked fabric, we would be soaked within minutes of "bird scaring".Banging sticks together and screaming at the top of my lungs at 8am made for aninteresting start to the day but it just added to the surreal experience of theseasonal job of grape picking.

The hardest job we did...and the hardest job Ive everdone...was riding on the back of a tractor and pulling in the nets to thesemassive burlap sacks that were big enough to fit half a dozen full grown meninside with space to spare. The wet nets stretched across five rows of grapesmade for quite the workout while pulling it in and I swear I couldnt feel myarms for the rest of the day. Again though, it was an incredible workout and bythe end of the day I had a feeling of exhausted accomplishment that is justincomparable to anything else.

The early mornings in the crisp, fresh morning air, the sunbaked afternoons followed by a night of relaxation and wine made it anunforgettable experience in the fields of New Zealand.

If you want to work in the Gods good land, experience andlearn about the culture and industry of organic food or just need some money,this is a great opportunity!

So put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and getout and involved in seasonal work in the spectacular country that is NewZealand!

by Kevin Gillikin
27/05/2014 12:50:33 AM

Kevin Gillikin put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there

The beginning of April in New Zealand is not supposed to be windy,cold and wet. At least this was what I thought it was supposed to bewhen I booked my flight from Singapore to Christchurch in the climatecontrolled comfort of my office in the CBD area of Singapore. Assumption number1 of 3929384, one made by a naive citizen of year long hot, humid and sunnySingapore with its remarkably predictable and unchangeable weather, wasrudely smashed as I exited Christchurch Airport.

A light drizzle. Some wind.Chilly air.

“ Brilliant, nice light drizzle”, I thought, as I slipped my fleecejacket on top of my hoodie and waited for my bus. Welcome to New Zealand.

Weather Lesson Number 1.1 for anynatives from sunnier climes (like me): New Zealand’s weather is unbelievablyunpredictable and changeable. Be prepared. Layers layers layers - Waterproofjacket / pants, fleece, shirt, base layer / thermals, gloves, beanie, hat,sunglasses, sun block cream.

You might be wondering why I wrote Lesson Number 1.1 above. That’sbecause there were (and I’m sure are) many lessons learnt so far. LOL –Laugh Out Loud for the uninitiated and used in this context to take the pissout of myself.

As I sat in the relatively warm environs of the bus, I assumed thatthe light drizzle would surely peter out fairly soon. That would not be anunfair assumption to make in the context of Singapore. A light drizzle inSingapore usually abates after roughly half an hour to two hours. Nope. Not inChristchurch, New Zealand. I got off the bus to a rather heavier drizzle, justenough to wet all the backpacks and bags I was carrying and necessitating atroublesome extraction of the rain jacket. As you can see, I like makingassumptions and I’m stubborn in that I don’t quite learn my lesson when I’mproven wrong.

Weather Lesson Number 1.2 : Have yourlayers packed accessibly. Common sense.

THE first seasonal job:Excitement, trepidation, happiness

Finding my first seasonal job was surprisingly easy. In this day andage, 21st century Google Facebook internet age and all that,obviously the most convenient way of looking for a job is through the Internet.Some of the websites I used and still use regularly are:

Internet Tip Number 1: Use a mobilephone or tablet to access online websites in New Zealand. Why? Because, instark contrast to the rest of the world (I think?), hostels here do not havefree unlimited wifi. The hostels generally restrict usage to a measly 200MB orless, or none at all, in the price of accommodation. So you either paylots or use your ration up within an hour if you’re on a laptop. Personally, Ihave no issues doing most of my internet surfing and searching on my rathersmall old and reliable (touch wood!) Samsung S2 and found that I never exceededthe measly limit. My roommates who were using their laptops busted their limitsall the time. Use your smartphone to limit data consumption. Presumably,mobile friendly sites are less data intensive and more navigation friendly forsmartphone users.

As I came to New Zealand specifically to look for jobs that wouldinvolve working outdoors, that certainly affected the type of work that I considerviable. It seems like 95% of young children in New Zealand are looked after by aupairs ie. nannies of foreign origin with questionable suitability.JOKING.

I managed to find a grape picking job through the job search boardslisted above within a week of arriving. From what I gather, April is the middleto end of the grape harvesting season around the South Island and so there weresome jobs of that sort around. Fortunately for me, the job description matchedmy dream job – working on a vineyard outdoors in the beautiful autumn sunshinein wine country. Paradise on earth. Ah,the naivete of youth. Or rather, of a tropical city boy.

I arrived just before 8 am at the vineyard in Waipara Valley, aboutan hour’s drive north of Christchurch, and found a fair few backpacker lookingtypes waiting around for something. They were all dressed remarkablydifferently and yet all seemed the same. Odd isn’t it? Shortly thereafter, wewere given brief instructions on what needed to be done, ie. snipping bunches ofgrapes off the vines, and led on a short invigorating walk up and over a damnsteep hill.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, cows were lowing in thedistance, there was a random dog making his energetic and excited roundsamongst all the pickers, I was warm – a rather rare occurrence considering thatit was raining every darn day in Christchurch in the past week. As for thework, it was repetitive but satisfying. Start on a row of vines, check eachbunch of grapes for the colour (eg. Black for pinot noir grapes), snip, toss inbucket, move on to the next bunch. Repeat x 1000. Eat some grapes occasionallyif you so desire. I loved it.

Apart from the work, which was simple and relaxing, it was wonderfulmeeting people from around the world and getting to know them, even if only fora little bit. I know it’s clichéd, I know it’s overused, but the reality isthat all of these wonderful and engagingpeople are likeminded individuals. Why else would you be in New Zealand? Andthis makes for great conversations and bloody good yarns.

Back to the grape picking – needless to say, this first day was anamazing experience for me seeing as I come from a tropical tiny islandcity-state with a population of 6 million and no vineyards. Couple that with aprevious job which required no physical effort whatsoever apart from typing,talking, making telephone calls and enduring 12 hour days, and you have arecipe for – happiness! Firstly, I could understand how importance (obviously)the grape picking process is to the final product to be made from them –hopefully good wines. The satisfaction of seeing rows of vines picked clear wasalso tremendous as each day there was tangible and visible progress. Inaddition, there is an element of team effort and working with a group of peopletowards a common goal. That requires no explanation surely. You also get to learn so much from thepermanent staff on the vineyards, who were, certainly in Waipara, extremelygenerous and friendly and always more than willing to share their knowledgeabout everything and anything to do with wine, winemaking, vineyard work,grapes and ... the weather! And when the weather is great, just taking a momentto look up and around does wonders.

In my mind I see the rolling hills of Waipara extending out into thedistance, a patchwork of pine trees and regular tidy squares of farmland, amyriad of greens under the sunshine and clouds, imagine a tiny breeze on yourcheek and the crisp pure air with every breath. The smells are not overpoweringbut gentle – the softly fermenting odour of grape juice on your gloves, theanimal smell on the breeze and the earthy full whiffs of soil and mudcomplement the stunning landscape. Imagine the sticky feel of grape juice onyour fingers, the taste of perfectly ripe black pinot noir grapes that leave ateasing suggestion of the wine to come and the chirping of birds in thebackground.

It was an amazing experience under the hot and welcome golden sun.But what was it like in the unceasing rain? I’ll let you know when I get downto writing about that soon!

I’m still travelling and working around the South Island. Can’tbelieve it has only been getting more amazing. Still loving it no matter theweather!

by Jian Xi Teng
27/05/2014 12:36:19 AM


What isThe Gorilla Hut? That was not the first question. We were just looking forwork, and decided to follow a lead provided by Peter’s and Julia’s cousin, aguy who had been there for three months a year before us. We exchanged a coupleof texts with this Damon person and he said he had arranged with an orchard forus to do some apple picking. The only thing we knew is that we had to take the “Tamahere”exit in between Cambridge and Hamilton. Stillthere we went!

We arrivedat that time of the day when the sun casts no shadows. The backpackers signmeant nothing to the junkyard where a collection of what seemed abandoned vansand cars rested, lifeless, at sight. We got off our vehicle and a blacklabrador greeted us and started walking towards a shed. Being that it seemedthe only reception we were meant to receive I followed him and we went througha door hidden in between two vans. There was a hallway, and to the right aprecarious bathroom with a shower and two toilets. And suddenly I was inside.The what question arose at that very moment. For the several “extirpated” carseats arranged in a semicircular fashion around a small wooden table put imaginationat task, but not more than the eight hundred stuffed monkeys hanging from theroof and clinging to the walls. There was also a bar, guitars, a drumkit, lotsof DVD’s, a pool table and a table tennis table, bicycles, boots, a bow, afridge, lots of empty beer bottles, and lots of interesting things just layinghere or there. Behind me, above the door frame, the wall was painted and aninscription said: “The Gorilla Hut.”

I heardsome chattering behind a plastic courtain. English accent. I went through itand there were two guys dressed in cakis and workboots: “Damon’s not home rightnow, but he knew you’ll be arriving any moment. So he should be back soon. Justget yourself comfortable mate.” And so we waited, but not for long because acouple of minutes later we heard a car parking outside.

The man,in his forties, walked towards us with a smile in his face and a big hand to beshaken. He showed us around and then took us through a field where a cow grazedpeacefully and some piglets were feeding. We arrived then to the farm house. Itwas the place where everyone gathered to have dinner, a meal that Damon caredto cook every day, and also where we chose to sleep.

The housereflected the spirit of The Gorilla Hut. One could say it was messy, or even dirty,or that the owner had no respect whatsoever for order. It was what hell wouldlook like for your mother. But I prefer the word chaotic. Chaos is what humanstry to seize, try to control, it is also what we fear. We love to impose anorder into a world we believe to be ours. We build monstrous cities where wefeel protected and things make sense, we put names on things, we believe thatthere is a place and a purpose for everything.

So whenyou arrive in The Gorilla Hut, you feel something quite different. And you geta reminder that sometimes is better to “Let the chips fall where they may.”Sometimes you have to abandon yourself to the situation and enjoy the ride.

The applepicking work was not good. They paid $32 per bin and in one day you were luckyto fill two of those. The heat was overwhelming because of the drought. Andlast but not least, in apple picking it’s more difficult to talk to someco-worker since you take care of a row of trees and are constantly climbing upand down the ladder searching for the god forbidden fruits.

But nonetheless we choseto stay, because we had the chance to be in one amazing place.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (11)

by Germán Distel
26/05/2013 11:28:02 PM

Germán Distel The Gorilla Hut

If you consider to go after the big money in sales, keep reading a bit more before you jump into the "shark pool"(cause salesmen are sharks!).
I worked in sales in NZ for 3 months, and trust me thats a bumpy road. If youre looking for the easy money and the good time, roll of bed and wake up from the dream world.
Sales is a practice that requires lost of training, motivation to succeed and most important, time and experience.
Some people born with the gift to sale "ice to Eskimos" and some need a bit more practice. Usually the best drive to improve comes from the "hunger" for money. When you work on commission it means: "the more you sale, the more you earn", simple as that.
In most sales jobs you can have a really bad week and in one day to make big sales that will balance the all week. Some days you can sale nothing all day long and in less than half hour to make some sales that will cover the all day. Its a tricky job, so you need to know how to keep your head up in the hard moments. And trust me, youll have plenty of those.
The first lesson in sales is to understand that no one got up in the morning and thought to buy your product, it is your job to make the costumer stop and check out your products and hear about them, and eventually make him purchase it.
The second lesson is to learn how to handle rejection, youll hear the word "No" many times a day, and thats ok. Youll never have 100% success rate, no one has. In most sales jobs you work on a mass of people, so the more people that youll get interested in your products- the more youll sale and basically the more money youll make.
Usually the first week or two are the toughest weeks, especially for the inexperienced ones, cause it takes time to learn how to sale the specific product and to get to know the work environment. The best tip here, is to look at the veteran salesmen and learn from them. They are doing it for a while, so they probably knows what therere doing. Remember that a good salesman can sale anything anywhere, but it always good to learn new tricks.
To sum things up, sales is probably one the best jobs if you want the "big money". But it is not for anybody and it takes usually a bit of time till you start to earn the big bucks. The statistics for oversea travelers is rough, from 5 people that will go to sales job-only 1 will succeed and most of the others will fail. So before you apply to sales job, think carefully if youre up for it.
From my experience it can be a rough job but also fun and very profitable.
Good luck

by Rb
13/05/2013 11:03:26 PM

Rb Working in sales in NZ

Ever since I had applied for working holiday new zealand, my friend been asking me what are you going to do in new Zealand. I always kidding and say apple picking of course. And who knew, I did get a job as an apple picker. And the nightmare begin. Just kidding. I meant seriously, the nightmare begin.

Provide you some background of me. Im an Asian guy with a relative small body and low stamina. And you can bet that apple picking is a extremely hardwork for me.

I got the job when I saw the job posting in working holiday new Zealand group in Facebook. So I contact the person and they say there is apple pocket available in Motueka. So I say why not and drive down to Motueka for the job.

First I thought apple picking, how hard can it be. Little did I knew that, it was hell for me. The shoulder bag is obviously too hard for me. And I took a long time to fill in the whole bin. On a great day, I might get 4 bins per days. But if rainy day, I will probably only get a 2 bins.

One bin of the apple most probably worth nzd 25 after tax. In most of the week, I might not even able to pick enough to make a considerable profit. Then, you have to face the sore back everyday result from carrying the heavy shoulder bag.

Knowing that I cant never make enough to support the travelling that Im planning to do, I quit after one month.

Tips for apple picker? You got to have the determination, motivation and constant stamina throughout the days to make it in this career. Lol. Its an unique experience that I might or might not miss. Good luck future apple picker.

by Lai Sem Min
13/05/2013 10:56:02 PM

Lai Sem Min Life as an apple picker

Hello ladies and gentleman,

here is my story of the summer. My name is Philipp, Im from Germany and travel through this beautiful country, like every other ordinary german around here.But maybe, my story is not thatordinary, because Im 31 jears now and catched my last chance to get this work and travel visa, to explore your country and...of course, myself, as well. My journey of the first 6weeks in NZ took me through the Northern Island directly to Marahau, where I found my first kiwi work experience. When Iarrived in Marahau, the gate to the wonderful Abel Tasman national park, my plan was, to visit a friend of mine, who I know from germany and who spended 3 weeks over chrismas with his family in his hometown.But itshould also become my hometown for the following 4 month, because Iwas running out of money, when I passed the sign "MARAHAU" at the entrance of the town with my tiny car. Many people in germany told me about the nice work conditions in NZ and how easy it is, to get a job. So i did, what i like the most: I walked through town from door to door and askedthe locals and the companies for a job, face to face.Inmy first try, I got in a place, where a local Couple leased tiny comfortable chalets to the tourists. Cleaning up was the challenge, but I was not fastand fuzzy enough, for the matter that its not my favourite hobby, to clean up, I guess. So, I asked at the kajak company, because I heard aboutthat they often look for people, who wash the kajaks when they come back from their trips along the coastline of the abel tasman. Fully strike! They looked for somebody and so Ijoined the team of coordinators, guides, boat-fixers and many more emplyees with differenttasks. They all were very friendly and welcomed me warmly. In the first days, I perfected my skills in using a hose to clean lots of boats in minimum time and to understand the special slang of the kiwi-english. The latter was supplemented by my colleague, who risedthe challenge of understandingenglish with her UK accent. We had a lot of fun and jokedabout the different behabits of our nationalities. For the first time, Irealizedhow much german Iam, compared to the german stereotypethat is in the imagination of other nations. Thethoroughly german, that I never felt to be in my homecountry. The guides always had exiting and funny stories to tell, when they came back from their trips with people from all over the world, where they hadseenseals and sailed with the wind across the rough sea. For a long time, Ionly listened to this stories but had never the time to expierience my own adventure out in the wild nature of the abel tasman sea. Until the day, when I joined a guided one-day-trip wit an experienced feller, who was actually the founder of the first kajak-company in marahau and, by choice, the father of my friend. when he arrived in marahau 27 years ago from germany, nobody hadexpected, that sea-kajaking would become so popular in that little town. Today, he is the wittiest and most professional fellow of the whole company and leads the people with charme and sense for the realexiting sights in his second home: the tasman sea. So, we were fighting together against the big waves to appeletree bay, where we had our first break. After that, we paddeled along the coastline of adele island, listening to the native birds singing, exploringdark caves and watchingthe seals, who were hanging outlazy in the sun. We paddeled into remote bays and had lunch at the beach. At the end, we finished this amazing sunny day with a sailing into anchorage bay and got back to marahau in high speed with the watertaxi. When Iturned back to the company, I finallyknew,what the guides were talking about, when they reported from their experiences. So, I spended nearly the whole summer with all that nice people, fixed the boates or helped out with driving vans and picking up boats from the beach. Their was always music in our workplace, we enjoied the leftover food together or had a beer and witty conversations or crazy, freaked out partys after work. And their was always that carefree spirit, that connected all the lovley peole, working in thecompany. I finished my work there end of march inan amazing dress-up party, where I was floating alast time through the awesome spirit of this summer, dressed with paddle-wings and sun-glasses, that looked like fly eyes. The farewell was hard, but I will return to Marahau one day, to light up this one-off summer in my memory again, when I see my friends and old workplace again. But what i definitely will take home with me is that free foodloose warmth spirit, that the kiwi lifestyle teached me. Its not all about earning money, its much more about spending a good time in nice company of openminded peope, who just enjoy life, like it comes. Thanks for that. This was my story. Hope, you enjoied it. Have an amazinglifetime.

by Philipp Schulz
5/05/2013 5:05:27 PM

Philipp Schulz Marahau

After 3 months of happy traveling on the south island i had pretty much run out of money and was eager to find a job. i went straight to Blenheim because a lot of people had told me that there were a lot of opportunities at vinyards there. After about two days of asking around and searching the internet one job (which i found on seasonaljobs) in particular caught my eye. it was a live in possition on a family-run vinyard, named isabel vinyard, near Renwick just east of Blenheim. i called the number and 2 hours later i was picked up and drove straight to my new job!
After 5 weeks of work i can now say that it is one of the best experiences ive had in New Zealand. The people here realy try to make you a part of the team and have a realy relaxing attitude. Whenever we want to go to town for weekly shoppings we can just use one of the cars without paying anything. And the great thing about working on a vinyard is the abundance of wine. Every end of the week we go to cellar and get some free half empty left over bottles, people didnt finish at winetastings. So theres plenty of fun in the weekends.
The work itself consists of hanging nets over the vines to protect them from birds and clipping them together. its hard work because you are bending down for about 9 hours a day, but in the mean time you can talk with eachother and fantasize on what youll be doing with all the money youre making. Another more exiting part of the job is bird scaring. That doesnt mean having to stand around in a field with a rake looking angry all the time, but driving through the plants on a fourwheeler 30 miles an hour. it really gives you a kick, speeding through the fields in the sun with cloudy mountains in the distance (and getting payed for it!).
We live in a lodge on the vinyard itself for a small fee which is deducted from our salary. At the other end of the vinyard is another house where all the woofers live. A couple of times a week we get together to watch a movie or enjoy a glass of well deserved homegrown Sauvignon Blanc. its a really cool atmosphere meeting new people every week, sharing travel experiences and tips on where to go next.
Pretty soon harvest is starting which according to the people here is the best time of the year. So ill be sticking around for a while, not having the feeling im working but just having a great time!

by Gosse Verschoor
25/03/2013 8:51:56 PM

Gosse Verschoor hanging nets at isabel vinyard

When we arrived in New Zealand last September, we wanted to get out of the city (Auckland) and see the real New Zealand, so when we saw an advertisem*nt saying "farm stay, kiwi family, must love animals" we knew we had found the job for us.

When we called about the job it must of been fate as the job had been filled already but the couple dropped out just 5 minutes before the phonecall, so off to Whakatane we were.

So after 6 hours of travelling down from Auckland, including running around Rotorua in torrential rain looking for a present for our hosts, we finally arrived at the farm and were greated by 3 very friendly labradors and a host of newly born calves.

Following an evening of getting to know the family and a great roast dinner, we were sent to work bright and early the following morning, and I was in for a little suprise. A little nervous at the start I began moving along the row milking, the 3rd cow along decided to give me a little welcome to farming all over my head, by this point I knew what I had let myself in for but ahh well all I could do was laugh.

Now I am not going to account for every day of the 6 weeks we spent on the farm so I thought I would list some of our favourite funny and most memorable moments whilst in Whakatane.

1. 3 Little pigs- Half way through our stay at the farm, 3 little pigs arrived in potato sacks and we quickly became very attached to them. One of our first experiences with these cheeky animals was chasing one of them on the first day around the farm after it somehow managed to escape, and let me tell you one thing pigs can run, and I mean run. Despite the difficult start, the pigs beacame firm favourite and in the end we managed to teach them their names and make them sit for the favourite food, strangely oranges.

2. Family holiday- one of the highlights of our stay at the farm was being invited on a camping holiday to Bowentown with our host family and their children and grandchildren, we were really made to feel part of the family with barbaques, hungis (a moari way of cooking involving stones and an underground pit, however in this case a beer barrell was used) and fishing trips. This was one of the main reasons that we would recommend staying with a kiwi family whilst on a working holiday, you are geniunally made to feel a part of the family.

3. The escaped cow- So for the first time the farmer had trusted us with bring in the newly born calf and its mother. At first everything seemed to be going supprinsgly well, with our quad biking skills helping us to round the mother and bring her down towards her new padock. However cow 165 as she was known had other ideas and decided to jump over the electric fence and start heading down towards the road. Myself in a state of panic decided to chase after the cow (BAD IDEA!!!!), the cow just began to run faster and faster (and like the pigs she could move), so my next move was to slide under and electric fence and try and catch the cow without her noticing. However as this was happening, I turned and noticed the farmers car coming up the drive (perfect timing there Peter). Luckily the cow slowed down before she caused a major traffic accident and all was well

This has definaltly been the highlight of our trip so far.

by Alexander Hannay
5/02/2013 3:54:09 AM

Alexander Hannay Farm stay

It was the summer of 2010-2011, the sun was shining pretty much everyday here in New Zealand, leading me to finding a seasonal job at a berry farm in the Bay of Plenty. I usually reside in Auckland but spent the majority of my summer down in the BOP as I have relatives who lived in the area that I was staying with. Of course living down in the BOP, I had to make the most of the beautiful weather with the temperature exceeding 25 degrees pretty much everyday by finding a seasonal job that was outdoors. I did not like the idea of working inside as I am a true outdoorsy 18 year old, so by finding a job at a berry farm was the perfect scenario for me.

Waking up everyday around 6am to travel to the berry farm (which was about a half hour drive from my relatives house) was a tough job as I am not a morning person but as time went on it became OK as I was excited for the day ahead. Picking berries in cloudless blue sky scorching NZ weather was a treat in my eyes and being paid to do so was amazing. The owners of the farm were laid back kiwis who welcomed tourists to their berry farm to indulge in several berry treats such as mixed berry ice-cream, smoothies or just the berries by themselves. I made several friends whilst picking berries at the farm to this day I keep in touch with. Spending hours on end with the same people picking berries and making berry ice-cream etc. meant that you really got to know the people you worked with. Id advise any tourists coming to NZ looking for a job to pick one where youre likely to make life-long friends, such as working at a berry farm.

Every so often we were allowed to bring home a punnet or two of berries home with us which Id take back to my relatives house and we would make berry smoothies on hot days when I was not working. I gained so many useful skills from working at the berry farm as it did not just involve picking berries. We had to run the ice-cream machine, make smoothies and occasionally operate the quad bike. Of course being a berry farm, many Kiwis/tourists would stop past, meaning that I was able to meet many new people, hearing about where they came from, what they were doing in NZ, just plenty of really interesting stories.

For any people travelling to NZ or kiwis looking for a seasonal job I would definitely recommend that you get one as I would honestly say it has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I got paid for it! Living the Kiwi dream! I intend to return to the berry farm to work again one summer as it truly was one of the best summers Ive had here in NZ. I know that when I travel abroad I am definitely going to find a seasonal job due to the many positives that I got out of working at one here in beautiful New Zealand.

by Beau Thoresen
18/12/2012 2:13:56 AM

Beau Thoresen Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making

My Trip to New Zealand started on the 14th of August 2012, from Frankfurt (Germany), over Dubai (stopover for one night) and Sydney, with arrival in Christchurch on the 17th of August 2012.

After a few days staying in Christchurch, I began searching for a seasonal job in the South Island. I read that there was a company looking for vineyard workers in Blenheim. After reading this, I contacted them and got the good news that I could start there straight away. The manager told me the address of the accommodation, where I was required to stay during this time. The next day i drove from Christchurch to Blenheim. When i arrived at the accommodation I was given a phone number I had to call, after doing so I was informed that I would be picked up at 6:45am.

On the next day they picked me up one time at 6:45 with a van and some other workers drove with us. After a half hour journey, I arrived at my new working place. At first I had to fill out a form with my details and sign the contract. After that I could start working. My job was "stripping". The work was very hard, but the time passed quickly. It was also good because the colleagues were all very friendly and funny. At the weekend we drank some beer with our colleagues at the hostel. It was a great time there.

A week and a half later, I got disappointing news. In the evening at 9:30pm, our driver came into our room and said that my roommate and I should contact the boss, because there was no space in the van for us. After writing to the boss, we were informed that we were fired because we were all too slow. We were all angry and disappointed, because he didn’t notify us personally. So the work ended sooner than expected.

The next shock hit me a few days later when I checked my balance. So I got on the second working week with much less salary than promised.

I immediately wrote the boss, who assured me then that I would get the money the next day. On the next day the money still wasnt there. I wrote three times, and each time the boss gave the same empty promises. After many unanswered messages I finally gave the ultimatum that I would contact the Department of Labour. After this, I immediately got a message promising me the money. The next day, this was the case, but I didn’t receive all of it. So I contacted him again. After several unanswered messages I told him I would go to the Department of Labour again. After that i got the answer that he will transfer the money as soon as possible.

The next day, the money, a week and a half late, finally transferred into my account. I was not the only one who had this problem.

by Christoph Zeuch
25/11/2012 9:54:44 PM

Christoph Zeuch Vineyard Work in Blenheim

After working 3½ months in the horticulture field, I thought it’s time for me to try something else in New Zealand. Well, at least something that I might not need to get in touch with the plants this time. Hence, I started browsing through the internet on all the seasonal jobs websites, like what the others will usually do when they need to hunt for a job, hoping that I might have some luck.
After 3 days of hunting, I saw a posting titled ‘Milkman’ on one of the websites. Immediately it has caught my attention. I picked up my phone and dialed the number of the contact person, and lucky enough, he scheduled an interview.
10.30am the next day, I went to meet Liam, my interviewer. He explained to me the role of a milkman, and basically, the job is to go door to door in the neighborhood and try to just sell some milk. It sounds really fun after listening to it and I decided to give it a go, after all I’d been a pharmaceutical representative for 3 years and I believe I can handle this.
Feeling all excited for my first day of work. We go as a team of 8 ‘Milkman’, all from different part of the world. We’re assigned with 40 houses in a day, and our target is to sign up at least 4 customers for the milk delivery service each day. The first door that I knock on was horrible. The lady probably didn’t understand what I’m trying to sell to her because I practically stuttered over my lines and I was talking with the speed of a rocket. I was panic. Obviously she didn’t register any with me. I continue to knock on the next door and try to keep myself motivated. After several calls, my lines got better and I was able to generate some interest in my customers. Ended my first day with one sale, which earn me 30 dollar of commission. Not too bad!
It’s my second week being as a milkman and I’m still feeling excited being as one. It’s really a lovely feeling when people tell you stories about how the milkman used to deliver milk to their doorstep every morning in the past, and how they appreciate us bringing back the culture once again. It makes them nostalgic. Once in a while we’ll be invited into our customer’s house as well, simply because detailing outside of the door during winter time is too cold. It’s so warm and comfortable with the firewood burning inside, and sometime it makes me feel reluctant to go out of the house.
Definitely we have our bad days as well, such as not getting sales at all in the day, or when it’s pouring outside and we’re still required to go door knocking. However, it’s a different and awesome experience. It gives me the opportunity to understand the Kiwi’s culture more. Besides, it also helps me to strengthen my communication and interpersonal skills. I’m really glad that I have this job and I embrace the experience that I’ve been through.

by Camy Chew
4/08/2012 12:00:46 AM

Camy Chew Working As A "Milkman"

If one year ago somebody had said that I would be working with kids -and enjoining it madly- nobody will have believed it. But I spent the last four month working as an au-pair and I am sure that this job gave me the opportunity of understanding the kiwi culture better than any other job I could have taken, plus giving me a lot of knowledge about children -something useful If one day I decide to be a mother.
I am a journalist and after five years writing for a magazine in my home country, Uruguay, I decided to take one gap year just to travel, find new experiences and write about them in my blog (
Our home tongue is Spanish, so I thought that the ideal was to choose a country were English were the language spoken -this is the language I use when I interview international artists, so improving my vocabulary and pronunciation would be something very useful for my job. Lots of friends recommended me to come to New Zealand. Every year 200 Uruguayan citizens between 18 and 35 years get a New Zealand `s working holiday visa, and in 2011 I turned in one of this lucky ones.
To avoid the temptation of talking all the time in Spanish I decided to live with a kiwi family instead of moving with Uruguayan and Argentinian friends. This would be, I told myself, a short-cut in my immersion inside the kiwi culture and habits. There are several ways of finding a native family to be your hosts -small bed & breakfast, for example- but I decided that being an “au-pair” (a nanny that lives inside the house) was the most accurate for the purpose of my travel, because it was going to give me the extra benefit of talking continuously in English with this children -and also being able to teach them some Spanish. Furthermore, the experience was also making me able to save the money of the rent and food, and also earn a little bit that I could use for traveling around the country (I spent it at weekend trips to Coromandel, Taupo, Tauranga, Roturua and Wellington, plus a ten days vacation at South Island)
There are several websites specialized in nannys or au-pairs in New Zealand, like,,,,, and many other else -if you write “au pair” in Google you will see a lot of sites. But I already had an Argentinian friend living in Auckland before I arrived to New Zealand, and she put me trow a kiwi women who has looking for an au-pair for their two kids.
I must confess that when I started this job (March 2012) I didn´t know even how to change a nappy. I don´t have kids nor nephews -I am the elder one of three sisters- so my knowledge of kids was very little. They were like ET to me!
The first time I put one of them “Time out” -this is the way we call when they are going to have punishment for bad behavior or “being naughty”- he said to me: “I don´t like you”. It was very hard for me to hear that, being as I was so far from my home and my family, but the mother then said me to don´t worry about that and carry on. Actually she thought me so much about kids in the four months I worked for them, that I am sure that if one day I become a mother I will owe her a lot. Maybe it contributed the fact that she herself had been an au-pair ten years ago, in a winter she spend in Switzerland. She also lend-me all her snow equipment during the week that I took off to go to South Island and ski in Queenstown, and she also offered me her van to use whenever I want -but I don´t drive so I never used it.
And I can´t explain you how happy I felt the first time one of the kids said to me: “I love you”. Far away from home and my beloved sisters, this two kids were somehow my family, so the sweet words of the boy -and the smiles and cuddles of the one year old girl- were the things that made my days. I learn how important is for them to see you strong but sweet, happy but firm. Because everything is simple when you are playing with songs, making castles with Lego or reading stories, but it is not so enjoyable when you have to teach them to share the toys, to not hit each other, to wait their turn for something. It is not easy because they will never say “Oh yes you are right”. Of course not: they will complain, shout and cry. And you need to show them that you are the boss. That you are in charge. And actually this is good for them, not only because they will learn manners, but also because they will feel safe.
Being a nanny also gave me the opportunity to visit parks, museums, streets and do plenty of activities -the parents gave me lots of freedom around the city, the only requisite was, of course, that the activity was interesting for the kids. During several activities I meet some girls -nannys and babysitters most of them- that are now great friends for me. Being a nanny is a common occupation for teenagers and university students, mostly because it is perfectly compatible with studding and also because it is very enjoyable -if you like kids, of course.
I have a bachelor degree in Social Communication, and wile I was working as an au-pair I also started developing the Social Media of Edcorp, an international consulting firm specialized in Education in New Zealand. I was also giving some lessons of Spanish as a private tutor, writing free lance articles of tourism to Spanish and Latin America media, and updating my blog as frequently as I can (the blog is in Spanish, but you can find lots of pictures taken by me in this four months around New Zealand)
At the beginning I was able to all this activities at the same time, but four months before starting I decided that it was the moment for a change. Even though the experience was great, I wanted my own flat in order of having more independence. And I was also craving for new experiences. So I give the job for one of my Uruguayan friends -she is a kindergarten teacher so she was thrilled with the offer-, I took more hours at the office and I also assumed a new challenge: being the barman of a very gourmet restaurant. Before coming to New Zealand I studied how to be a bartender at co*cktail Club Uruguay (*, one of the most prestiguious schools of my country, but I have no experience, so it is quite a challenge. I will write about this new job in a couple of months, in my next post.
Carina Fossati

by Carina Fossati
2/08/2012 9:32:19 PM

Carina Fossati Being an au-pair

I was working in Hastings, picking apples. It was a very hard job, carry all day long a basket full of apples and a ladder, climb it to reach the top of the trees, I was more than exhausted every night. Sunny Hawkes Bay wasn’t sunny at all, apples were tiny and full of diseases, the bins were hard to fill, I wasn’t saving money at all.
At this stage, after 5 months in New-Zealand, I was running out of money so I was about to go back home, ending my trip without having seen the south island. And one day, I saw an ad of Seasonal Solutions on Facebook for grape harvesting in Central Otago. I’d already harvested grapes before, in France it’s very popular and very nice. I thought it could be a good experience that would give me the opportunity to visit a little bit the south island and maybe save a bit of money. So I put my stuffs in the rear of my car, took the road and 3 days later, I was in Cromwell, harvesting grapes under the sunshine, surrounded by the beautiful mountains and this amazing blue river, it was like paradise. I worked for Grape Vision, a local contractor, if one day you’ve got the opportunity to work for them, go for it, it’s one of the best. I had an amazing manager, the one who make you feel very good at what you are doing and unique. They paid us more than the minimum wage and than the others contractors around, they gave us gloves to protect our fingers and provided something to eat every morning’s smoko. And we had a ending party with a meal and drinks ! The job was pretty easy as the vines are higher here than in France and the people, mostly backpackers from everywhere like me but some local as well, were very friendly. We were working all together in four or six rows every day, we could chat and pick at the same time. I worked 3 weeks without a day off, it was a little tough but I did it and it was worth it, it was good money.
It was one of my best experience in New Zealand, I warmly recommend to anyone who likes working outdoor to try it.

by Anne-Flore Grandsire
2/08/2012 9:24:42 PM

Anne-Flore Grandsire Grape harvesting in Central Otago

Whenever you start planning a trip to New Zealand, and when I say a trip I mean a “one year trip on a working holiday visa to the most isolated country in the entire world”, you don’t realize what adventure means till you arrive at the airport in Auckland. Nobody is waiting for you, you have a backpack that weighs half your weight and a customs guy is making you explain what is that Argentinian infusion you are bringing with you. You don’t even realize at that moment that you are putting yourself into the most adventurous year of your life. And I’m not just talking about swimming with sharks, jumping from the highest tower or driving the most dangerous road. Definitely not (even tough you can also do all of that in this country). I’m specifically talking about saying goodbye to your family (and not see you tomorrow) leaving all your friends and safety places like your home and your job, getting on a plane for more tan 15 hours, traveling approximately 12000km to a country you barely know about, landing right in the other side of the world without the slightness idea of what’s going to happen from the very first day, and still… getting on that plane and saying goodbye.
It’s been six months since we arrived in the greenest country I’ve ever visited and in early February we started one of many “adventurous trips” when you only know the beginning but never even imagine the ending.
(By this time you must have realised that I’m not travelling on my own but still I like to create sort of a mysterious atmosphere)
After spending two fabulous months at Mount Maunganui working on the beach, literally on the beach (cleaning the oil from the Rena spill) we decided to keep on travelling and move on (well, we, our employers, who cares?) We had no idea where to go, so we decided to visit a friend we made during the first months of our “one year trip on a working holiday visa to the most isolated country in the entire world”, who was at that moment living in a farm in the middle of nowhere. Just what we needed.
So, once again we said goodbye, now to our lovely flatmates, packed all our stuff put some petrol in our car (the kiwi movil from now on) and started our first road tripping (yeah! If you sing it, do it aloud! Road tripping. Yeah!)
I couldn’t sleep the two nights before the road tripping and that’s not because I had conjunctivitis (for god sake!) It was only for the simple reason that that was going to be the first time I was driving in the high way, in my own car with a map and a co-pilot as the only witnesses. Yes, I have to admit it. I got my International driver license just a few days before coming to New Zealand and even tough I drove a lot in the city I had never ever driven in the high way before I arrived to New Zealand (and, for my delightful, I found out that I’m a really good driver)
So, a few hours later, my nerves a little confused by the up-side downs and more than 500 km driven non-stop, we got to Russell, the first New Zealand capital (a long time ago) and one of the most peaceful and beautiful places we’ve been in New Zealand so far. Our friend was waiting for us in her new home, she hadn’t made cookies or a big dinner but a bed and good shower was enough. We decided to rest and wait till the next morning to go to town, celebrate our friend’s birthday and see what Russell was like (yes, I know that I’ve already said that is one most beautiful towns in NZ but at that time we were about to find it out)
The next morning we woke up early, had an empowering breakfast, took some fruits and drove straight to town. We spent only one hour hunging around the town till, by chance and without any expectation, we found a tiny little ad at the post office that claimed:

“We are looking for experienced, tidy and responsible people to
join our team. Please send us your CV or come to the hotel”

If my mother was told one year ago that I was going to be a housekeeper at a five star hotel in one of the spots towns surrounding the beaches of New Zealand, she would have laugh really loud and said ‘no way’. But there I was, two days after that miraculous morning, introducing myself to the incredible world of the bleach, the mop and the air freshener. Becoming a master of the vacuum cleaning and the ironing. Willing to know new products everyday and using them as a professional and experienced cleaner. Extremely tidy and organized. Dusting, polishing and moping. Becoming the bellboy, the service guy, the pool man and the manager’s hand. And, at last but not least, being a member of the funniest, coolest and most cheerful (and international) housekeeping team in the world!
Our job started on a Sunday, can you imagine starting a job on Sunday? That is hard working! And it was only the beginning of the hard working. We spent the following three months working a lot, I think that we only stopped to drink some tea and have some cookies, no I’m just kidding we worked a lot but, luckily, we also spent some time going to the beach, cooking, reading and having the good life but not for a long time because, even tough we never thought that we were going to stay for more tan a week in Russell, I myself, found a second job (and yes, my mum is still laughing and couldn’t believe I was working double!)
So here comes the description of one my typical double shifts days.
8.00 am. Alarm clock went off for the first time.
8.30 am. Alarm clock went off for the fourth time and I jumped out of the bed.
8.35 am. With my face and teeth cleaned, I started to make and have breakfast
9.00 am. Signing in at my first job (still a bit sleepy)
9.01 am to 3.30 pm. Cleaning, dusting, cleaning, moping, cleaning, vacuuming!!! Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!!!
3.30 pm to 4 pm. Quick shower, fast lunch and preparing myself for my second job
4 pm. Signing in at Sally’s Restaurant.
4.01 till late. Stocking the bar, making coffees and drinks, waiting, writing the specials on the board, helping in the kitchen, taking a ten minutes break, making the bills, counting tips, cleaning and closing the restaurant.
Late. Having dinner and some drinks at the restaurant, next to the Russell wharf, relaxing with my new friends (and the enigmatic someone that has been with me through all the trip) and having the best time of the day under the shining moon (unless it was raining. Then, it was only the restaurant’s roof)
Later (after late). Getting home in my Mercedes Benz, smoking a Cuban cigar, drinking my scotch on the rocks, listening to chill out music and taking a long bath. Oh no! I felt asleep again! Sorry! The last part of the day wasn’t that interesting so we’ll skip it.
Adventure means out of any convention for me so a fantastic summer spent in the unthinkable Russell, working with wonderful people, spectacular viewings and the best environment ever is an adventure itself without any doubt.
Our Working Holiday Visa Tour is still on, so buy your tickets. That was just the beginning.

by Juan Ignacio Murillo
6/06/2012 7:15:33 PM

Juan Ignacio Murillo Whenever

To begin with let me just say that it wasn’t easy finding a job in Mount Maunganui. But, as they say (even though I don’t know who “they”are), hope is the last thing you lose.
We arrive to New Zealand on the last days of November. Oh wait, I forgot. You don’t know who WE are. I’m Gonzalo, and I came to the kiwi centre of the universe with Juan from Argentina, the Dulce de leche centre of the universe. Now we can go on with my story. As I was saying, we arrived to New Zealand on the last days of November. We stayed in Auckland for two days and then moved to Mount Maunganui. It’s a 6 hours drive by bus with a short scale in Rotorua. The road to the Mount is quite amazing. You get to see beautiful prairies and mounts. One expects to see Heidi or the Von Trapp family coming down at one moment or the other. (They don’t, in case you were wondering).
So. We got to Mount Maunganui, and we were thrilled to see the place where we were going to live. I mean, you see the beach, you see the sea and a big mount at the end that sums it all up. How could one not be amazed by that?! Of course we were two, but the rule still applies. We stayed at a backpackers on one of the main roads but a bit aside from the city centre. Great place. And the very next day started looking for a job.
We couldn’t find anything. We went into every shop, motel, hotel, drive in. We even went into a tent, but that was just a mistake. Although the couple that was in did offer us some work! But I aint ironing no one clothes!! So we just kept on looking for a whole week. Now, for those of you who don’t know this… a week is made of seven days. And that brings you down. So we were ready to leave the mount, feeling defeated, when the girl who works at the backpackers said:
“Hey guys! I think I got a job for you!”
"Well take it!" we said fill with joyment.
So, she made a phone call and on we were into the bus all the way to Tauranga city. What a moment of happiness. We could already see ourselves with our pockets full of money, and our hearts filled with pride. But mostly with our pockets filled with money. Then again our pockets werent that big so it didnt need too much money to fill them. Anyway, we went to this employment office and told the receptionist that we were there for a job. The man asked us if we had a car. We said no. He said he didnt have any job for us.
Sad again.
But we werent going down without a fight! So we told the guy that we would get a car and come back the very next day. And we did. And we got the job. Now in order for you to understand what was it that we did, I need to tell you about a little disaster that happened on the New Zealand shores.
There was this big boat coming from I dont know where to I dont know where (not a long trip I suposse since both places have the same name) carrying a lot of stuff in it. And rumor has it that it was the captains birthday so everyone was drinking. You know how they say that you must not drink and drive? Well it seems that it also applies to driving big boats full of stuff. So the boat hit the rocks and the oil started to come out and float its way to the beaches. And our job, was to pick up that oil and put into bags so the beaches would be clean and pretty… and safe once again.
Its actually a pretty good job. You earn money and you are doing something for the environment. We had to use this white overall, gloves and boots so it felt like you were in a movie starring Dustin Hoffman. Have you seen that movie? Its actually really good. You should see it. In fact I advise to go right now and rent it. Go. Go now.
Have you done it? Have you watched it? Wasnt it awesome? See? I told you!
Now lets go back to my story.
The pay was good, and we had a 30 minutes lunch. Now, the lunch time was unpaid but they would give us a big lunch consisting of two sandwiches, a muffin, a square of cake, a fruit, and chips. So it was great! Since we were working on the beach under the sun, they supplied us with plenty of water and sunscreen. Every morning our supervisor would tell us the safety rules of the day. And you know in the beginning it was hard to understand what he said. Kiwis have an accent thats difficult to understand. But between me, my friend Juan, a guy from Paris, and two check girls we were able to understand what we should or shouldnt do. At least most of it.
We did this job for a whole month and we loved it. But after a while, there just wasnt that much oil in the beaches. (Thanks to who? A-ha! Thanks to us, yes sir. Good workers arent we?) so they told us that the job was over and that only a few would continue working.
We werent part of that few people group.
And off we went in search of another job. But thats another story and maybe Ill tell you about it in another letter.
Now go, enjoy the beaches and know that they are clean of oil.

by Gonzalo Silvela
21/05/2012 9:39:00 PM

Gonzalo Silvela Picking up the oil in Tauranga

I arrived in Auckland on 03/21 and started to look for a job, searching online.
I saw an ads for apple picker on suitcasehome and I TXT the contact person.
He rang and told me there was a vacancy for onion grader, much suitable for girls.
So I took it and booked a bus ticket on nakedbus from Auckland to Waipawa.
I left Auckland at 7:30 a.m. and reached Waipawa at 7:50 p.m. and the supervisor of the onion packinghouse picked me up.
After a long journey, I had a sound sleep in the dormitory that provided by the factory owner.
My first seasonal job as an onion grader began on 03/27, just picking out stones, rotten and damaged onions from the good ones
No WIFI and weak signal indoor for call, which disappointed me.
The rent was $100 per week and 4-6 persons per room.
I stayed there for two weeks and enjoyed life with those guys good at cooking.
We had parties at weekends, sharing food like Sushi, Indian noodles, Pasta and chicken rice, etc.
Nice natural beauty there.

by Wei
12/05/2012 1:18:38 AM

Wei Onion grading

Last January, after 3 months of thrilling travels and cheap living, I found myself back in Auckland persuing office jobs once again after promising myself I would not do another office job for the rest of my time in New Zealand. I was staying for a few weeks in Whangaparaoa, a penninsula 40km north of Auckland, with friends. After just a week of job hunting on various websites I had an array of offers coming in for sales and administration jobs. But something in the back of my mind told me that this was not what I truely wanted to do, and so, I decided on a change of course.

I looked on the seasonal jobs website one evening and searched for hospitality and south island. Up came a list of various hotel chains in places such as Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo... all of the beautiful places that I knew I would miss out on if I were to waste the rest of my precious time in Auckland! Then low and behold, one particular position caught my eye! This was in a place I had never even heard of. I knew I had passed through, but like all other small towns, the first time I had passed through Omarama, it had never really blown me away enough to stop and have a coffee, and it had never imprinted on my memory. I looked on Google, found the location and read a little bit about the town - A small town with approx 800 residents. The location was perfect, just 100km from Wanaka, Tekapo and Oamaru. This was just what I needed to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to go and live and work somewhere quiet, where I can work as many hours as I like (which was a lot after 3 months of not earning) and that I can manage my finances.

Reading the fine details about the job, and having checked out the estasblishments website online, I knew then and there that this was the job for me. I called the telephone number on seasonal jobs and the very next hour I had a call back. Could I send my CV and a brief covering letter? Yes! Of course! The next day(actually my birthday) I received a telephone call. We would like to offer you the job, and as youre experienced you will be starting on a little more than our basic entry wage. Wonderful! thats exactly what I had expected! The next day I packed the van and set off on a 3 day road trip to Omarama, Place of Light. When I arrived late in the night, three days early for work, the employer never failed to disappoint. Everything that was promised to me was delivered... Unlimited hours, good wage, accommodation provided for a lump sum, induction, training and a beautiful, quiet and scenic backdrop to enjoy the rest of what had already been a glorious summer. Starting work in the restaurant/housekeeping departments, I later transfered to the kitchen, first as a kitchen hand, then being trained as a chef assistant.

Needless to say, I fell in love with the region and worked at a local skilodge for the winter. But before I had left for the winter I had secured my job back at the same establishment in Omarama for the following Summer. Im still here now, as a breakfast and lunch chef, coming to the end of my second summer season, and once again I am looking at the seasonal jobs website to try and find some income for the winter. Ive been asked to return to my job in Omarama again next summer season. Of course it depends on my VISA but I would have no other objections. To me, Omarama was where I was meant to be all along, it feels like home to me. Being here has changed my life in many ways, it feels like the path I was always meant to take... the road less travelled!

Charlotte Cook
UK Traveller & NZ Enthusiast

by Charlotte Cook
3/04/2012 7:57:24 PM

Charlotte Cook Omarama, Place of Light

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 (, 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.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (12)

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.

by Anne-Flore
1/04/2012 10:39:18 PM

Anne-Flore Napier or the job war

Dear fellow backpackers,

I am sure you will agree that there are not many countries as suitable for backpacking as New Zealand is. However, I am sure you will also agree that a green land far far away is not so keen on our pockets, which makes working here necessarily for almost everybody who wants to stay more than a month or two. And we all know that not even six months is enough to explore all the beauties of Kiwiland. The work itself is a nice opportunity not just to make some money, but to get to know the working system in another country, learn some extra skills and meet other travelers. It is great to put down a backpack for a few weeks and stay still in one place for a while before the travel bug starts kicking in again. But I am sure you already found out that this is harder than it sounds. It is not work that it’s a necessary evil, it’s finding it. Yes, there are different job agencies and services which you would expect to provide you with work and all the information you need, but my own experiences show, that like at many other things in life, you have to shift for yourself. Best way to get seasonal work is to go directly to managers of orchards or vineyards. Most of job seekers do that, which means they skip the middlemen and therefore they do not have anything to offer you. Ask travelers at the hostel you are staying and get managers contacts from previous employees. Call them and do not wait for the phone call you were promised to receive at an agency. Even locals I met didn’t prove to have very reliable information. They are all saying things like: “Oh, yeah! There’s hips of work here or there,” but they don’t know that there are also a lot of backpackers fighting for that spots. Websites like www.backpackersboard , www.agstaff , www.seasonalwork, ect weren’t very useful to me, but they can help you to find out what kind of work is coming up in different regions. Build your itinerary based on that.

One other thing that is important if you are looking for work in an orchard or a vineyard is having your own ride. There’s a reason why they ask you if have on at every agency. My experiences show that you are more likely to get a job if you have a car, but that’s not completely true, especially if you go directly to managers. Also not completely true, is that all job agencies are useless. Barbara at Wanaka Job Agency is a great girl and she does not just give you false hope, she indeed calls you, and not just once.

If you are looking for other types of work, the story is not that different. The best thing is to go to a sore, a restaurant or a café you want to work in and hand your CV directly to the manager. Be persistent. Go there many times so they will remember you and know you are serious. In my opinion work is easier to find in smaller and quieter towns where backpackers usually don’t stay for more than a night such as Twizel or Arrowtown. The competition in bigger cities is tough, especially if you are trying to get a job in a city center. Stores along Qeen St in Auckland will reject you by showing you a pile of CVs they receive every day. Again, try your luck in quieter neighborhoods.

Bottom of line, there is a lot of seasonal work in New Zealand and it is possible to get it, although it sometimes looks like it isn’t. Just don’t lose hope, look around you and be open to anything that comes your way.

Happy travels and best of luck,

Tomaz from Slovenia

by Tomaž Meniè
29/02/2012 11:29:26 PM

Tomaž Meniè Some helpful tips

Having no previous experience in a seasonal job before coming to New Zealand I thought I would be fairly well prepared otherwise. Given the fact I was in good physical health and keen. While I would not say the job was overly difficult or taxing there were some parts I will say are tricky. Central Otago in fruit picking-season has many backpackers and travelers (as well as students) there for some extra cash. We two started by driving down to Alexandra from Christchurch. We arrived and went into the office of Seasonal Solutions the next day to meet the ladies working there and to register for orchard and vineyard job/s. It was unfortunate but it seemed the only work available would be cherry picking and not for a couple of weeks. So we would have to wait. Luckily we got a text up to come into the office that next week if we were interested in apple thinning down in Roxburgh (about 40 km away). The job was happily received and we headed there the next day to start immediately. It was also quite good as in the end the cherry picking season got pushed back quite a few weeks and then rain damaged quite a lot of the stock. Roxburgh is a fairly small town with a couple of backpacker hostels a supermarket some chippies a couple of pubs etc.. Most people staying in the hostels there are doing seasonal work. When we arrived some were on early cherries or other work around the orchards e.g. netting or apple thinning. For us a bus would come and pick about 30 people working on the one orchard up in town at 7.30 in the morning and we would get dropped back home by quarter to five in the afternoon. The accommodation as in most of NZ so far is of a high standard; clean and comfy. The job itself is not too hard. You are outside all day. In December the heat is not exceptionally bad - although after the first few days you realise sunscreen long sleeves and a hat are important. And lots and lots of water! Most people can go through 3 litres a day easily. Also I found that I would eat a lot to maintain energy levels - sandwiches and fruit etc.. It helps to have somewhere nice and relaxing to come home to at the end of the day. The hours can be long (6 days a week) and the weather difficult. The job of apple thinning involves taking many apples off the tree so that the remaining apples can grow to a full and good size. So when comes time to pick them they are ready. You use tall ladders to get to the tops of the trees and get paid for the amount of trees you do. Trees are graded according to difficulty. For example a really large tree with lots of branches and a fair few apples will take longer to finish than a smaller tree with less dense foliage (leaves etc.). Therefore you get paid more for it. I did 3 weeks in the end as the contract finished before Christmas but my friend I am traveling with went back after the new year when the break was over and continued till the end of January. Apple thinning can be tough on the muscles to start. For the first 10 days you feel as though all your body is aching. After that you do not notice it so much anymore. It rained a couple of times in our 3 weeks there working in the orchard. Most people you meet are really nice and I would have to say it was a fair introduction to this type of work overall. You get used to living with a lot of people who are all doing the same thing - you share the same problems and laugh about your aches and pains and difficulties associated with the role. Most people are really friendly All in all I would say it was a decent experience and a good way to make some money for your travels while staying in New Zealand.

by Donna Keenan
27/02/2012 9:38:00 PM

Donna Keenan Fruit picking in Central Otago

Hello there! My name is Isha, and I come from the Netherlands. I came here in New Zealand to travel and work. When I arrived I discovered that I preferred to travel first, and so I travelled for 2 months and spent a lot of money. After these 2 amazing months I realised that I really needed to find a job to earn my money back. And so my job hunting began. First I tried to get a seasonal job in Nelson/Blenheim. Unfortunately, I was there at the wrong time: The season wasn’t even started and most of the companies were on holiday break. So after two unsuccessful weeks I went to Wellington to try to find a hospitality job. This didn’t work out either. I was pretty tired of (for more than 1 month) intensively looking for jobs, and so I decided to go to a ‘working hostel’ in Napier. This hostel would help me with getting a seasonal job, and provides also transport to the job, which is good because I don’t have a car.

I came here together with Janine, another Dutch girl that I met during my travels. We both hoped that we could get a job really soon! At the time we arrived here and we checked in, I was more happy than anyone in the world, as the hostel-owner said they should have a job for us in 2 days. After all this seemed to be not exactly true, because it was one week later that we could finally begin. We were going to do picking, thinning and pruning Capsic*ms. When I first heard that, I laughed and thought how ironic it was. In Holland I live in an area where there is a big capsicum-business in glasshouses. So Isha goes to the other side of the world, to do the same thing she can do next to her own house in Holland! Haha!

The hostel-owner told us to wear a shirt with long sleeves and long pants, sport shoes, and a cap against the sun. We also put a lot of sunscreen on, because we were still a little bit sunburned from a few days before. Tip: Bring always sunscreen with you, although it’s not sunny in the morning, you know the changing weather conditions in New-Zealand! I brought my little 750ml water bottle, assuming that there would be a water tap, where I could refill my bottle. When we arrived there by car with 3 other people from our hostel, we had to sign a contract on the bonnet , which I thought was funny because I expected that we had to have an interview in an office with the supervisor or something. But no, only signing the contract and giving our documents was enough. Tip: If it’s your first day of work, bring your passport, and a copy of it, a copy of your visa, your IRD-number, and your bank account number. Besides, there was nothing like an office there! There wasn’t even a water tap, which meant that I was going to die due to a lack of water;) Well, ok, it was not that bad, but you could say that I looked similar to one of the sad dried out Capsicum-plants at the end of the day! Tip: Bring always loads and loads of water with you!! I never have had a seasonal job before and so the first day was pretty hard. We needed to sit on a plastic box, which was placed on a trolley, and put ourselves forward with our legs. Meanwhile we had to remove the side-branches, but to do this you needed to bend over. How later that day, how older I felt myself. In the end I couldn’t even sit straight anymore because my back was hurting and stuck at the same position. Haha, and with the sun shining, sweating like never before and a lack of water, the music in my ears was the only reason I survived that first day. Tip: Bring you I-pod with some good music and make sure it’s completely loaded (the last hours of the day you will probably need it the most)

The day after, I was better prepared. I had a short-sleeved t-shirt on, because there was no reason to put long sleeves on, and I had ten times more water with me. Unfortunately Janine didn’t come with me the second day because she had too much pain in her back. When we arrived I was happily surprised because we had to pick the big capsic*ms! This was actually pretty funny to do. Except that we had to use a little knife, and that I (of course) cut a piece of my finger of. Haha, but even though I had a Vietnam wound now, which I secretly thought was really cool, the picking of capsic*ms was sweet hey! Just racing with your trolley in front of you, put the capsic*ms in the plastic boxes, and try to be the fastest.! I was sad that after 1 hour all the big capsic*ms where already picked. Now I needed to fasten all the plants to a cable with tape so that they can grow straight. This was less hard for my back, so that was good. But this time my hand was painful after a while, because you have to staple the tape around the plant and cable with your hand. But never mind, the first days your body just have to get used to the act or move. So don’t be scared, in the end everything will be all right;) We have 3 breaks a day and in the break we just hang around the car a little bit. It’s nice to relax for a moment and secretly eat some blueberries from the other field! Tip: Take except your lunch also something sweet, something fresh and something salty to eat with you. Like a muesli-bar, an apple and some nuts or chips.

At my third working day it rained in the morning. I first prepared to go to work, than I heard that we didn’t have to work so I went to bed again. After ten minutes I heard that we did have to go to work anyway, so I stressed and tried to be ready at time. But then after 5 minutes my colleague got a text-message that there was no work today. Haha it was crazy, but in the end I went back to bed again. Tip: Check the weather conditions for the day after, so that you can prepared , and already know if there is a chance you don’t have to work the next day.
Well, this was a description of my first working days! I hope you enjoyed it. I think the first days are always hard because your body has to get used to it. But after a few days everything is ok, you will get to know the people you work with, and talk with them while you’re working. You can also listen to music, or think about your boyfriend (or girlfriend haha). So after all, it’s not that bad, and sometimes it will be even fun! You will get tan, and maybe lose some weight! You are outside, in the summer, with the nature around you and although the days will be long, I think it’s a nice way to earn some money!

I will end my story with three other tips.
-Take many different clothes with you. If the weather suddenly changes you want to be prepared. So take a sweater and your raincoat with you!
-If you’re preparing for work in the morning, put some fresh lemon and some sugar in your water. Believe me, drinking this helps you surviving the heat.
-If you’re tired of all your music, because you have listened it for a thousand times, you can also buy some audiobooks and put them on your I-pod! Now you can enjoy a story, and earn money at the same time!

by Isha Persoon
16/02/2012 3:45:06 AM

Isha Persoon Some useful tips

Im a small town New Zealand guy and when i left school i wanted to leave my small town behind for a new and exciting adventure. Having spent all my school life in the north island i decided to head off to the south island. i had been told by a few friends and family that i should go to a place called MOtueka and pick apples. It had never crossed my mind to do anything like this before but i was in search of an adventure so i decided to head off. I figured the south island was much colder than the north so i packed a few jackets. But when i arrived in motueka the weather was perfect and i didnt ever use the jackets i had packed. My first day on the job started around 7am , it was tough work and i ended up only picking 2 bins ( the average for a normal person was 4).By the end of the week i had reached my target of 4 bins a day but was stuffed. I felt like going to my cabin and dying but then i got chatting to a few people and we decided to treat ourself to a few beverages. As time went by i started to pick even more bins and was getting some what fitter. along with my work improving my social life was also improving. There was me and about 4 kiwis, a couple germans , an american, brazilian, a frenchy and a couple of checzs. I had never seen this sort of diversity before as i had never left the north island but it was cool to hear so many stories from all around the world. Things were looking good, life was great, good times and good friends. So after my first day of pain and terror it had some how jumped to the end of the 2 months. it was sad but my pockets were full of cash, i was super fit and i had met some awesome people, some who i still stay in touch with too this day even though over 10 years have passed. Its a part of my life il never forget in one of the most beautiful places in the world with some fantastic people

so that was just a brief explanation of my first time picking, i liked it so much that i returned a few years later. I reccomend it to everyone

ps only problem is you may get sick of apples

by Tony Sundman
18/01/2012 11:37:46 PM

Tony Sundman Fruit picking in Motueka

“Well certainly my dear,” she said “you’re going to have a lovely time at the lodge, believe you me.”

“OK, Angie. It’s a deal then. We’ll be there in three days. See ya!”

Wow! I thought to myself, what a nice lady. Can’t wait to get there. I googled “RUSSELL NZ”, clicked the “image” tab and it seemed to be the perfect place. Really beautiful. So we packed our stuff, which is not so little, threw everything in the car and said goodbye to our woofing hosts in Tauranga. It was a really nice experience to woof on a farm, but we needed some extra cash and we thought we’ll be able to get a full-time or part-time job in Russell. Also the Rena mess made our decision to leave the region an easy one.

The deal with Angie, the owner of the Family Park in Russell, was that we work there for 2,5 hours daily for accommodation. Which sounded quite reasonable at the moment, comparing it to the 5 hours we worked at the farm for a room and most of the food. Plus we could apply for some afternoon paid jobs in the town, which there are “heaps” of.

So there we were. A 27 year old Slovenian couple, both with university degrees (not that it matters, not here not at home), full of energy and expectations parked at the Family Park to begin our work there. Angie greeted us with a voice that was a mixture of snobbish English and something I couldn’t figure out at that moment. She showed us our room, which was a big one with four beds and a small fridge. The furniture and the equipment in the room were slightly out of date, some 30 years, but so were the most things around the Park. Never than less we kind of liked it and were happy to finally sleep on a double bed after last week sharing a bunk, which doesn’t help the relationship balance.

“You guys relax, and go to the town to ask for some work. I’ve talked with the restaurants in the town and they need heaps of help there. I’m sure you’ll find something quickly. No worries. You’ll be okay here. Believe you me.”

“That’ cool. Thanks Angie. And we start to work tomorrow? What type of work we will be doing?”

“Well, we’ve got cleaning covered, so that means you two can do a lot of gardening. Is that all right with you?” asked very politely, emotionless.
“I guess so. I love working outside in the nature. And what time should we start?”

“Oh, I’ll tell you in the evening, I have to ask Bob, because he will be working with you guys.”

Bob was her husband, a Kiwi. An all right dude turned bitch whipped. But that’s how things turn out sometimes, even for the toughest chaps. She came from Australia and after getting to know her made me consider real good if I want to visit the country. They lived half of year in New Zealand and half a year in Australia. A well of couple with two grown up daughters. They bought the place ages ago as a type of investment and rented it out to different managers. I’ve been told that the prior manager turned the place into a dump. Having drug dealers living there and let it slowly rot away. Now it was their time to take over their kingdom again and regain power and the Working-Holiday Visa travelers were their servants that would make the magic work.

There were lots of other people working at the place. A 19 year old German couple so beautifully naive and full of hopes and dreams it made you feel like a teenager again. But they had to work 3 hours daily, because they stayed in a special lodge, which was much smaller than our room, but had a terrace and wooden floor. There was also a German girl (seems that these days the country has more German population than Argentina after WWII) who was also looking for some paid job, because she wanted to travel with her boyfriend who is on the way here. But she was more or less in her room watching soaps and searching for jobs that actually paid, so we didn’t had much contact. And not to forget a 6 head family, which were the coolest people we met so far. So we were the Park pack. Doing whatever there was, to keep it clean, keep it pretty to Australian standards and to be good obedient workers, which we were forced and proved to be just the next day.

“Why don’t we go down to the town to ask for jobs?” Katja asked me.

“All right than. I just grab the CVs and we’re off,” I replied, ”it would be nice if we find something today, ha?”

“Yes, that would be cool. So we can finally save up something as we agreed to.”

The little town of Russell, which we didn’t know by then how little it was, was very little. It wasn’t just very little it was also a good hour walk from the Park. So here we go petrol money! The town center consists of four restaurants, two cafes, a pub, three souvenir shops and two supermarkets of the same company. Lots of opportunities for everybody I guess. So afterward I checked the web, telling me that that Russell has only about 2500 inhabitants. Hmmm. That’s for not doing your homework!

The next day we start at about 9 AM. Bob the chief rocka drove us in his SUV/4x4 around the property while we put the trash in the trailer attached to the car. Next stop, dropping the rubbish and then fill the trailer with what they call good soil. Actually it was just clay that stood there for ages and was hard as a….
Well, I don’t mind working with picks and spades, but my girlfriend definitely wasn’t used to that kinda work. But we did as we were told to. And no time to breathe or go to toilet or get a glass of water. “Hey we have only two hours and a half,” said the chief. I’ve worked in landscaping for some time and I can tell you that we never worked this fast. Not because we wouldn’t want to, but because it’s just not healthy to work without a pause or hydration, especially under the world famous New Zealand sun.

A surprise awaited us just around the corner. The next day it was burning stuff day. Which means that we burned all the old invoices, files and papers, of course keeping the 30 year old broken folders for future generations to use. And they picked just the right spot to do it – on bare land in front of the trees.
“Don’t you think the forest can catch fire?” Katja asked Bob.

He looked like a wasp stung him in the nuts, like: ”Nah. It’s gonna be all right. Don’t you worry. If that would be Australia we would be in trouble, but New Zealand got good trees, they don’ burn that fast. Plus it’s not that dry here”

“Whatever you say” I go. Although it looked like a damn dessert.

Then we watch the fire that rose like three meters high slightly touching the manuka trees. He puts on more paper and some dry gorse. WOOOOF it goes. We just watch the spectacle skeptical and wait ‘til it would go down. He dontyouworryin’ us again. Meanwhile Angie stops by and whispers in Bob’s ear: ”Hey. Why are they standing around? They don’t do nothing. Get them to work.”

I just think to myself: “What a poor schmuck!” and “What a c**t!”

“You cannot load everything on the fire” Bob goes. “It’s going to be too big. The forest might catch fire.”

“OK, but still. Maybe he can get new folders and she can put stuff on the fire. They can’t just stand around.”

Of course this was a great idea and we finish the day smelling like smoked salmon. When we arrive at the so called base to return the gear, meaning gloves full of holes, they find out that there are still 5 minutes left so we do some other stuff for the next 20 minutes. How do you like that?
In the next few days we got the task to make a forest trail for the customers. What sounded like great, ended up frustrating, when finally Angie interfered. She wanted the trail to go through the swamp. Hmmm…

No problem. There you go. Now the people staying in the Family Park can freely enjoy the moist experience in the beautiful swamp. Just don’t forget to give them gum boots Angie. We stayed for two weeks all together. The 6 member family living there and some other woofers made the stay there enjoyable, but we needed some paid jobs. Where do we go from here? Let’s go to Wellington! We guessed in a big city it’s going to be easier to find a job, more people, more jobs.


by Grisa Grauf
20/12/2011 1:35:37 AM

Grisa Grauf Where Do We Go From Here

"Haere Mai, passive reader. I arrived in NZ last March and spent a couple of months in Auckland. During what is amusingly called ‘Winter’ in the Southern hemisphere (for the obvious yet still pleasantly foreign concept of it running from June to August), I began to travel around the North Island. Myself and my delightfully reckless new friend Pierre (yes, French) set off to the Bay of Plenty (of recent oil spill fame) to seek out opportunities in the traditional New Zealand seasonal vocation of Kiwi-picking. Te Puke, the kiwi fruit capital of the world, was where we found ourselves soon after. Checking in to the ‘Hairy Berry’ hostel it was a wonderful surprise to find that a drink fuelled, metal loving, Norse-cultured energy vibrated its walls. We were both soon revelling in late night sessions of testosterone fuelled excessive drinking, discussions on historical warfare and random acts of destruction to the pleasantly reminiscent thrashing of Slayer and the like.

A great deal of seasonal agriculture work can be found through the local hostels and motor parks within the respective area. After talking with a contact at the Hairy Berry we soon found ourselves packing Kiwi’s by the thousand in an enormous warehouse at Satara, one of several packhouse chains in the area; a line of work that did not pay particularly well but made up for it in the available hours (sometimes 60+). Its a monotonous environment, the air filled with kiwi fibres and the noise of conveyor machinery, but like many things its something you can get used to. Soon after this we tried our hand at the much more physically demanding (but equally more soul rewarding) actual picking of the Kiwis. We both moved into a caravan park on the other side of town for a much cheaper rent whose minor inconveniences could be resolved easily by a bit of forward planning ahead of the 20yard walk to the kitchen and the $5 purchase of a 2nd hand electric heater. Contracted to be paid by the value of a crate divided by how many people were picking to fill them, this inspired a motivation and impetus to pick the Kiwi’s, hanging between 5 and 7 feet off the ground, at a ferocious rate. Myself I achieved a truly joyful efficiency in grip-to-drop rate that must have amounted to around 3-4 pieces of fruit in the chest-mounted bag per second, filling the bag in about 4-5 minutes. At about $14 per crate, an average of 8 people per team and about 30-40 bags filling a crate... well, you do the maths.

The work was exhausting and on occasion annoyingly infrequent when the rain clouds appeared. But this was an authentically, and literally ‘Kiwi’ experience that I would never change. Pierre and I shared solidarity with each other and all others we met of a kind I believe can only be felt by those from lands far away, joined together and engaged in a sporadic physical labour on foreign shores. But much more than this, because of the PSA infection, a congenital disease that has now spread across almost the entire Kiwi industry in New Zealand, this seasonal work that has kept working-travellers flowing through this region for decades, may well entirely come to an end within the next four or five years according to many growers that we spoke to. For this reason alone, I feel privileged to have been a part of it".

by Rob Cummins
20/12/2011 12:55:44 AM

Rob Cummins Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off!

I grew up in Marlborough, where Seasonal Work is a way of life. Each and every summer I marched out into the vineyards, sun-block smeared across my forehead, gloves at the ready, hoping to gain new friends, some more work experience, some cash to burn, and most importantly, a sun-tan.

What I gained from seasonal work was all that and more. I gained character. Working outdoors in the elements can have its ups and downs but at the end of the day it’s always worth it. You retreat back out of the sun to wherever it is you came from and enjoy a fantastic glass of Marlborough wine, quietly wondering whether the grapes that went into the wine came from a plant that was once tended by your own hands in summers passed.

The people from all walks of life who join you working along those long rows of endless summers will stay with you forever. For several summers I watched a friendship blossom between myself and two friends as we bud-rubbed and wire-lifted away our days together. Those girls are now young women, and will be escorting me down the aisle as my bridesmaids in January. I watched a romance grow as two people working together over the summer leaned over the wires and whispered things to one another. They are still in Love and still spend their summers working together as a couple, 5 years on. One year I worked with a Tongan family for a few weeks and learned things about their language and culture that helps me relate to people in many situations.

Those people who have experienced seasonal jobs like me will agree that although it feels like you are just picking up a bit of work over a period of time, and although it feels like a temporary state that will be gone and forgotten, this is not true. Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it.

by Aimee Tapping
20/12/2011 12:51:48 AM

Aimee Tapping Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it

Kia Ora! I’m Anne, 28 years old and I’m from Holland. I arrived the 4th of September, 2011 after an exhausting 24 hrs trip at Auckland airport. The first weeks I travelled around for a bit, did a road trip with my Kiwi cousin, my aunt took my everywhere I wanted and I had a great first month.

After a month of travelling a bit around and sightseeing, I noticed that I was spending more money than I calculated I would. Not a problem, job hunting started! Translated my CV and went into town, to drop it off at some places. I was looking forward to work in hospitality, so most of the places were restaurants and bars. No experience, but back in Holland I used to work as a manager in a supermarket so I had a lot of experience with working with people and customers. Always happy, a smile on my face, make sure that customers have a day out: that’s what you’re responsible for when you have a job in hospitality. I thought I could do it!
After a few days I received a phone call from a restaurant, they wanted me to come in for an open interview, with 4 others. Eventually I was the lucky one and had to come in for a trial. Even after the trial, with no experience ánd a Dutch accent, they hired me! Thirty to forty hours is what they promised me. Lucky me! Waitressing in a good restaurant, making delicious coffees and working behind the bar would be the things to fill in my job.
The first night I was slightly nervous: my first job in a country I just arrived 6 weeks ago, speaking a language that I’m capable of speaking it but which still isn’t my first language, and in an industry I’ve never worked before. After all I did a good job. The girls with who I worked that night were happy, and I was a member of the team!

After a few weeks I realised that I still didn’t work thirty hours a week so far, and even after asking for more hours (a girl quit) I ended up with 20hours a week. Not what they promised me. Last weekend, I work here for 6 weeks now, I had to work with this lady who manages the restaurant. Once she entered the building, all staffs faces tightened and I could feel the tense. And indeed, as the girls I was working with once told me: she is a tyrant, snarls at the staff, never let us finish what we have to say, gives us orders in front of customers, always looking for something that she can blame us for, treats you like you’re the most stupid person she has ever met, etc etc... Once she is in, all of the staff rather wants to go home.
Before I applied for a job at this restaurant, a women told me: don’t apply there, I was there once having a coffee with a friend and on older lady was shouting and screaming to her staff. You really don’t want to work there!
But I did...
And no I finally worked with her, I can definitely say that she is not the kind of person I want to work for. I used to managed 20 people, but I never ever treated them like how she treats us. Ever. I know sometimes you have to be hard at your staff, but if you ask it nicely but still letting them know that you’re the boss, they will do everything for you! My team in Holland had never let me down, and I was respectful to everybody. This lady, on the other hand, is the opposite. Never in my entire life I let anyone speak to me again the way she did.
Tonight I’m going to quit my job. Not only because of her, I just don’t want to give her the joy that someone quits because of her, but mostly because of the hours that they promised me I would get.

I work to live, I don’t live to work.

by Anne van Hulten
19/12/2011 9:03:48 AM

Anne van Hulten I work to live, I don’t live to work

I flew into New Zealand on 12th October after putting back my flight from Chile 3 times, yes the staff at the travel company were starting to get to know about me and my life! I spent just over 7 months in South America, the end months werent by choice - I had to stay there until I made enough money to continue my travels. My flight over to Auckland was a nerve racking experience, I couldnt sleep as I knew I only had $100 to my name and I seriously needed a job. Not the best time to be flying into the country with the rugby world cup on - the cost of hostels were extortionate.

I arrived at 6am in the morning and was told I wouldnt be able to check in until 1pm - so after a long flight with no sleep I had to battle on before I could finally rest. I took myself to job boards in hostels, the post shop to get my bank account and IRD number sorted and then to an internet cafe. I plodded on and got myself 2 interviews for the next day and another 3 for later in the week - I really wasnt messing about.

The rugby world cup although expensive for me, helped me out as I got a job immediately as a Transport Advisor, which was a tad ironic, informing people where to get their transport from when I had only been in the country myself a mere matter of days. I have also worked for other companies; at a food event making co*cktails, at Ellerslie Racecourse for the Melbourne cup and a door knocking milk man! I have been none stop in my quest for work and the search continues. I like the adventure and experience but it is also not as easy as I thought it would be securing a job.

Thanks for reading.


by Emma
20/11/2011 1:13:49 AM

Emma I only had $100 to my name

Odd Jobs In Central Otago
This winter, I came from Canada with a group of my friends to spend the season snowboarding at Snow Park. I intended on getting a part time job once I arrived and settled in Wanaka, but I didnt know it would be so hard to get work here. For two months I job hunted with no success - town was too quiet! After almost giving up hope the Job Agency in Wanaka gave me a call about some work at a cafe on weekends. I happily accepted (especially because I was almost broke) and started working the same weekend. After I worked a few weekends there, the agency started calling me with more and more work throughout the week. Over the last two months of the season I have done numerous odd jobs around Central Otago including; vineyard work, helping a moving company and even setting up a fashion show. Some of the work was awesome and some was terrible, but the agency always gave me something to do. They listened to what work I enjoyed and helped place me in more similar positions. When it came time to leave and move onto Queenstown, the agency in Wanaka set me up with the agency here and has already got me some work lined up. If youre a backpacker in Wanaka or Queenstown and looking for some part time work definitely pop into the Job Agency and see if they can help you out. They usually pay just over minimum wage and are good at finding you work each week. I had a great time working for them and hopefully you do to!
by Kyle Gibson

by Kyle Gibson
20/11/2011 1:07:50 AM

Kyle Gibson Odd Jobs In Central Otago

Peach thinning working experience

When I arrived in Hawke’s Bay, I soon found a seasonal job – thanks to my roommates who informed me. A local company hired us to work in a nearby peach orchard.
Our task was to cut off most of the peaches, so that the remaining ones had enough space to grow really big. Doing this we had to use a ladder in order to get to the top branches of the peach trees, nevertheless some of them seemed to be unreachable. Observed by Indian supervisors we had to finish at least 3 trees per hours, which sounds quite easy but it is almost impossible. Work started every morning at 7 a.m. and ended at approximately 4.30 p.m. in a six days per week schedule. We were promised to earn $5 per tree; in the end we all got just $13.25 per hour (before tax, which is minimum pay).
Working in a rural orchard means silent environment, fresh air and time to think about everything, but also itching, bloodshot eyes and skin irritations due to sprayings and sunburns and dehydration due to only few breaks during the day. In addition to that we had to stand the so-called Indian way of motivating people, which meant threatening us with losing our job in such bad English a three-year-old could express. As a result many works were fired after having worked 2 days and many quitted deliberately. At least the salary was in time.
All in all this job is a good means to earn money quickly for 2-3 days if you need it urgently, but nothing more.

by Michael
20/11/2011 1:06:45 AM

Michael Peach thinning working experience

A few years ago I travelled to Queenstown to tie vines in a vineyard. It was a beautiful time of year. The first frosts of winter were beginning to appear and every morning the young vines were frosted over. We started work early in the morning, before the sun came up, and were picked up from the shared accommodation by the foreman in a van. The temperatures were brisk, and though the sun had already come up, the vineyard was shaded by the mountains, and there was no warmth to thaw our hands until around 9.30 in the morning. The men I shared accommodation with and worked with at the vineyard were all of very different character, and doing the work for different reasons. Some were studying viticulture; some were seasonal regulars, following the vineyard season up and down the country. I was trying to quickly earn an extra buck to buy an engagement ring for a woman I wanted to propose to. When the sun came over the mountain range, it was a truly beautiful and satisfying place in the world to find oneself. And with half the working day already behind, we would stop for lunch on the hill side, among the vines in the sun and chat and joke among ourselves. The working day would finish around 3pm, and often a chill wind could be felt travelling up the valley, from the river. The mornings and the evenings in that part of New Zealand are the longest parts of the day.
By the time we arrived back in Arrowtown where our shared accommodation was, it was well into dusk, and very cool. As I said the mornings and evenings take up the greatest parts of the day in the high mountainous regions of Queenstown and Arrowtown, and though it was cold at around 4pm every night, one could enjoy a spectacular array of dusky colors in the sky almost every night. The air is so clear and dry at that altitude, and the weather is consistently good. I assume due to the outdoor work, and clean clear crisp working environment of the mountains, everyone was very subdued after work, and would usually retire to bed early. But before bed we would share a meal. Every night it was someone else’s turn to cook, and there was a big pot, that was used by everyone. The meals were basic fodder. Mince and boiled potatoes, mince and beans, stew, stew and cabbage and potatoes, stew and beans, etc.
I will always remember this time working in the vineyards of Queenstown, and would encourage anyone who wants to have a go at doing seasonal work to give it a try. The starts are early, the days can be long, and the work hard, but it is an unforgettable experience.

by Morgan Barrie
20/11/2011 1:00:12 AM

Morgan Barrie The young vines were frosted over

Back in 2009, I was able to scrounge up enough money to travel half
way across the world to Japan and New Zealand. Of which I spent one
week in Tokyo, Japan and a month in Auckland, New Zealand. I was able
to stay with a very good friend of mine, which meant I did not have to
pay for accommodation. I went out to NZ wanting to spend time with my
friend, while seeing what I could of NZ and not losing too much money
in the progress (since I was a student!).

If you want to work in NZ you will need to do the following first
before you are permitted to work for a year. The New Zealand
government offers something called a Working Holiday Scheme which
simply involves you applying without needing to provide any evidence
that you have even received a job offer. I am a UK citizen so it was
not necessary for me to apply for a Visa.

Finding work for me was easy only because the work found me! To my
advantage, I was able to assist my friend who is a bass guitarist in a
band but he now plays for a band in LA called “Tribe”.I ended up
assisting his band with some odd jobs such as some promotional filming
and carrying gear. Nothing major, but that was how I got by! All the
while I was able to watch a live shows, for minimal effort.

It was great being able to spend time catching up with my long time
friend and his family. He was able to show me a good time on the North
Island, with us having some eventful nights in Auckland. I also had a
site recommended to me called that I found pretty handy
on figuring out what I should do next.His family also owned their own
boat, so one weekend we were able to get an amazing view of Auckland
from a distance. The view had then become pretty blurry since I got to
hang off the back of the boat on one of those rubber tubes.

My personal highlight of my time in New Zealand though, would have to
be jumping out of a plane from 15,000 ft in the air over lake Taupo.
If you get the chance, you must do Tandem Skydiving! That is something
I will never forget, and the view on the way down was truly

All in all, in case it is not apparent I really enjoyed my time in New
Zealand and if I had the chance I would most definitely visit again. I
now work full-time, so I hopefully will not have to do any odd jobs ;)


Twitter: @Gav_at_Locanto

by Gavin Lammin
20/11/2011 12:35:17 AM

Gavin Lammin The work found me

Hi all!!,
My name is Gonzalo Barnes and I am from Argentina. I have 24 years old and I applied for the workig holiday visa last year.
I have arrived to Auckland with two friends last December and I have worked in many different places. During the first days was difficult to find work but after some days of going to every place and sending ours CVs to all the emails that you can imagine we decided to go to Waiheke Island, near Auckland. Good place to start if you have just arrived to NZ. There I worked in a restaurant and my friends in vineyards. We worked like 6 hours the 3 of us at least and it was great after expending so much money in the city of Auckland.
My work was excelent! I passed a great time their and the payment was good enought because I didnt have many expenses.
After Waiheke I went to Tauranga but we couldnt find any work the first week so with my two friends we decided to go to Napier. After some days we started in vineyards again but now we were only putting nets over the plants. A hard job, because you should we fast to get some good money. After finishing with the field work we moved to Watties Factory. We worked their as a grader for 2 months but the job here was really hard. We worked their 8 hours a day looking after the bad fruit. We couldnt hear anything in the factory and I generally worked with my mate nearby. So I dont recomend to do this for long time although the pay is good.Despite this, we have a great time in Napier because we leaved with lot of Argentinian people in the same house. After work we usually go to Waipatiki beach and we have fun.
Finally, we went to Mt Manganui and we found a job in a packhouse during the night shift. We worked 12 hs a day, 6 days a week. I worked as a tray pay making the boxes where the packers put the kiwis. It was very hard but after 5 weeks we made very good money and we decided to go to Coromandel and Samoa.
Now, after 2 months of relaxing we are trying to find some work in Auckland to earn some more money to go to Asia.

I hope you can enjoy my experience,
NZ is excelent!!
See you

by Gonza Barnes
24/10/2011 2:53:12 AM

Gonza Barnes Working for Watties Factory

I came into this plane of existence from the spirit realm several years ago, taking the usual route through my mothers vagin*. By that stage, some white colonialists had pretty much taken over the place. On some islands in the Pacific they were busy chopping down trees to plant marshmallows on the hills. They left a few trees standing so that they could pack tourists onto buses and show them how many trees they still had standing. Agriculture flourished as precious foreign currency was milked from the tourists wallets and they jumped off bridges into quasi-suicidal joyous oblivion, only to be caught by a rubber band and sprung back up to be milked again another day.

Some of the less milkable tourists were put to work in the vineyards, producing precious booze for the colonialists. They talked about the size of the locals cellphones and the sameness of all people, seeing only themselves reflected in everybody that they met. These tourists of the world were given rather a raw deal from dodgey contractors who would take on far too many of them in order to fill contracts they couldnt afford and then lay them off at random when work ran low.

The more fortunate tourists worked in the orchards picking cherries to be sold in Japan for a buck each. They worked under much more favourable conditions since they worked directly for an orchard owner. This gave the added benefit of discounted onsite accommodation in many cases.

The tourists almost without exception drove around in poorly running and occasionally dangerous vans which they bought in Auckland for way too much money. This gave them something else to talk about besides when each of their visas would run out and how ignorant and old-fashioned the locals were. These vans could be seen parked at most rest areas except perhaps in the small hamlet of Alexandra, where ignorant and old-fashioned locals would write obscene messages of hatred on the windows for no particular reason. Alexandra is what happens when you take a white-picket-fence suburb and leave it out in the desert for twenty years. Deprived of their mall, the residents turn on each other in oft-repeated drunken brawls and attempt to impress girls they are probably related to. This results in a town with one cop per square inch of scorched earth and a river of sh*tass boyracer cars that meanders through the KFC drive-thru every weekend.

So in summary, try and work on orchards and not vineyards if possible (or else as a bartender or waitress if youre pretty), NEVER work for contractors, dont go to Alex and remember that travel does not constitute a meaningful personal experience, no matter how long the flight was. This requires independent thought processes and self-actualisation to avoid acting out a TV show or walking around with a mirror infront of your face.

by Hayden McLean
24/10/2011 2:47:09 AM

Hayden McLean Working New Zealand from a different perspective

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 ( 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., Moreover, it is not difficult to find many English ones:, 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 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.:,,, ...

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 ( 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:, …

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 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:,, or 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.

For accommodation, I recommend:,, or any local newspapers and ads in supermarkets.

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!

by Michaela
24/10/2011 2:43:11 AM

Michaela I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand

As far as I remember, I always dreamed to travel. I thus stopped my studies and worked during 6 months as dishwasher in an old peoples home to pay my trip and realized this dream. The only hard thing was to buy the flight ticket because its really expansive from France (about 1000€ = 2000$!!). It only took one week to receive my WH visa.

I arrived on June 27th to Auckland, where I had a friend who waited for me for two months. When I arrived, this friend already had an apartment where I was able to live for $100 on K road!
My friend was obliged to keep his job as barman till the end of the rugby world cup and wanting to travel with him, I thus decided to stay in Auckland waiting for him. Meanwhile, I made all the necessary administrative procedures to work in New Zealand (IRD Number, Bank Account). Make sure to have all the necessary papers to do that (they ask to proof of ID: Passeport and International Driver Licence or letter from your employer...). It took only one week for me to have everything I need to work.
But the thing is that I never really looked for work as I didnt really want to stay in this huge city that is Auckland.
Thats why, instead of earning money to travel, I spent all my money in 1 and a half month.

After that, as I was really pissed of Auckland, I left to Blenheim (where I am at present) to work in vineyards.
I found my first contract thanks to one of the numerous backpackers you can find here, in Blenheim. Then, I found all my other contracts by myself (friends, internet...) because fortunatly, I bought a van in Auckland so I was able to stay in there for free (only 3$ the shower in Blenheim community pool) instead of paying rent for a backpacker...

My first job in vineyards was "stripping". It was in a huge vineyard and the boss wanted us to make a minimum of 60 plants per hour (1 per minute). It was the very first time I was doing this job and the second day, I made 54 plants per hour. In spite of this, this guy fired me (and the three other guys working with me) because we wasnt fast enough haha!
After that, I found another contractor thanks to a friend of mine, and I worked for him during 1 month, until the end of september, when there isnt a lot of work in vineyards anymore.
Now, I am still looking for a job around Blenheim and in the South Island, and its really difficult because I think all the jobs starts at the end of october or on november...
So if you have some informations about works on october, you are welcome ;)


by Denis Cassius Castelot
24/10/2011 2:38:32 AM

Denis Cassius Castelot My first job in vineyards was stripping

Hi, my name is Mariano Ferreyra and I’m going to tell you the story about my first seasonal job in
New Zealand.

It all begins one morning in Auckland. Tired and disappointed about the lack of responses to my
text messages seeking for any position available anywhere in N.Z, I went to sleep early just waiting
for the next day to come. Just before getting to the stand by state before sleep, I start hearing
my text message ringtone. I jump out of the bed and grab my phone. It said:”Hi Mariano, we are
contacting you from ####### Orchard. The job starts in two days. We will be waiting for you.
Cheers”. My happiness was indescribable and the day ended with a great future ahead.

My destination was Hastings, Hawkes bay. Someone told me there were too many vineyards down
there, but I never thought there were so much as I saw.

I arrived at 8pm, and went directly to the accommodation arranged. I stayed in one of the many
flats the place held. I lived with 4 asian guys, one from Taiwan and the other three from Malasia.
They were working in the same orchard as I Would so, as I had no car, we arranged they could take
me to work.

Next day, at 6:30am I was up getting ready to be taken to work at 7:00am. I had to prepare a bag
full of food and drinks because the day was going to be long and hunger and thirst needed to be

Once in the orchard, I was given some tools and taken to my respective block. The job I had to do
was vine pruning. They you have a big scissor, a small one and some paper tyers. Basically your
task is to cut the tree big branches first with the big scissor leaving just 3 branches. One of those
will finally be cut too. The second step is to use the small scissor to cut little branches coming out
of the 3 branches. After that you pull all the cut branches out. Finally you roll two branches (one
from each side) to the lowest wire and you tie the last but of the branch with your tyer.

It sound quite easy but it isn’t. After some hours, your hands start aching, so does your back. You
get really hungry and thirsty and you get paid per contract, that means the amount you get paid its
up to you.

The positive thing is that you have time to talk with the guy in front of you and meet a person
from everywhere, that’s how I met Sonia.

Sonia was a Chech girl that was working in Hastings since last year. She was good and really fast at
pruning. She was a money machine, and she was gorgeous too.

As days passed by we got to know each other pretty well. I taught her some Spanish words and the
other way round. She made me try some tipic Chech food and so did I. We were starting to fell in
love with each other, but we were to fool to realize.

At the same time,the job was finishing and Sonia and me were going to take different routes,
which made us feel quite sad about it.

Anyway that month in Hastings was awesome. The experience of working outdoors, in an orchard
or farm is really unique although its pretty taught too. I met many people from different countries
and we managed to exchange stories and culture. I also had a love story with this beautiful lady
that will keep a piece of my heart for ever.

I recommend you whoever is reading that this are things that happen just once in life. This are
opportunities we must not let them pass away. We have to live our life as if every day was the last
one, trying to learn from everyone and from everything.

Hope you had enjoyed my storie


Mariano from Argentina.

by Mariano
18/10/2011 9:57:37 AM

Mariano My happiness was indescribable

I came to New Zealand with a friend, fromChile, looking for an incredible experience. We were two weeks in Auckland looking for jobs, visiting hostels, restaurants and offices who can help you finding jobs, also we spent a lot of time going to the library of Mt. Eden,where you can use free internet, sending CVs every day, while we were living in the house of a family, specifically in acouch of the living room trying to save money, lovely family!. Every day emailsarrive to us saying “After a hard selection we have to say that in thisopportunity your application was unsuccessful”, very frustrating. To forget thosebad experiences we used to visit the amazing parks of Auckland, we walk untilthe top of the highest mountains of Auckland, Mt. Eden, awesome view; we werein the top of another beautiful hill called “One Three Hill” with a hugeobelisk in the top. After a couple of weeks waiting desperately for any job wedecided to travel to Tauranga. Once in Tauranga we met a lot of persons fromevery part of the world, and one week more looking for job without luck, until!We saw an advertisem*nt of one guy who was looking for persons to work in kiwipruning, we called and SUCCESS! The day after we were working in a huge place,the bad part, it was illegal and he paid per production, without experiencelike us we could obtain just 30 dollars per day, considering that we werespending 24 dollars per night in a backpacker, and spending near of 10 dollarsin food per day, we just couldn’t survive for much more time. After the thirdday of work we arrived very tired to the backpacker and a guy told us thatthere was a possibility to work repacking kiwi fruit, our eyes began to dropsmall tears just imagining we could have a normal job, so we went very early theday after to a big company of kiwi fruit asking for job, but we just gotanother unsuccessfully phrase “sorry we are full, but you can leave us yourcontact in case we need more persons”. After that, seeing no future, we spentthe last energy that we had going to the library of Kati Kati, someone told usthat they could help us to find a job, once in there we got a list of a coupleof packhouse in the zone, go for it! –I said-, began calling to the first, butthey were full, the same with the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth,my friend told me return to the backpacker to rest, but I said NO!, there isstill one more company and I will call, I did, saying the same speech for sixthtime “Hi me and my friend are looking for job”, she said “great, we need twopersons now, can you be here in 1 hour more?”, WOW!, “Of course” I said, andthere it was our first legal job!, we were working quite hard for 2 weeks,selecting only the Best quality of kiwis to export them to Asia, but it had agood reward. Finally we have had several jobs, the most are sporadic, and so welearnt to look for jobs continuously. In spite of having this hard experiences,we love this beautiful country, quite kind people, incredible places to visit,is all so green and blue that you feel an unique contact with nature. And now,save money to continue this awesome travel in New Zealand!

by Cristian Santibanez
18/10/2011 9:54:31 AM

Cristian Santibanez Working in a Packhouse in Auckland

Making our descent in to Blenheim on a narrow plane with sixteen seats and one for the pilot, it was clear even from the air what this town was about, Wine. Peering out of the window, looking downwards, all I could see were rows. Rows, rows and more rows of budding grapes that were destine to become the Sauvignon Blanc, the Pinot Gris - the Special Reserve that we see on our supermarket shelves all over the world.

Still in the air, of course I couldn’t have known how closely I was to see these rows, but I was soon to find out. There was very little time in fact, between my flight and the search for some sort of employment. It had been three months since I had done a days’ work, back in my hometown of Bristol. Since then I had been on the road, which had taken me from Paris to Turkey from Istanbul to India, through Thailand to Cambodia and New Zealand was the final stop. My partner was a Kiwi and so Blenheim was the destination and after months of spending Lira, Rupees and Baht it was time to make myself some dollars.

This town was a haven for the travel-weary backpacker, looking to boost the funds. Marlborough was the home of countless vineyards and at this point in the early summer there were contractors crying out for casual workers all over town. By the time I had unpacked my trusty backpack and slept off my jetlag, I was signed up with a vineyard contractor and my alarm was rudely announcing the start of my first day on the job.

Stumbling sleepily in to a bus full of softly spoken European languages, I learned that our first job was skirting. This involved working our way along the rows, snipping the stray and overgrown branches from the underside of the plants. We were paid just a few cents per plant, which sounded rubbish but there were a lot of plants in a row and the work was easy and swift. The weather on that first day was beautiful, and it never changed throughout the two months I worked in the vineyards. Marlborough is known for its sunshine (which explains the grapes, I suppose) and those continuous bright summer rays didn’t disappoint. The scenic mountains and hills that surrounded us added a feeling of place and atmosphere to the days we spent working.

The jobs I did over those weeks were varied. Sometimes the work was hard, the heat was always there and the repeated application of sun cream was important, but none of the jobs were beyond me and the variation of tasks meant that I was never bored. I particularly enjoyed the work I did on a new block of plantings, which involved a number of days in a shed, making up a million green plastic grow-guards, which were put over the tops of the baby plants. We then clipped several miles of irrigation pipe in to place, positioned to quench the thirst of the little plants as they grew. As they matured the grow-guards were removed and the plants were given the support of new wires that we strung in to place. I found this period of work very rewarding because I felt like I had seen the process through from the very beginning.

Later, as the mature fruit were almost ready for harvest, the last of my jobs was leaf plucking. This involved giving the plump bunches of grapes space to breath, by removing some of the leaves from around them. This was a simple and rewarding job, which happened just before harvest. For me though, this was as far as my grape journey went. I was never to see the harvest because my traveller feet had become itchy again and it was time to move on!

by Emily Fredrickson
18/10/2011 9:46:26 AM

Emily Fredrickson Working on a vineyard in Blenheim

Hi, we are two guys from Germany and we are here in New Zealand since August. I planned to have a gap year after school years ago, but I actually started to plan how to do it one year before we wanted to come to New Zealand. First I checked out some organisations which sent me free material.

But when I talked to one of their employees, she told me that you can do it on yourself easily. So we booked our flight, luckily a relative works in the business, so we get it very cheap, but it is always an advantage if you can book it very early. The next step was our working holiday visa, but there is a very easy online application, where they tell you everything you have to know and as soon as you has completed the application form and paid the visa via credit card, you get your visa in ca one week.

( ) (The credit card is a good idea anyway, as it saves you money as long as you have to transfer the money from home.) Next we joined wwoof ( ), to be able to work for accommodation and food, but there are other webpages, too. ( ) One thing about your backpack: You need always less than you bring with you, so think about it twice. And I am really glad about my mobile phone which can use Internet, because like this I can use its GPS!

Once we were in Auckland, we found out that the taxis are quite expensive, but we were glad to be here, so we didnt mind. We did not book the hostel in advance, but it is essential to do that, when you arrive in tourist season (thats the German winter). The three things to do first, getting an IRD number, opening a New Zealand bank account and buying a phone card are very easy, too. For the IRD number just ask in the local New Zealand post shop with two ids e. g. passport and international drivers license, for the bank account just walk into a bank (e.g. westpec) with your passport and a current address and for the phone card, dont search for cheap offerer as they are available in Germany, because mobile phoning is expensive anyway. ( )

We started with bicycles but we found out quickly that New Zealand is not the right country for travelling by bike, because it is very hilly and there are no seperate roads, so you always have to cycle on the main road. Additionally, when you start searching for jobs you will be glad about a car as many employers want you to have your own transport. The cheapest way is to buy a car privatly and buying a car is really easy in New Zealand. But a secure way is e.g the backpackers carmarket in Auckland (, because they have German speaking employees and you can understand everything you sign. Once we started our trip, we had no problems finding jobs for accommodation and food as there are serveral websites.(see above) We had to do gardening, cutting firewood, painting, weeding and other easy jobs, mostly they find you something that fits your skills. But after two month of travelling through New Zealand, we decided to search for a real job. Everybody we asked before coming into the country told us that finding a job would be easy. But we had to sent almost 30 applications to different places before we found a company which was searching for temporary workers. Benni, a carpenter could work full time and got paid very well, while I worked part time doing every job that was around and was paid 15$. So just sent your CV to every possibility you can find, the worst thing that could happen is that they say no. (;;; ) It is also worth it to have a look in the local newspapers and at the boards of hostels and supermarkets. I have been to hundreds of websites and I think the best advice is to start searching for a job early enough, not when the money is already gone. Furthermore it is easier to find work for about three month than shorter and, of course their are more jobs in summer when more tourists are around. But just keep trying!

Cheers Franzi and Benni

by Franzi and Benni
18/10/2011 9:41:15 AM

Franzi and Benni Cycling in New Zealand not friendly

When I first came to NZ I heard that Hawkes Bay is the fruit bowl of NZ and it wasn’t a myth. I arrived in The Rotten Apple Backpackers at the end of September and already the first week in October I started working….and I didn`t stop for the next 8 months.

Jason, our wicked hostel owner, found me a contractor and my contractor found me all different kind of jobs, starting with sorting the pumpkins, planting tomatoes, weeding on top of Te Mata Peak, working in the vineyards, picking and packing different fruit and when it was raining I worked in a winery. When you work under the Contractor, you usually get paid the minimum $13 + 8% holiday pay and usually he makes sure that you get at least 40 hours per week.

Stonefruit- and appletree thinning starts in November and it goes til Christmas. The work is very easy and usually paid buy contract. Some contracts are very good and the fastest can earn $180-$200 per day (before tax). At the same time, some contracts are insanely low, so you can work 8-9 hours and you earn maybe only $30. The good thing about NZ is that the Contract between you and the Employer says that you have to earn at least minimum pay. So if you don`t reach the minimum pay buy working with the contract rate, they still have to pay you the minimum. It sounds good and you may think that well, I can just be lazy every day then…but no, usually they let you try 2 days, and if you don`t get your speed up, they recommend you to find another job.

Vineyards have work all year round. It all starts with pruning (May til September), then shoot thinning (end of October), then bud rubbing (start of November), wire lifting (end of November), leaf plucking (in February), fruit thinning (end of February), then netting and harvesting (in April, May). Vineyard work is usually paid contract. Physically the hardest is pud rubbing, even the most fit boys got sore knees and back and not many people earned more than minimum with that job. Wire lifting and harvesting are not hard and if you are fast you can easily earn more than $150 per day.

Apple picking starts in March and that’s the best job to make good money. You have to be relatively fit (full bag weighs 18kg and you have to claim ladder) and motivated but the work is not hard. Picking-bags are comfortable and don’t hurt your back at all. You have to fill up your bag carefully and not bruise the apples. One bin takes 36 of your bags and usually they pay again contract rate which is around $30-32 per bin (before tax). At the beginning of the season it`s easy to get 4-5 bins with 8 hours. If you work hard you get 6-7 bins. I use to work with boys from Bali and they picked every single day through the season 10-12 bins with 8 hours. So that shows it`s possible…at the same time there were backpackers who struggled to get 2 bins full. I was happy with my 6. And once there has been the first pick, and the second pick..there are not many apples left…and then usually the bin rate goes up a bit…about $40-45 per bin. But then it`s hard to pick more than 2.

It`s also good to get a job in a pack house, cause then the rain doesn’t bother you too much. Most orchards don`t let you work with the rain, but if there is a lot of fruit waiting in the cool-room, you can still go and pack it. Usually you work 9-10 hours per day, 6-7 days per week. And if you go and find the job yourself you most likely get paid more than a minimum (for example I got $14+8%). If you are in Hastings, go have a look in Omahu road, there are heaps of packhouses (also MrApple, Appollo etc.).

So my point is that it`s easy to find a job if you like to work J And if you wanna have some crazy good times, go to The Rotten Apple Backpackers! Good people! Good place!


Love NZ!!!


by Marina
22/08/2011 5:07:20 AM

Marina Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand

Whale and Dolphin Watching

ImEnglish and love the ocean, I came to NZ looking for sunshine and warmseawater! In anticipation of needing work I compiled a cover letter andCV and emailed a variety of different tourist outfits that specialised inmarine activities. Within a month of arriving in NZ a Whale and Dolphinwatching company invited me for interview. After a brief chat, I wasinvited to go on a trip with them that afternoon. We spent 4 1/2 hourscruising in beautiful sunshine with dolphins jumping all around us. Apparently this was called work!

SoI got the job, which is busiest in summer when all the tourists are here. I search using binoculars for the whales and dolphins, I make tea andserve pies to the guests on board and I take photos. Its the most amazingjob, basking in the sunshine on the deck of a boat surrounded by stunningscenery, watching whales feeding just meters away!

Themarine life in the Hauraki Gulf is incredible, on a good day we could find apatch of ocean with thousands of sea birds (Gannets, Petrels and Shear Waters)in the Air, all diving and feeding on small fish (Pilchards) and crill whichwere being brought up to the surface by hundreds of dolphins. Then a whale would be seen, its spoutand a crash of water as it lunges to take food.

Ourtrips would always be different, sometimes flat calm, you could see for milesand we would head out to Kawau or Little Barrier and almost to GreatBarrier. Other times would beright on the edge of safe operation, windy and rough we would look for shelterunder the Corromandel, the less glamorous part of my job was handing out littlegreen buckets to people who were seasick!

Weregularly saw Bryde’s Whales (perhaps 75%) of our trips and Orcas come rightinto Auckland harbour! I saw aSouthern Right Whale, mother and calf and even a Blue Whale, one of the rarestanimals in the world. A far cryfrom the smoke of London!

The Waitakere Ranges

Afriend of mine told me she had been offered a job cutting bait trails in the Waitakere Rangers. “What does thatinvolve?” I asked.

“I’mnot quite sure she said but you need to be good with a compass and map, and youget to go hiking every day in the Waitakeres.”

“Sounds good, can you put a goodword in for me?”

I went with my friend to meet Andyat the Ranger Station in ‘Arc in the Park’. Andy took us for a short walk into the bush pointing outtrees and plants and identifying birdcalls. It was idyllic but Andy informed us that the work was HARDand he expected us to get injured at some point, but if we were keen we couldstart in the morning.

Dressed in full tramping gear wearrived at 7am to meet the other workers. We were offered a variety of tools to choose from: saws (Silkys),shears, cutters (Wolfies) and machetes. Issued with GPSs and maps we were sent out in groups of two orthree.

I was working with a guy who wasover 6ft and weighed probably 90Kg (a big dude compared to me!). We had an hour-long hike along a nicewide trail to our start point, and then it was into the bush. Our job was to cut a grid of trailsinto an area of bush, nailing bait stations (plastic boxes) onto tress every50m in an attempt to eradicate pests. We were literally Bush Bashing, hacking, cutting, pulling, pushing,jumping and sliding our way through unknown territory. The trails needed to be wide enough forone person to walk easily along and put new bait in the bait stations on aregular basis.

It was tough! On some days we movedno more than 300m from our start point on a good day we managed perhaps 600mmaximum. We would be confronted bywalls of Supple Jack, every vine had to be individually cut and then avoided asit snapped back in your face. Or asea of Cutty Grass, its blades like razors, it had to be hacked away andstomped on. Flax was slightlyeasier it provided a cushion and could be jumped into! We were in the bush from dawn till dusk,making two hour hikes out from the end of our trail in falling light, quitescary considering the rough terrain and how tiered we were. Is this what theearly settlers had to deal with when they made their way through the bushchopping down Kauri?

Although ready to quit after just asingle day, the work was fun and rewarding, a fantastic way to get rid of somefrustration and to feel like a real explorer. We saw lots of birds and somebeautiful Kauri and Rata tress and the work was valuable, we were contributingto the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife. By putting these bait trails in place volunteers could comeout on weekends and put fresh bait in the traps to kill off the rats andpossums and give the native bird species a chance to flourish. I felt privileged to do this job, toget off the beaten trail and inside the native bush of New Zealand and in thename of Conservation, it was fantastic!



by Edward Baker
13/08/2011 7:26:05 AM

Edward Baker Whale and Dolphin Watching

1. Jones/Suncrest Orchard, Cromwell.
Before working at Suncrest, I had always lamented the fact that with the majority of jobs, we are paid for the amount of time we spend at work, rather than for how much work we do. Being paid for mucking around at your workplace hardly makes you motivated to work hard. Being paid for how much work you do, however, is fantastic, especially at Suncrest, where the rates of pay were always very fair. I began the season thinning stonefruit, which is mind-numbing work, but which pays will if you can motivate yourself to move fast. After a couple of weeks, the cherry season began and suddenly we were all rolling in cash. You get paid per bucket at Suncrest, and while the bucket rice, at around $5, is not as much as some other orchards, Suncrest workers generally come away with more money, due to the fact that the managers seem to be conscientious with regard to providing work every day, unlike other orchards I have worked at, where we have been required to be on hold, earning no money, for days at a time. Also, the accommodation available at the orchard is much cheaper than a lot of other orchards, at only around $40 per week. Sure, the bosses at Suncrest can sometimes come across as, well, bossy, but youll soon find that if you dont mess them around, things will run very smoothly for you. I highly recommend cherry-picking in New Zealand, particularly at Suncrest Orchard.

2. Fortune Fruit, Cromwell
Last summer (2010-11) I was late in applying for cherry-picking jobs and, after much hunting around, received an offer of employment driving a tractor at Fortune Fruit, in Cromwell. This job was to show me the incredible pay disparity between people doing different jobs on the same orchard. Most orchards in New Zealand operate a "colour-picking" system where there is work almost every day and pickers pick only the ripe fruit. This means that there is work every day for both pickers and other workers, such as the drivers who transport the cherries from the fields to the pack-house. If I had been driving on a colour-picking orchard, I would probably have recieved around $800 per week. At Fortune Fruit, however, the picking system is what is known as "strip-picking." This is a method where pickers wait around for a variety of cherries to ripen and then pick a huge amount in one day. This method is great for pickers, who can make up to $450 in a day, and sometimes around $1500 in a week. If, however, you are like me, and a working on hourly wages, you will make extremely little money. Where pickers were making $1500 per week, I was lucky to receive $400. It was incredibly frustrating sitting on a tractor watching people making loads of money doing a job I was perfectly capable of, while earning a pittence myself. After two weeks, I had had enough and quit, forfeiting a days pay. I went apricot picking on another orchard and was soon making three times what I was making driving the tractor, and enjoying the work much more.

by Max Olsen
13/08/2011 6:50:50 AM

Max Olsen Cherry Picking in Central Otago

Hi Everyone.

My name is Joaquin and I am from Argentina, we decide with my friends (tomas, agustin, and eduardo) to visit New Zealand to learn more about your culture and of course to stay here for the Rugby Word Cup.

We departed from Buenos Aires( Argentina) in november 2010, and now we still here.After we arrived we take the bus in the airport that its a bit expensive, I think its better to take a taxi if you are more than 2, once we arrive to Auckland City we were very lost but people here its very nice so they help us to find some accomodation and jobs too.
The first week we stay in acb base hostel ( In my oppinion the best backpacker, big, clean, organized, nice people, partys, internet, all that you need you have it there)
After one week in auckland we left to Napier , we rent a very bug house, we were 16 argentinian people living there,it was awesome, and we start our first work,we worked like 1 or 2 months in orchards, and then we get a job in a factory ( Watties), there we meet lot of kiwi and mahori people, really funny and nice persons,The job in the factory was not so good, because you have to be dressed with an overall, 2 pairs of gloves, ears protectors (you couldnt hear ANYTHING!), boots... We looked like Teletubies!. Also we were grading 8 hours a day wich is not a sane job to do for a long time. The good part of the job was that we worked 40 hours a week and the pay was good, and as we were out at 2pm, we could go to Waipatiki beach everyday to swim and have some fun, but a few weeks after we start the job finished so we moved Christchurch but this time we rent just rooms in a family house and it was really nice to be there with that family, unfrtunately we cant find any job in Christchurch so we decided to move again, but this time to Auckland(big city with heaps of bars and a good possibility to stat working asap in any place).
After long time we had luck and we find an Au pair job in Auckland taking care of 3 little girls , they are very funny and nice girls, actually we still doing that, and trying to find any other work because the rugby word cup its comeing soon so Auckland its going to be a Big Party every place you go.
Its the first time that we are without work for more than 2 weeks, luckyly, we made the paperworks to recover our taxes, so we have some backup.
Through working in different places you experience the real New Zealand and get to know the towns and locals, and discover the places that aren’t in the guidebooks. At work you meet literally hundreds of like-minded travellers and are able to build life-long friendships and go on mad adventures with them. I have had countless unforgettable experiences here and have been able through working so often to also do all of the bigger tourist activities

I would love to tell you more, but it is impossible to type all my thoughts out in one day.
And what about the future? Well New Zealand is amazing country with lovely people so I can see myself living here. So who know how many people that came to New Zealand as a tourists stayed here for ever.

I love Nz
celphone number : 02102962760

by Joaquin Monge
26/07/2011 2:02:10 AM

Joaquin Monge 16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome!

Hi Seasonal Jobs
Im Aleš and Im from Czech Republik. Before travel to New Zealand I worked like site manager building construction in Prague. I never wanted leave Chzech Republic, but my friend told me, I can make good money there. So me and my girlfriend and two friends went to New Zealand. On the internet we found Information about this. Student agensy helped to us make the visa and school.
When we arriwed to Auckland, we studied there one mounth English lenguage and after looking for work. It was 1st of October. We tried to send a few mails to different company, what we found on the Internet, but no one no answer. We send a few email to some backpapers and only two answer: "You can come here, I have work for you". We went there, we spent there one week and stil work nothing. The ouwner of backpaper was liar (Katikati Backpaper) So we tried visit picknz in Hastings and filled in forms, but they never did not call us.
In Hasting we found very good backpper. The ouwner is very good man and he helped to us found the job. First job was with Chinese contractor. It was terible, becouse we didnt get holiday pay and tax was 21%. When I checked my online IRD accont, I saw he paid only 16%, so he stole 5% every week from maybe 15 persons. No one didnt get payslip, realy crazy. So we changet contractor, but if you work for Indian of Asian contractors, its the same. This is true, realy I have lot of experience like this.
After long time we had luck in May and we started work in apple packhouse and after kiwi packhouse. Realy good job, but weather made lot of problem. Pickers coudnt pick fruit, so many days was day of.
In New Zealand, I tried:
apple thining
apple picking
nectarins picking
pupkins weeding
apple packer
kiwi packer
sheep shearing
Maybe I made a mistake, when I went to New Zealand, but its very good life experiance and nature in New Zealand is incredible.

by Aleš Kopecký
23/07/2011 9:40:58 PM

Aleš Kopecký No one got payslips, really crazy

Hi, my name is Martin Muerza, and i have worked in lots of different places. We arrived to Auckland, the 24th of December of the 2010. That was not a good time to come to New Zealand because of all the non-working days they have for christmass and new year. So, after 15 days, we didnt find any job, and we decided to go to Waiheje Island, a Beautiful place with incredible landscapes. There we worked in vineyards, 8 hours a day under the hot sun, but with amazing views. The job was good, the payment too, and after work we went to Palm Beach with some friends and we really had a good time.
After a month in Waiheke, we moved to Napier, where we picked apples at first. Its a hard work to do in summer, and its worst if you do it by contract, and in our case most of the apples were green so they were not good for picking. After two days we quit and we started putting nets in Vineyard. A good job, and if you are fast and organized you can get some extra money. While we were working in the vineyard we applied for Watties Factory, and in a very rainy day, they started calling us from the factory, so with a huge smile we went home in order to be prepared to work in Watties.
The job in the factory was not so good, because you have to be dressed with an overall, 2 pairs of gloves, ears protectors (you couldnt hear ANYTHING!), boots... We looked like Teletubies!. Also we were grading 8 hours a day wich is not a sane job to do for a long time. The good part of the job was that we worked 40 hours a week and the pay was good, and as we were out at 2pm, we could go to Waipatiki beach everyday to swim and have some fun.
When the season finished in Watties, we moved to Mt Manganui, and after a week of going every day to the packhouses, we found a job at Apata packhouse, where we worked 12 hs a day 6 days a week, and at night shift. It was really hard, but after 5 weeks we made very good money. With some of that money we decided to go to samoa to relax a bit!!
Now I am in Christchurch, working not so frecuently, we worked 2 days in furniture moving, which is a bit hard, and two days cleaning a reconstructed school. That was a really good job, no preassure, we listened to music, Bob Marley...
Its the first time that we are without work for more than 2 weeks, luckyly, we made the paperworks to recover our taxes, so we have some backup, but if anybody has work in christchurch give a call please!!!

by Martin Muerza
23/07/2011 9:38:38 PM

Martin Muerza picked apples at first

Moving through seasonal work is the only way to travel, and New Zealand is by far the easiest country I have ever visited to find temporary work in! In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival, and have worked for accommodation in a number of short but sweet temporary placements. I have slowly made it from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island in my trusty van, finding work through the internet a month or so before moving on to the next place.

I’m from the UK and I had my first job confirmed before I arrived in the country so after a short holiday was able to get stuck straight in. I walked into the ASB bank, and walked out with a bank account and card 20mins later! I walked into the IRD office and walked out with a temporary IRD number (the actual one came through a week or so later). I bought my van from a really small town and paid half the price than in the big cities, if you can fly into Christchurch, vehicles are a fraction of the price there than in the North Island.

Through working in different places you experience the real New Zealand and get to know the towns and locals, and discover the places that aren’t in the guidebooks. At work you meet literally hundreds of like-minded travellers and are able to build life-long friendships and go on mad adventures with them. I have had countless unforgettable experiences here and have been able through working so often to also do all of the bigger tourist activities without even touching my savings.

My advice – work hard play hard and be organised. Get to know where the seasonal work is at the different times of the year and use websites like Seasonal Solutions to plan work in advance and you will have an amazing time in New Zealand. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, very sad to be leaving this Christmas.


by Robyn Peary
23/07/2011 9:32:33 PM

Robyn Peary In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival

With some saved up cash from several temporary jobs back home in The Netherlands, my New Zealand adventure started in October 2010. Since it was actually the first time I went on a journey like this alone, I had to get used to living in the backpacker mode. And I mean moneywise! Looking back now on my first weeks/months in NZ, I realize that Ive spent much more money than necessary in the beginning. Simply because I had to learn the tricks!

So at some point in January (New Years in Queenstown obviously blew my budget) I was pretty much broke. Fortunately at the right time, because I went to Picton to visit a relative of mine and stay at his place for a while. As a local, he knew what was going on in town and gave me some contact details of people who were looking for temporary workers. Eventually I ended up at a campervan rental business. It was high season and they needed keen folks for grooming the vans, which basically comes down to cleaning. It may sound boring and dull, but it actually was good fun! The summers been quite great iin Marlborough, so being outside in 25-30 degree heat, washing the vans with a good spray of cold water wasnt too bad at all! Besides, the group was small but great. I will probably never have a better boss again than here. She was always cheerful, happy and reasonable, and even helped me to a better contract (even though I only worked there for 1.5 months).

After this period I went touring again for a couple of weeks. Had awesome times in the Abel Tasman National Park and the Golden Bay area, and went back to Picton afterwards. I decided to buy a car, so again: that blew my budget! (Even though it has so far been worth every cent.) I drove down south to Central Otago, where I had already been last summer. I really enjoyed the area back then and decided to go back to look for some work in the winter, which is supposed to be really cold and snowy in this region! I found some cash-in-hand work doing some odd jobs for several people in Oturehua. Gardening, raking leaves, helping running a small hostel, helping out at the local pub, chopping firewood... That kind of things! A very nice experience, for this town has only about fourty inhabitants. It was special to be part of a small local community for a while! The downside was, though, that eventually there was no work for me anymore. And also: the winters been so mild that we didnt get a single flake of snow! The sake of Mother Nature... But well, thats how it goes.

On the way back north, I figured that the decision to go to Central Otago wasnt the best in financial prospect. I simply didnt make enough hours in my time there to save up a decent amount of money. Also: basically the only means of entertainment in town was the pub! On the way pack to Picton, I visited friends in Akaroa, spent more money and realized that I was pretty much broke again and that I had to look for a new job. So thats what Im going to do now: take the ferry to the North Island tomorrow and look for temporary work again in Wellington, and otherwise elsewhere. Ive spent eight months on the South Island only so far, so it feels like a new adventure going to the other island. Im really looking forward to the next months! And with the Rugby World Cup coming closer, I definitely should be able to find some work this Spring too ;)

by Gijs Lijbers
23/07/2011 9:26:36 PM

Gijs Lijbers cash-in-hand odd jobs

Hi everyone! I hope you are all fine, enjoying New-Zealand or dreaming about it ;-)
First, I will tell you a bit about myself. My name is Nils, I’m a young French man (24), have studied software engineering and worked two years as an IT-Manager close to Strasbourg in France. I’ve met there my lovely girlfriend Emilie. I’ve got German and Dutch family and I’m used to travel since my early childhood.
Our story (related to New-Zealand) started last year in November. Emilie and I had both a work contract ending in December. We both thought that it was a great opportunity to travel – well, when you’ve found a long term job it’s hard to leave for more than two weeks.
A friend of mine who spent one year in New Zealand told me a lot of good things about this country. An English speaking country where people are described as very nice and where the landscape should be wonderful? A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them!
We applied for a working holiday visa online. I got mine after three days and Emilie needed to send an X-Ray of her lungs because she has spent more than 3 months in Russia. (She had to prove that she has not the tuberculosis disease).
Couchsurfing, WWOOF, HelpX … There are a lot of websites made for travellers who need a place to stay (in exchange of a few hour work a day, or not). We arrived mid-January in Auckland and spent the first night there at a Couchsurfer’s house. We went next day directly to Te Puke where our first WWOOF-hosts were waiting for us.
We couldn’t find a better place! The people were so lovely and their place was so beautiful! We had our first woofing experience on their kiwi orchard: three weeks of weeding (we didn’t know at that time that weeding is the most common WWOOF-job), grabbing thistle out, thinning, housekeeping … We saw for the first time kiwi vines and learned that kiwifruits are not always perfectly shaped like the ones we buy in the supermarket. We also heard for the first time about the devastating PSA-disease and could feel how worried our hosts were. But even though, they kept a positive mind and kept smiling.
We decided at that time to buy a car. Hitchhiking is nice and works well in New-Zealand (compared to France…) but when you see only one car per half-hour driving in the wanted direction, it makes you. We had a look at that ads on the New World panel and texted the first interesting one to ask for more details. First answer from the guy: “R u indian?”. Strange. He texted us later that Indians are not good to deal with. OK… We arranged a meeting to see the car and what a surprise. The guy is Indian! Trying to sell the car of one of his friend stuck in Australia and who can’t get back and blah-blah. We didn’t buy it. Finally, we bought a second hand car at a garage. It feels much safer when you don’t know much about mechanical stuff.
Taupo, Gisbourne, Hastings, Palmerston North, Otaki… We spent a few weeks woofing/helping/travelling through the north island and met a lot of great people. All our hosts were nice and made us feel welcome at their home. As we needed money for our journey, we worked as apple pickers at an orchard close to Hastings. Finding the job was not an easy task considering that we were still in Taupo when we looked for it. We searched for a while on the internet and found the contact details of an orchard manager. We called him and on our way to Gisborne we stopped in Hastings to meet him. They even rent caravans to the pickers. Great!
Apple picking is hard work. You have to climb up and down a ladder all the day long to reach the summits. It can be freezing, your hands are getting cold by touching apples, sometimes they are wet and the water pours down your arms while you are picking them. And you have still to pick fast if you are on contract (and want to earn more money). We saw pickers who worked like robots. Some days, one of them could nearly pick as much apples as Emilie and I together. But even if it was hard, it was a great experience. The manager and the owners at this place were (and still are!) nice and friendly. We had a lot of good times, met new people and made new friends we will certainly meet again back in Europe.
At least, we spent a week-end in Wellington with another French couple we have met in Taupo. After three months spent on the countryside, it was so strange to be in a big city again!
We arrived in the south island in May and continued our journey, woofing/helping here and there. We also had our first bad experience with a host, but never mind, we had a great time with all the others, that’s the important thing to remember.
Finally, we’ve landed in Queenstown at the end of May and plan to stay until the end of our journey here. The snow is late this year and it’s really hard to find a job: for a car groom position, Jucy Rentals got 180 CVs… That’s CRAZY! Luckily, Emily found a job at a bakery and she can pay the rent for our room while I keep trying finding a job. Ipity all the shop/bar personal who have to permanently tell to people like me that they have nothing available, but most of them are understanding and trying to help us and to cheer us up, that’s great!

by Nils De Winter
23/07/2011 9:24:45 PM

Nils De Winter A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them!

When I first arrived in New Zealand I applied for jobs everywhere you could possibly imagine, spending large amounts of my day in an underground internet cafe/karaoke bar. Between versions of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. being absolutely murdered by shrieking girls (and sometimes guys) I managed to find a job at a marketing company looking for a few people to join their vibrant sales team. I figured what the hell, applied, and finally left the god-awful karaoke din behind. A few days later I was offered an interview - a few questions asked and answered over the phone, such as whether I was willing to ask people for money as part of the job and how comfortable I was chatting to strangers. I was then asked to come in on a two-way observation day, for them to see what I was like and for me to see what they were like; up until now, I didnt actually have much of an idea what the job involved.

The obs day, as it was known, turned out to be quite good fun. I arrived at the office at some ungodly hour to fill in some information forms and meet the person who would interview me. This was where I discovered the job was basically marketing and fundraising on the street for various charities. I would never have considered this job at home, being one of those people who doesnt particularly like being marketed at in the street when Im desperately trying to get on with my life before the shops shut, but once again I thought what the hell - I wasnt exactly need deep in dollar. I followed a team of four out to their location on the North Shore, being asked all the usual interview-type questions along the way. My interviewer was very friendly, asking a bit about me as a person as opposed to a professional and putting me completely at ease. As I wasnt an employee yet I couldnt take part in the real process of the job and so I was given a mission to prove my confidence and personality in chatting to strangers - I was given a list of random questions to ask random strangers and given twenty minutes to go and come back with some interesting stories.

It was hilarious, really, and I genuinely did come back with some funny stories. I was offered the job and started the next day. Talking to strangers about the charity we were representing was good fun and I came across a lot of very interesting people with inspiring stories of their own. I loved the people I worked with and always had fun at work. However - as time went on I wasnt making the sales (as they were called, although really they were donations) and my senior couldnt work out why - I was good at chatting to people and being friendly; I just wasnt getting donations in. As we were paid entirely on commission I was earning less than I was spending on travel and expenses; eventually, I decided that it just wasnt worth it and quit. In two weeks, though, I learned an insane amount, grew in confidence, grew to know Auckland and its people very well and learned some inspiring stuff - the job itself just wasnt for me, and that was the only problem. I could tell that if this sort of job suited you then you could have an absolute ball and make some money as well, so if it sounds like you and you want an opening in sales then go for it!

by Siân Robinson
23/07/2011 9:22:55 PM

Siân Robinson Talking to strangers about charity

I came to New Zealand with a plan. Fresh out of college, with an agriculture/viticulture degree, and a reputation for ‘always’ being prepared, I was determined not to let New Zealand catch me off guard. Hoping to acquire a seasonal harvest position at a good winery, I submitted 400 resumes across the whole of New Zealand, both North and South Islands. I scouted out every wine related website I could get my hands on. ( & are an awesome start!) Out of 400 resumes, about 20-25 responded. Although there were a few interested wineries, most were polite dismissals with urgencies to visit if I ever made it down their way. (I would like to note: every turn down I received was extremely kind and not at all clinical. Just a taste of NZ hospitality.) I was finally able to nail an offer from GisVin ltd. in Gisborne, New Zealand. Having no winery experience, I jumped at the chance. I needed the opportunity to prove myself in a winery and GisVin extended the hand. I saved the $4,000+ as recommended (required) by the NZ immigration website (, for US citizens. I made copies of all important documents, cards, etc. I purchased a round trip ticket, intending to return home in four months. I did everything a seasonal worker is ‘suppose’ to do.

Skipping forward 3 months: I’m currently in Waipukurau! An odd place to end up, no? After the Gisborne winery and working 12hr. night shifts, my frazzled mind needed some R & R. I felt unfulfilled, even though I had accomplished what I had set out to do. So what next? BAM. Franz Josef, that’s what. Trudging over to the ever reliable, I found a ‘Tourism Assistant’ position offered at the Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat for full board. I e-mailed without hesitation. And I got it! I ended up spending one month at the beautiful retreat serving guests, cooking breakfast and dinner, performing housekeeping duties, baking cookies, baking cakes, …and more baking! (They are incredibly nice hosts and I suggest you give them some business if you are ever in the area. They deserve it. It is a lovely place to stay.) Embarrassingly, I gained a good 3-5kg at the very least and I’m still struggling to get my winery fit body back in shape. Feeling the itch to move onward once again, I travelled to Wellington in hopes of working for Fuel Coffee. I went for an interview last week and did not get the job. Another ‘what now?’ moment arose. Surfing the backpackerboard and gap year websites once again, I found a request for ‘house elf help’. I e-mailed pronto…and not more than 2 hours later I received a response.

AND…here I am…in Waipukurau…a very content house elf indeed. I’ve since secured seasonal viticulture work in Warkworth and I’m really psyched to start in June. Three months of seasonal viticulture work will allow me to extend my visa by 3 months, for a whopping 15 month adventure in New Zealand.

I came to New Zealand with my resume in mind. Finances were one my greatest concerns, as well as how the heck I was going to navigate around a country I had never visited. Although my future in viticulture and viniculture is still of importance, it doesn’t overwhelm me like it once it. Money is no longer a fear, as I have realized there are always kind people willing to take you on in exchange for accommodation. My advice: don’t worry, don’t over-plan, talk to people, eat good food, and drink good wine. Have a goal in mind, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out. Don’t be surprised if something else comes along. Don’t be surprised if you get everything you never knew you wanted.

I would love to tell you more, but it is impossible to type all my thoughts out in one night. Pop over to http:/// for the full spiel on my adventure. Thanks for reading and I wish you luck with finding a purpose for yourself. New Zealand is the place to do it!

by Katie Woolsey
23/07/2011 9:17:32 PM

Katie Woolsey Fresh out of college

I went for holiday working in New Zealand way back in 2006 together with 2 other friends. I am going to share here some experience I have brought back from the land of the long white clouds, Aoteroa!
A month before embarking on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, we had made quite a lot of research on where to go, where to work, mode of transport, accommodation, which airline to fly us there., etc. After getting our plane tickets, there was not much $$ left, so we have to travel on a really tight budget. We applied for our holiday working visa online, without much hassle we got the visa within few days. Our plan was to travel around north island for two weeks before settling in Blenheim for pruning jobs we had found online.
We arrived in Auckland, visited One Tree Hill, walk around the city for a bit, before making our way to Paihia. From Paihia, we travel down south to Rotorua, Taupo, Turangi, Whanganui National Park, Waitomo and Wellington where we took the ferry across the straits to Picton. Black water rafting and cave tubing at Waitomo and Tongariro Crossing at Whanganui National Park were the highlights of our two-week stay in North Island.
We took a ferry from Wellington across the straits to Picton. From Picton we made our way to Blenheim. We were told by the vineyard contractor that we could not start work immediately. We stayed at Spring Creek for about 2 weeks, while waiting for the contractor to call us to start the pruning job he had offered us. It was quite a long wait, as we don’t have much $$ left to spend. Finally, the time has come for us to start work. We were paid about $0.60 to $0.90 per tree. We worked from 7:30am till 5:00pm, Mondays to Fridays, rain or shine. After deducting tax and transport cost, we manage to take back about $350 per week. With the money that we had earned in about 6 weeks, we rent a car and travel down south to Timaru to meet our friend who was staying and working there at that time. Below were some places that we had been to in South Island:-
Aoraki / Mount Cook
Dunedin – visited Baldwin Street which is reputed as being the world’s steepest street, Cadbury chocolate factory and Speight’s brewery
Fox & Franz Josef Glacier
Hampden – the award winning fish and chips shop is a must-go
Hanmer Springs – felt like Christmas because it was snowing when we were there; it was like walking in the winter wonderland
Milford Sound / Te Anau
Moeraki Boulders
Oamaru – home of the blue penguin colony
Wanaka – had an amazing time at Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World
Thank you, Alice and Sheila, for showing us around when we were there. It has been 5 years, I may have forgotten the names of some places I had been to, but looking back at the pictures that I had taken, they never fail remind me of those great times.

by Law Siaw Sun
23/07/2011 9:13:23 PM

Law Siaw Sun Working trees for $350 per week

Recently as I was lookin for a new job here in NZ and I stumbled upon your page, so I decided to tell my story a bit different - via text...

Im originally from germany, grew up in the south and found my passion in a - for that area quite unusual sport: Windsurfing!
After a long time in school (and many wagged days to challenge the latest storm on my local lake), it was quite clear for me that I couldnt live a life far away from water and trapped behind a desk.

So I hit the web and - straightforward as I am - put all my hope into ONE SINGLE application at the most decent looking advertisment for new windsurf instructors. A few weeks later I had practically a new life:
From now on I lived on my own in a caravan, right in front of the sea (admittedly, it was behind the dunes). I taught people how to windsurf and could share the one thing I loved and still love the most. And after the season (it can get pretty cold in good ol germany) in summertime, I took up travelling and visited all sorts of places - Italy, Denmark, The Canaries, Cape Verde, Morocco, Hawaii and now New Zealand.

Things up there worked out pretty good and I made this great place my new home - check out the Surf + Kite Club Zingst ( for more if you want.

During my trips, I also took up surfing (without a sail) and I havent been sailing on flatwater or on lakes since I went up to north germany. I love waves and I dedicated my whole life to be as much as possible in the elemtents, I stopped drinking, smoking, eat healthy, do some workout on the land when there surfs flat and go to bed early.
Im literally addicted to waves. Sometimes I drive a couple of hours to a surf spot, spend heaps of money, get up in the middle of the night to be at the spot at sunrise - just to catch a wave.

Although it sounds pretty much like that, but Im not a happy-go-lucky person. While I was still in school I often had quite major depressions and I still have them occassionally, coming with panic attacks and I got problems to deal with people. All the therapies I tried back in germany were more or less unsuccessfull. But I found a remedy and it is surfing and windsurfing and sharing this passion with others, even if its just for short (sometimes Im able to keep up my mood). You can say that almost every day is quite a big challenge for me. But itll never keep me off from travelling and chargin for waves.

I dont know where Id be now and what Id have become without windsurfing and surfing - but I might miss something. Life can be great.

After three years of being a windsurf instructor in germany, I decided to take a break, so I went this year (2011) to New Zealand. After my last trip with the Surf + Kite Club Crew to Hawaii, I booked my tickets to Auckland Airport and with nothing more than some Euros, a few clothes and sure enough my gigantic board bag full of surf and windsurf gear, I arrived - no plans, no information, nothing. I always travel like that, cant explain why, propably because I just dont like to plan for the future, just to get dissappointed anyway.
On the airport I asked for any hostel somewhere around and took a shuttle together with some other tourists right into the CBD. People always look funny when they see me carrying a 2,6m bag around.

After being awake for more than 40h in cars and airports, I took a quick nap of about a day length. Later on I checked out my new location, Auckland is a beautiful town with its seaside although you are in the middle of the sea you are sorrounded by land. Fascinated and refreshed, I went to an internet cafe and lucky enough I found a website of a surf school advertising for work as a windsurf instructor.

From my newly purchased NZ SIM card I gave the school owner a call, we met, had a quick chat in a starbucks cafe and a few days later I held my first lesson in English on the beautiful beach of Mission Bay. I was a bit nervous because of the unknown location and the new language to teach in - although my day-to-day english is quite experienced through all my travels (not from school by the way - I never listened). So people drifted through the whole beach because I forgot to tell them to stay close, but its a safe beach and in the end we all had a laugh about it.

In the meanwhile I did some calls to different campervan owners that wanted to sell their vans and after having seen the first one and not very keen to deal with another night in the crowded hostel in the CBD, I bought it. It is beautiful hand-painted, got some miles down already and later on I had to fix some (luckily not very major) issues with the engine, but I was happy to be out there, have my own home and to be mobile. Later on my quite friendly boss (hes actually a psychologist from the UK btw) invited me to stay at his house with his family quite often, so I have a second home as well if I want.

From then on I taught almost every weekend till the end of the season. And I love it, sometimes you get burned by the sun because you forgot to use suncream, sometimes you cant sleep because of all the sand in your van, sometimes you got cuts in your feet from the shells, but there wont be many jobs were you can hang out on the beach the whole day, get to know new people and be just busy with the thing you love the most! Altogether its not so different from germany, its a different language, another sea, another location, different people, but its still windsurfing.
But I noticed one important thing - that Kiwis show their emotions while windsurfing way more than germans do. And its such a good feeling to bring someone else joy, all the money couldnt pay for that. Unfortunately though, as almost everywhere I travelled, people seem to love and enjoy windsurfing incredibly much from the first few moments, but seldomly you see someone spending much time for it. People should know that career, money and all the luxury is far not as important as being happy and fulfilling your dreams. Saying this, guys keep on doing what you love! Maybe see you next time on the beach! Ill be on Mission Bay Watersports next summer again. Check for more.

Now its getting a bit chilly here - but still warm compared to the german winter, so Im holding out and check out the millions of different surf spots NZ got to offer. The swells hitting the coastline is determining where I go next and so live keeps on going. Occassionaly I make some money with some board repairs and what I didnt mention yet is that I feel quite confident in webdesign so I design and script homepages - mainly for surf schools including booking system, content managment systems and all sorts of stuff. I sometimes get invited to peoples home - its incredible how open-minded and friendly people are here without knowing you just a little bit.

All in all, Im quite happy with my current life style. Sometimes Im nearly or completly broke, but as long as Im close to the sea and have at least one surfboard left, everything is alright. For anyone else, whos impressed by that story...go, do a windsurf/surf/kite course, get infected by the virus and life the dream. Even if you dont have any experience, a surf school is always looking for helpers. Always make personal contact, show them that this is what you wanna do and you should be fine!

Hope thats not too much, but hey - you wanted more than just a few sentences - and this is the short version already :)

Ill attach some pictures from a special event - a school booking we did up in Thawaranui. We taught more than 70 people how to windsurf and went kayaking with them for three whole days. That was pretty cool!

Good luck to everyone else out there lookin for jobs. All the best, Dan.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (13)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (14)

by Dan
17/07/2011 2:04:44 AM

Dan German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand

My name is Diego and I am from Spain. I was living in Ireland with my girlfriend Kairika, from Estonia, when we decided to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand. We had saved some money and our plan was to travel around New Zealand and work in seasonal jobs in our route to keep travelling and doing activities.

We arrived in Christchurch in January 2011, and after a few days in the city we bought a beautiful camper-van to start our adventure in the other side of the world. It did not take long time to realise that we were in the perfect place to live on the road. New Zealand is an amazing country if you like outdoors life, and we certainly do. There are stunning spots everywhere, breathtaking views and a modern infrastructure of holiday parks, conservation campsites, public toilets and parks, i-sites with free tourism information, etc. An authentic paradise for nature lovers.

After one month travelling in South Island we decided it was time for us to find a seasonal job, stay for a few weeks in some place and live a totally different experience. We found out there was an office in Alexandra (Central Otago) called Seasonal Solutions who help backpackers or anyone willing to work in horticultural and viticultural industry in the area, so we went there and registered ourselves as job seekers. They even helped us with immigration advise and to get our IRD number.

After a few days we got a text message in my cell phone requesting confirmation to start working in a vineyard in Cromwell (Central Otago) next day. We confirmed our interest and next day early in the morning we went to the meeting point in Cromwell where we met our manager and workmates and we all went to the vineyard where we would be working for the following five weeks. There were people from everywhere: Germany, United States, France, Chile, Vanuatu, Malaysia, etc. and everybody was really friendly and nice, so it was a very good international work atmosphere full of jokes, laughs and, yes, some hard work under the sun and good money too. Our task consisted basically on thinning the vines. Harvest was coming soon and we had to make sure that the wine produced was going to meet certain quality standards, so armed with gloves and scissors we were dropping the bunches of grapes not matured and leaving those healthier following some instructions from our managers. It was easy, mechanic, and the good atmosphere at work allowed all of us to enjoy our days in the vineyard.

When all the vines were almost ready for the harvest our job was different. This time we had to cover all the vines with nets for the birds not to eat the juicy and sweet grapes. I have to admit that I enjoyed more this task. In pairs, each one of us in each side of the vine row was clipping the net wrapping completely the bush with it. It was easy too, and our manager used to play good rock music in his powerful car stereo so we could listen to it while working, which helped a lot. I even improved my dancing skills!

We used to meet after work to have some beers together in Cromwell, and I have to say that I will not forget either the taste of the cold beer relaxed in good company after a long work shift under the sun. It was a great time that now we remember with a smile in our face.

Five weeks later we had to say goodbye to everyone as we were not staying for the harvest. We had enough money to go back to the road and continue exploring the beautiful country, its mountains, lakes, beaches and culture. We crossed then by ferry to the North Island looking forward to getting new adventures.

The next time we decided to work we went directly to Bay of Plenty region, which is well known for its kiwifruit production. We arrived in Te Puke, close to Tauranga, and we went directly to the i-site to ask for information about seasonal job opportunities in the area. The woman in the office nicely gave us a page with a list of kiwifruit packing houses and fruit picking companies and she informed us that in one of them they needed staff immediately for sure. We took the van and drove directly to the mentioned packing house, where they asked us if we could start immediately.

It was surprisingly fast, in 30 minutes we had signed the contract and we had our aprons on while attending to the induction to learn how to grade kiwifruits. It was a huge packing house, again with people from everywhere working in different departments. There were packers in charge of packing the fruits. There were warehouse staff in charge of transporting the pales. There were also people controlling machinery, testing the quality of the fruit and managers to assure the proper running of everything. And finally, there were fruit graders with me and my girlfriend among them. Basically we were two or three of us in each position, seeing thousands of kiwis rolling in front of our eyes, and we had to decide, according to some standards, which one belonged to class A, which one to class B, and which ones were not fit for consumption. It was an easy job and the managers were really nice with all of us. We even had free cookies, coffee and tea in our breaks, and a nice terrace to sit down under the morning sun to rest. After almost 4 weeks, the kiwi season was over, and the company thanked all of us with an amazing lunch that nobody expected. It was certainly a company where I would not doubt to come back next year or to recommend.

With the good memories and our pockets filled again we were back on the road. And this has not finished yet. What will it be next?


by Diego
17/07/2011 2:00:05 AM

Diego Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand

Hi, my name is Estefanía and i’m chilean.
My story is really short, I’ve being here only for three month, so I think that the best is jet to came.
Me and my boyfriend planned this trip, not for so long.
We had the idea, we apply to the visa, we sell most things we could, and we just take the plane and came.
We arrived only with a couple hundred dollars, just to sleep and eat for a couple of days. The first two days, we spent all day….and I mean all day, in the library trying to find out the next move. We didn’t know much about New Zealand, only that there were seasonal jobs in some regions.
I was starting to get a little worried, when, I don’t quite remember how, I got into this web site about a small town in northland call Kerikeri. The web site ( ) about a backpacker’s and they offer to found you jobs. Great! So we took our backpacks, and hit the road!
Everything from there went great. The third day we arrive we start working in this packhouse in the night shift. At first, a crazy job for us (a scriptwriter and a cook); pack house, machines, and fruit everywhere!!! But at the end it was wonderful, we met great people, we had this crazy surfer good to drink beer boss, awesome supervisors and finally a great team.
Great place Kerikeri, nice fishing, fantastic places to visit, so many beaches close, and we are in winter! Imagine in summer!!
But, like everything, nightshift came to an end. So we got out of jobs.
We are still in Kerikeri trying to find something. It would be great for us to stay here until August or September. But the reality rules, so if we don’t find anything in the next week, we must part.
Anybody knows good place to go now, jobs available, in kitchens maybe?
Just asking!


by Steph
17/07/2011 1:56:54 AM

Steph We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand

I chose to work in New Zealand on a temporary basis using a "Working Holiday Visa". Through email and various Skype conversations I was able to secure a job working as a nanny to three small children. Lucy (11), James (9) and Drew (9). The two twin boys proved to be quite a handful!

The family were based near Waimai in a light-brick one storey house with lots of lovely large glass windows. What immediately striked me as different to my small appartment in London, was the severe diffference in the amount of space available. In New Zealand (one of the children told me - James I think) there are apparently more sheep than people! I would not argue with that! It seems that everyone has a decent sized garden - even in the more built up areas and small towns.

The people of New Zealand are noticeably friendly and will go absolutely out of their way to help you. In huge contrast therefore to, you guessed it, the British (I can say this as I am 100% POM as the Kiwis call us) who will readily send tourists in the wrong direction just to save time and hurry on. The entire family could not have made me feel more welcomed into their home. What I loved about the job - was the balance that I was able to achieve between work and travel. The hours of job were not long and I was given weekends off which meant that there was lots of time for seeing all the things that I had placed post-it notes next to in my Travel Guide. Another bonus of being a nanny, is that often (for practicality) you can be given a car. I was one of these fortunate people! It made getting out and about to see these attractions so much easier, and an increased sense of flexibility.

I would definitely recommend to anyone thinking of working abroad on a seasonal contract in New Zealand to go for it. If you heart is in it - then there is no way that you cant have an absolutely fantastic time in the land of the long white cloud. I know I did.

by Laura
17/07/2011 1:54:19 AM


I am a kiwi so I have worked a lot in a lot of different jobs in New Zealand. Over the past six months I have travelled a lot around New Zealand, mostly around the upper South Island, with a break in Taranaki over Christmas/New Years. When I first restarted my travels in the South Island in 2011, I was fortunate enough to already have a job lined up through a friend from Wellington. He owns a property near lake Ohau and was looking for a extra pair of hands to help clear the wilding pines that were becoming a real problem there. The assignment was for two weeks at the beginning of May. I had read about the wilding pines problem in the South Island, but nothing can prepare you for the scale of the problem. Literally, there were pines as far as the eye could see, and that was just on his one property. Luckily the pay was very good and we had help to tackle the infestation from both the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird. It was not easy work but it was rewarding. Not only did I know I was working towards something of real value, protecting New Zealands natural heritage, but when you have been down pulling out, and cutting down, pines for hours, you stand up to stretch and all around you in an amazing vista.
The lake was a intense blue and the hills caped with snow. On a clear day you could see the Southern Alps across the lake. It was truly stunning.
There were plenty of recreational activities in the area. The Ohau Ski lodge was nearby (though ski season was not due to start until July), There was walking in the hills, as well as mountain biking tracks.
Food and accommodation was provided as part of the arrangement, in a quaint little cottage nestled amongst douglas fur and NZ beech.
When the assignment was over I was sore and tired. But my camera was full, I was proud to have achieved something and my bank account was a little healthier allowing me to focus on travel unhampered by financial concerns for a time.

The work is ongoing. They are due for another blitz this October, and I am sure that around then the property owner will be looking for students and travellers for another two weeks work.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (15)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (16)

by Robert Garrett
17/07/2011 1:43:49 AM

Robert Garrett Wilding Pines

Hey,we are a german couple, Carolin and Philipp , 19 and 20 and we are for a half year with a working holiday visa in New Zealand. We are traveling with a van trough the country.
Our first place to work was in Gisborne in the beginning of the new year. We took some flyers of the wineries in the surrounding from the i-Site and called them. By hazard, the third one got work for some weeks and so we worked there together with some guys from France and South America. Our job was to pluck the leaves, that the fruits get more air and sun. After that we hung nets to protect the plants of birds.
The job was not very hard in fact only the back was hurting very much. Our boss was very nice and friendly. For smoko we got tee, coffee and sometimes cookies and after work we got the possibility to taste the homemade wines.
After two weeks all work had been done and we had to look for another job. In our hostel there was an announcement for plucking leaves on a big vineyard and we decided to go there. The boss was very unfriendly and the job quite hard. It was payed on production: for every plant you get 12cent or per row 30$. It wasnt possible to do more than 1.5 rows per day and therefore we quit the job after two days and moved on. Later we got to know that they cheated on us. In the end all had been payed hourly and it was only to keep us working fast.
After traveling on South Island we stopped to work in Blenheim.A aunt in Germany has a customer who came from New Zealand to Germany. He has some relatives in Blenheim who have a Winery. The bad thing was, that we knew only the name of the relative and nothing more. After a lot of nerve-racking phone-calls we got to know that he is at the moment in Australia on holidays - so no work for us. In general at this time all people in the hostel searched for work - without luck . Two other Germans gave us a number from a contractor, she should have work but they tried it and had no luck. We thought that we could at least try it and called her. After 2 minutes we had a job on vineyard.
The first two days we went there for thinning and then started with harvesting for a big company of the region. The payment was on contract, the amount depends on the size of the bunches we had to pick. For the bigger and so easier ones we got 80c and for the plants with more and smaller grapes we got up to 1,20$. Every worker had some stickers with an individual number, which we put on the irrigation line of each bay, one bay has 3 or 4 plants. At the end of the day a supervisor went throw the rows and counted the stickers of each person. Actually you have to trust them because you have no proof of the work you did.
All in all the team was a little bit confusing, because every day it was another time that they pick us. Some days we had to wait up to two hours without knowing if someone comes. Additionally we picked shallots for some days. It was payed hourly but working the whole day on your knees with the dust around you was quite hard. After we decided to stop working it took a long time that we got all of our money on our bank account.
Back on North Island we called our old boss in Gisborne and she said that maybe in a few weeks there would be some work for us. She also passed our number to other winemakers and finally she and 2 others called us, that they need our help. We went spontaneously from Taupo to Gisborne once again and worked one week for them. It was very nice to see our boss again. Now she is no more a employer but a very good friend for us. We also bought there some wine for our family in Germany to show them „our“ wine.
Our last stop was in Tauranga, there we wanted to work in a pack-house but they had all no vacancies and a long list of applications. Working as a kiwi fruit picker would be for a girl too hard, anyway they wanted only boys. On the internet we found some smaller jobs on little farms and did this for a few days. So all in all we would say, that if you really want to work, it is easy to find a job in New Zealand. You have to be willing to work hard for the minimum wage and under all conditions but with a little bit of luck you meet great people from all over the world and you make friends with them. We made here experiences we would never have made in Germany.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (17)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (18)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (19)

by Carolin and Philipp
8/05/2011 10:45:37 PM

Carolin and Philipp boss was very nice and friendly

I arrived in New Zealand ready to travel but knowing I would need to find a job within a couple months so I decided to wait and see what opportunities presented themselves during my journey. As I visited every wine region I could, I kept an eye out for jobs in the wine industry, preferably in a tasting room. Initially I didn’t want to work as a cellar hand after an unfortunately miserable experience in Australia, but kept a few contacts from my sister in law (who sells wine in the US) just in case I changed my mind. I was also WWOOFing and purposefully chose hosts that were in wine regions or involved in winemaking, giving me great insight on the local wine industry and the growing areas. After traveling through the North Island, I arrived in Marlborough at the end of February, out of money and knowing that it was very unlikely that I would find a job in a tasting room as I hoped, so I started asking around at the wineries in the area to see if anyone was still looking for vintage help; picking grapes was a last resort. It seemed that I was a few weeks too late for Marlborough since vintage had already begun, so I emailed all the wineries with job vacancies listed online as well as the contacts from my sister in law. Miraculously within an hour, I had a phone call from a contract winery in Cental Otago who wanted to hire me to start in two weeks time. I was thrilled! Vintage in Central Otago was an awesome experience, I learned so much and was worked with some amazing people. I later realized that I was just at the right place at the right time because the winery had received many CV’s previously but only later realized that they needed more help just as I sent them my CV. The fact that I was in the country, had experience in the wine industry and needed a job immediately worked to my advantage. This obviously emphasizes the value of good contacts when traveling and the need to be flexible. Those looking for a job in the industry may have more luck in Hawks Bay since it seemed that wineries were still looking for vintage help in mid February (I wanted to continue traveling at the time though). It is also important to note that most wineries are quite small and only hire on an extra person or two during vintage except the larger contract wineries or bulk facilities (mostly in Marlborough); this also means that tasting room jobs are pretty much permanent positions held by family members or friends. My advice those looking for vintage work is try to find a contact to get your foot in the door at a winery, email as many wineries as possible and ask for suggestions about where else to apply, look at bigger facilities who hire more people and if nothing else, just go and hope for the best. If nothing else you will be able to find a job picking grapes easily by applying at agencies in whichever location you choose if you are there at the right time. I was lucky but I also came as a traveler with no set plans rather than a winemaker looking for a specific position and location, which was to my advantage in the end. Experiencing the wine industry in New Zealand has been amazing, I couldn’t be more thankful for an incredible opportunity to increase my knowledge of wine while allowing me to be part of the kiwi culture. Cheers!

by Amanda Haehl
8/05/2011 8:46:18 PM

Amanda Haehl Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry

« To keep the doctor away, eat an apple a day »!

Well that’s one easy thing to do when you work at Mr Apple. We had read about this company, employing over 1500 people during peak season,
on Seasonal Jobs’ website as we first arrived in New Zealand. We happily drove our way through the North Island, and when we got to Hawke’s Bay we thought we might knock on Mr Apple’s door and give it a try. As everyone else, we did want to reach South Island with a little something in our pockets. A call on Saturday and a short form filled on Monday, that’s what it took to get started on Tuesday!

We would work night shifts at the Whakatu Packhouse, 6 days a week, from 3.30pm to 12.30am, with two 30 minutes break amusingly called “smoko”, and would be paid 13$ per hour for 5 weeks. Doesn’t matter what your background is, as long as your back works! The Packhouse atmosphere felt warm and friendly at once. People coming to work in their bright yellow uniform shirt seemed to have arrived from every continent. Chinese people, Koreans, South Africans, Polish, Irish, others from Samoa, Tahiti, the usual Kiwis and now us French! A real international melting-pot gathered to provide the best apples to the world.

That being said, our manager warned us at once, it’s not an easy job, involving a lot of standing, twisting, speeding and lifting. The job consists in sorting out good apples from bad ones, placing the good apples on trays, turning them around so they are lined up and have their red side up, and all this, at the speed of lightning. The first day was a complete nightmare, we felt as if we were in hell, a place filled with apples, coming at you so fast that you got completely overwhelmed and ended up drowning beneath a sea of apples. In French, the saying “tomber dans les pommes” literally “falling into apples” means fainting, and this first day at work I thought: it must have been someone working in a Packhouse that invented that saying. Hopefully, plenty of nice people came to help us and give
us some good tips! They said that our back would be killing us for a few days, but that after a week, we wouldn’t feel any more pain. And that’s what happened.

As the days went by, we got better and better at handling those apples, crunchy Pink Lady apples, beautiful NZ Roses, shiny Granny Smiths but mostly funky Fujis, coming in different sizes. Sometimes, we could even handle both our apples and a conversation about the Chinese society today or Maori language with our neighbor. Speaking of languages, the Packhouse is better than school when it comes to learn foreign languages. Everybody comes to ask us some useful French
words, and we got taught a good deal of Samoa!

After a week, we also tried to vary activities, packing apples away by putting trays in boxes. We noticed that everyday had its share of good and bad. One day it’s pay day, one day it’s chocolate cookie for everyone, one day it’s meeting a new pal, and then another day it’s crazy speedy day when both fingers and eyes turn as red as the apples. And then you realize, it’s not sheep that you count as you go to sleep... But the good atmosphere always makes up for it, and with such a good team, it came as no surprise when everyone arrived dressed as a rabbit the day before Easter and chocolate eggs were handed out to all of us!

Also, no doubt that working night shifts in a Packhouse had its share of advantages: no one asks you for a degree or even if you speak English, you don’t depend on the weather to go to work and you get to enjoy the morning in beautiful Hawke’s Bay and discover plenty of nice places around Napier, Cape Kidnappers or the Te Mata Peak.

Here is all the info you need to have your own Mr Apple experience:

Address of the Pachouse: Station Road – Whakatu (Between Napier and Hastings)

Phone: 06 873 1061 / 06 873 1070


Seasonal work starts in February : graders , packers, tray fillers, stackers, quality controllers, packers.

by Caroline Fullenwarth
2/05/2011 8:08:39 PM

Caroline Fullenwarth Mr Apple packhouse experience

North Island Notes
Having fallen truly in love with the raw, sprawling magnificence of the South Island, I got onto the
ferry at Picton with trepidation, not sure what to expect of the North Island, except more people
than in the south. I arrived on a gloomy, raining afternoon in Wellington and must say that I was
overwhelmed by the city itself; by the amount of people, cars, traffic, city sounds, shops, colours
and buildings. I arrived at the backpackers I was staying at for a night and crashed, determined to
go exploring over the next few days to find the gems I could feel were glimmering in this notoriously
colourful and cultural city.

I went to the Te Papa museum and cannot recommend it highly enough. The staff are very
knowledgeable and willing to share their information with you enthusiastically. The layout is logical
and the displays are distinctive, fascinating and memorable. Cuba Street is a must in Wellington.
Walking up and down it can take minutes hours or days, depending on how entwined you get. The
eclectic smorgasbord of clothing shops, countless coffee shops, restaurants, clubs and bars, quirky,
small back-door art galleries (which are certainly worth investigating) and intriguing little side streets
that could lead to another world provide endless entertainment and stimulation. The people are
interesting and friendly and there is a phenomenal buzz in the air.

Moving further north, I landed in Rotorua, and it would be a shame to go there without seeing
the geothermal pools. I went to Wai-o-tapu, where bubbling mud pools, multi-coloured steaming
pools and geysers that shoot high into the air blew me away and are truly an amazing natural
phenomenon. The distinctive sulphurous smell was a reminder of how different and special this area
really is. Another of my favourite things about Rotorua and indeed of the entire country would be
the Zorb. It is a massive transparent ball into which people climb and is rolled down a hill, picking up
a surprising amount of speed as you watch the world fly by between tumbles and peals of laughter.
It was one of the best activities I ever done. I did mine through Ogo rather than at the Agro Dome,
as you get a longer stretch of grass down which to roll and thus it is far better value for money. I
recommend that you do the wet option where they fill the ball with water and also that you get the
photos or at least ask to see them afterwards – they are hilarious!

Another activity that I highly recommend is kayaking down the Whakapapa River in National Park.
I know that most people go to National Park to do the Tongariro Crossing, but when I was there
the weather was foul so we could not do the crossing - it is known to be an area with high weather
volatility. Thus, if you land up in National Park, the weather turns bad and you are at a loss for what
to do, ask around for the Adventure kayak company run by a woman called Sarah Cate. She will
come and collect you for the day and take you on a kayaking adventure you will never forget. She
is professional and laid back at the same time, a ball of energy and I guarantee you will have a well-
priced day saturated with fun and laughter.

I landed up in Auckland after a few weeks of travelling the North Island, needing to find work and
hoping to do a sailing course in the Bay of Islands, which I completed last week. If you are interested
in sailing and/or doing any sailing courses, I cannot recommend Bay Sail NZ highly enough. It is
run by Glen Caulton and from my first enquiry to the last goodbye, Glen went out of his way to
accommodate me and the others doing the course. The Bay of Islands is magnificent and seeing
it from a yacht is definitely one of the best ways to get the most out of the area. Glen does day
charters and a host of other yacht-based activities. All information can be found on his website. He
is an amazing sailor, very professional, I had complete faith in his ability, his 40ft sail yacht “She’s a
Lady” is wonderful to sail and be aboard and above all, Glen is a great man who is very easy-going
and easy to get along with.

After my sailing course, my bank balance was looking far worse for wear and thus I needed to get

a job. I have found one but it was not easy – I do not say this to frighten anyone, but it not always
a quick process to find a job. However, if you have the right attitude and keep at it, there is little
that will stand in your way if you put in the time and effort. From my limited experience, I highly
recommend that you take up-to-date CV’s to the streets and go in to companies/places to work
rather than relying mainly on web-based applications as you can feel the place out, meet some
faces and know right away how things have gone. If you drop off a CV, follow it up after a day or two
rather than waiting for them to get back to you – someone else may get the job otherwise.

In summary, I recommend that you get stuck into all that New Zealand has to offer. While the South
Island certainly is a special place, so is the North Island – there is plenty to do and see that is unlike
anywhere else and anything else, and it is definitely worth exploring. There are countless wonderful
small privately-owned companies who provide personal, small-group, well-run activities that are
worth supporting. If you do something with a company who offers you a good service, spread the
word to others so that everyone can benefit. Enjoy!

Gabriella Garnett

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (20)
Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (21)
Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (22)

by Gabriella Garnett
20/04/2011 8:07:10 PM

Gabriella Garnett North Island Notes

Hey guys, my name is Freddy, i am 19 years old and from Germany. I am in New Zealand now for half a year and started in Auckland to travel down south. But i came here to see something new in life, so just travelling one year would be quite boring. Because of that, and of course because the financial circ*mstances, i worked as well.
I started in Napier with fruitpicking - the typical backpackers job :p
I got it from the owner of the backpackers i stayed at (Wallys Backpackers, 7 Cathedral Lane, Napier 4110, (06) 833 7930 ) who had contacts to Crasborne, an agency which employes worker for their contacts (basicly fruit picking stuff). If you are around there searching for a job - go there!!! EVERYBODY in that hostel was working, and having a car, we arrived wednesday evening and got a job thursday morning!!! awesome ! ;)

After that I went to Christchurch to work for Savvy Direct - a Company which makes advertisem*nt for IHC, Red Cross and some other Charitys. I worked there as a salesman doing door to door sales or lets say tring to make people sign a monthly donation to the IHC (Interlectually Handicapped Children). I saw the position advertised in TradeMe and I have just applied for it, passed the interview and the working test (pretty easy ^^) and started. I have worked there for about a month which was an awesomly interesting experience, but after that i stopped because the payment was on contract and I was not bad in it, but i havent really had the motivation to increase my sale skills to much cause of having a problem with the moral behind it and so on. I mean it was for a good course - my motivation to give it a try - but i didnt feel comfortable to jump all the time to the salesman again when you started to have a good conversation after an eyesbreaker at the beginning. Just a personal thing, but im quite happy with my decission. But any way - awesome experience!!! And very good for your english. As soon as you are able to say a pitch of 1-3 minuts completly by hard you can really concentrate on HOW you say things. Good for the accent and quite funny, as far as testing people is concerned. In that case the job is extremly interesting and funny by the way. After a little while you start to do things, you would never do in your everyday-life, where you are a person, seen as such from everybody else. But beeing just the guy on the door from the IHC , even if that is exactly what you should not be to be succesful by the way ;), gives you the chance to try a lot of things you wouldnt like to try with people, you might meet again .

After that i worked in a Callcenter for the HIA Group, also in Christchurch. A friend of me told me about it, i just gave the boss a ring, had an interview and started to work the next week doing surveys on the phone. Good practise for my english. I also liked the job somehow, but the earthquake made it impossible to work there any more, cause the building i worked in was located in the centre. During that (because it was just from monday to thursday, 6h/day) i worked for accomodation in my hostel (Frienz Backpackers, 169 worcester Street 8011 CHCH) and on the weekend for Micky Finns, 85A Hereford Street CHCH, a quite big bar with heaps of bands playing in there - so quite buisy, always looking for somebody ;)
I also started to work specially on Friday and Saturday for a Relocation Company (The Office Relocation, Torc ), but yes - as i wrote before, the earthquake set an end to all that :( BUT they are allways looking for poeple and that might be all over the country. They are located in Wellington, but have a lot of stuff to do in christchurch, and if poeple need them anywhere else they go there aswell! Just give them a ring whereever you search something - funny group, good work and fast payment ;)

At the moment i work in Ashburton, helping with the potatoeharvest. I was visiting friends over here and just had a look in the newspaper on saturday, saw stuff searched, gave them a ring, drove over there and started the next day! The Agencys name is Tom Gundry -

37 Robinson Street
Ashburton 7700
(03) 308 3003
Ill stay there for about 2 weeks, cause im a little bit fed up with farmwork. But its very good money, cause you have the possibility to work up to 12h/day, 7 days a week.

At the moment im looking for jobs in auckland.

What i am doing in generel when i want to get a job somewhere;

-have a look on trademe, seasonal jobs &

-newspaper on saturday

-asking and talk to people around me (very very effectiv!!!). If i come noew to a city, i try to start somehwere where i have the chance to talk to a lot of people. Couchsurfing/big backpackers - Things like that give you the chance to meet people who could helo you ;)

You also shouldnt be afraid to just talk to people in the street. I mean im not taling about going to random people and ask them for a job, but lets say you are openig a new bank account and during the process theres a bit of time to chat with the guy/girl caring for you. Often they ask you about you, your plans etc and if that happens just tell them you are searching a job. Poeple here are awesomly willing to help you ! ;)

I was once standing in front of a cashmashine, waiting for my turn (3 people before me) and just explaining my friend behind me my plans, which were basicly to get a job quite soon. The womain before us, who obviously heard our conversation, just rurned around and told us to go to ..., cause she have just come from there and saw a sign stuff wanted.

One other thing i do is google more specified things. Once i did for example a little, one hour software test in christchurch. Very interesting for me, cause i like this kind of stuff and 25 bucks cash, which is not too bad for on hour of work. Since that, i allways google software testing which gives me the chance to see options, which wouldt be shown at the pages im usuallyu searching for. I would give you that advice in generel if you want to to something different than the typicaly backpacker jobs. If you hear from people that they are doing something interesting or you just see your self doing something which you cant find there - google it and try to find somehthing around you. Write a nice email with a gooc CV, try to make sure that you are motivated and people will maybe give you a chance to proove yourself ;)

I wish you all good luck and hope i could help you with that



by Freddy
20/04/2011 7:36:11 PM

Freddy Fruitpicking in Napier

Hi there,

I wrote an artikel about my New Zealand experiences and because there is not that much time left for me and my boyfriend Sebastian I want to tell u how the following time of my journey here was :)
The last essey stopped at my start of my wwoofingjob at the blueberryfarm in levin. Well, I was pretty excited at our first workingday - it was wednesday the 13.10. The hosts were both Germans so the communication was great cause we are also from Germany but I guess for my English it would have been better to talk some more english. So we started with weeding in the paddocks, surrounded by sheep and alpakas. 5 hours crawling and picking but I have to admit it was a good feeling to work outside. We started at 9, worked till 12, than we had a coffee break with blueberrymuffins or cake and a chat with the owner and some builders, after that we worked for 2 more hours. The builders were there because the plan was to build a new shop on the street before the berryseason started to have a better place for selling.
After a week weeding Sebastian and I helped there with painting, digging soil and gravel and removing nails. After nearly two happy month we decided to go somewhere else near New Plymouth. The funny thing was that Sebastians brother decided a short time after we made our decision to go to new zealand that he wants to do 6 month on a high school in New Plymouth as an exchangestudent. So we worked for an old lady in Oakura and visited Sebastians brother as often as possible. We had also a wwoofingjob in Oakura in a very steep garden with really big spiders and co*kroaches. It was tougher than in Levin though we had only 4 hours work per day and not 5. But the woman was nice and I guess my muscels are a bit stronger than before so it was also a good thing :) After this experience we took a week off from work and went camping at a holidaypark in Oakura. We had a great time, slept a lot, read some books and had a gorgeous view over the ocean. But as you can imagine we got bored after a week and decided to call the blueberryart cause we promised to come back for the harvestseason. And yeah, we came back for another 1 1/2 month. That was a really fun time cause we got the B&B flat with other young people. We lived together with guys from the USA, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. We´ve done 5 hours picking or sorting a day and after that we were able to earn money with some extra hours which is always a good thing... In the evening we went to the beach or did some mussles on the barbecue - probably the best barbecue ever, and i would have never expected to see such big blueberrys - wow!
A good thing was that we also liked the daughter of the farmowners and her husband so we went there the week before we left for the South Island and did some wwoofing there. It was a great time and we went for fishing around Kapiti, catched some fish and learned how to make it eatable and we went to the forest with a friend of the wwoofinghost and shot some possums to help New Zealands nature. We have done a lot of things we would never be able to do at home.
So, after a long time on the North Island we went to the South Island with the Bluebridgeferry cause it was a bit cheaper for us than the Interislander. We went to Picon for a week, camped on a DOC Campground and celebrated my birthday on the 2. of February. I can recomend you the DOC brochure with all the Campingplaces (free or cheaper than the "normal" ones!) After one week we travelled to Kaikoura and had a great time at the Puhi Puhi Reserve, also a free DOC Campground. We did the Kaikoura Looptrack, its a bit more than 2 1/2 hours but you see beautifull landscape and some seals. We´ve done it twice and I really reccomend it. We also got a new WOF for our beloved car. It was a bit of a thrill but thank god our car is perfectly fine and we can drive the next month without problems.
After that relaxing time it got a bit more activ. We decided to walk the St. James Walkway and bought some hut-tickets at the i-Site in Hanmer Springs then we drove to the Lewis Pass to do some camping before the start of our tramp. We decided to drive to the start of the walkway and take a look how the nature and the weather looks like. When we arrived we saw a letter with the information that Ann-Hut burnt down last year in April and they want to rebuild it in May this year. They also wrote about the cold weather at this time of the year and reccomended not to walk the track. We were really disappointed and drove on to Hokitika. We explained our story to the DOC people cause we had no further use of the tickets. She told us it would be not her problem cause we bought the ticks at the i-Site and so we had to go to the i-Site in Hokitika. A bit stressed we went to the i-Site as she told us and the lady at the counter told us its not the problem of the i-Site but of the DOC. We talked a while and after a few minutes we decided to sell her the ticks for 10% less. We were more than happy to get a part of the money back and booked a night in a cheap hotel after all the nights in a tent. We were excited about a TV and a bathroom in our room and also the matress was the highlight of the month :)
After that we went to the Franz Josef Glacier and made a short walk for some pictures and after that we drove on to the Fox Glacier and spend some nights at the Gillespies Beach (highly recomended cause the landscape is beautiful and we saw dolphins every morning).
Than we went on to Te Anau and wanted to camp at Lake Hauroko but after 24km we saw that the campingplace was closed. Don´t ask me why, I have no clue but we were really upset that there was not even a sign at the beginning of the road, i mean fuel is not that cheap and 48km on gravel is not the easyest thing. We found an other place and on the next morning we drove to the Catlins. Its a beautiful landscape and we hoped to see some penguins at Curio Bay, there were none but it was still a great place. The Campground was by the way closed because of the heavy rain in the last days, surprise...
At the moment we are near the Moeraki Bboulders, we were camping at the DOC campsite but because of the rain a nice guy told us to leave the place - the ford was under water and would become impassable...:) We booked already our room for the last week in auckland, we will sell our car 6 days before we leave and we are happy to have our buy-back guarantee cause some people told us its really hard to sell a car before the backpackerseason in august/september. Check the internet for Kiwi-Cruise-Control and look for our blue Mitsubishi in 1 Month :)
So, we put some new pictures on our blog but we have not that much internet and i think we will complete it at home, its not that long till then and im really surprised how fast the time is gone:)
If there are any questions, please contact me, im happy to help :))

by Anna Jakob
7/04/2011 8:22:24 AM

Anna Jakob blueberry harvest season

Hope that all of you are enjoying your time in New Zealand and those who are just considering to come- dont hesitate, it is beautiful country, and it is so easy and cool to travel around.
My story started 3 years ago, while I was working for Emirates airlines as a flight attendant and one of my trips took me to new Zealand- Auckland.
As soon as I found out that I can do skydive I signed for it as it was always my dream.
And that is when it all started and I met my partner working at that time as a skydive instuctor.
One year later I decided to join him and come to New Zealand.
We have been living since in Fox Glacier-Westcoast and working there too.
Fox Glacier is really tiny small town that has few motels, hostels and pubs :) so not much social life :) But on the other hand it i a paradise- raiforest, mountains with snow all aound the year a bit of driving and you can make a bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too...
You can do a skydive over there- what is unreal, hike the glacier or fly about it....well it is beautifull place that is hard to descibe with words.
I worked for a while at Cafe Neve- cool place with cool people and good food.
As everywhere in New Zealand I met there and worked with people from all over the world, what is really cool- I specially loved the Chillians, Argetinias :))).
While living in Fox Glacier we made few trips to North Island but I always loved to come back to South Island.
After 2 years we got a bit tired of the small town and we moved to Queenstown.
So here we are in Quennstown getting ready for winter season and some skiing:)
I am also at the moment looking for a new job what isnt so much fun but thats life.
Queenstown is also special town- many many tourists and young people. The only think I dont like is that most of your friens will be here just few months or for a season and than they take off...thats how Queenstown works and you better get used to it.
And what about the future? Well New Zealand is amazing country with lovely people so I can see myself living here. So who know how many people that came to New Zealand as a tourists stayed here 4ever :)

by Michaela Veselov
7/04/2011 8:17:12 AM

Michaela Veselov bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too

My name is James and Im a 24 year old from Denver, Colorado USA. Ever since I was very young Ive been traveling. Whether it was camping trips with my parents, chugging along the greater US with my grandparents in their RV, road trips with friends, or flying to other countries with my family, I eventually inherited a mean hunger to explore new places. In 2008, when my brother and his wife left the US to live in Australia, I saved up enough money to take a month off from work and go see them. That trip, before now, was the longest I had ever been away from my home country; and I loved it. I knew I wanted to do something big after that, but I just didnt know what. I loved Australia and the people there and thought about going back for an extended amount of time. It wasnt until mid-2010 when my vision of a lengthy overseas experience really came into perspective. My brother had just moved to Dunedin, NZ so his wife could obtain her masters at Uni. My parents called me one day to ask if I would be interested in checking out New Zealand with them - of course I was. Instead of following their original plan of 3 weeks abroad, I seized the opportunity to capitalize on this once in a lifetime chance and put things in motion. After quitting my job, selling my car, and obtaining a work visa, I said farewell to my friends and greater family back home and boarded a flight to Auckland.

I have never been truly alone in another country. Usually I have friends or family for an initial web of support and some would say Im not the most extroverted individual. It was time to put everything to the test. When my plane touched down in New Zealand I was excited but nervious. Where would I go? What would I do? Will I be able to handle this? I stayed in Auckland for a couple days with the plan to somehow make it to Dunedin to watch over my brothers house while he was away. I knew I wanted to find a job within a few weeks so I didnt have to spend all of my saved money. But, how was I going to get this accomplished? After meeting a fellow American in Auckland, I decided to follow him down to Queenstown, soak up that scene for a few days, and then bus down to Dunedin. It turns out that this was the cheapest way, at the time, to get to Dunners anyways.
I had a good time in Queenstown, but then again how couldnt I? The people in the hostile there, Nomads, were so nice. It was impossible to not meet new travelers who were eager to explore the city as well. I was very happy at the time that I had made it to the south island, met some cool people, and had already seen some amazing sights. Hell, the plane ride alone into Queenstown was so cool! Seeing the lakes, rivers, mountains, and open land through my tiny airplane window made me so excited to see more. Now, to make it down to Dunedin and find a job: how would I do this? Enter miracle bus ride.

Boarding the bus, I was excited to get a chance to see rural New Zealand. Coming from Denver which has a metropolitan area with about the same population as the country here, I was used to seeing big buildings, concrete, and cars. Now I was finally getting away from that and enjoying the endless scenery on my route. No one really talked on the bus, and being a bit introverted I didnt really make any effort to either. It didnt matter though, I was content with what I was seeing out of the bus windows which was enough for me. We cruised along for a bit and eventually pulled into Cromwell where the passengers going to Dunedin and the like were required to switch over to a different bus. No big deal. I stepped out for a cigarette and took my time outdoors in the middle of an area that I was wholly unfamiliar with. After five minutes, to the best of my knowledge I extinguised my cigarette and went and sat in one of the last 2 seats at the back of the bus. One spot was left, and the last passenger boarded, asking me if it was ok to take the seat next to me. Of course. What happened next had to have been fate.

"Mate! Youre on fire!!" I turned to the guy, with a dumbfounded look, and then looked down. What the hell! My shorts were smoking! I jumped off the bus, right past the driver who was explaining to everyone where we were headed, and put the blaze out. Super embarrassed, I reentered the bus but to my astonishment no one really reacted except for the 3 other people in the back, who no doubt were all laughing. I said something stupid and pulled out a book to try to escape the ridiculous reality of what had just happened. Impossible. After a couple of minutes I just burst out laughing and the guy next to me did too. Soon enough were we joking about the incident and eventually started talking about other stuff as the bus rolled on. Man, how freaking crazy to have done that! It turns out this guy was a kiwi tradesman who had just finished up a 6 week stint in Queenstown and was headed back home. Anyways after a good couple hours on the road, Pretorian (name change request per the individual), told me that he had a mate who was picking him up in Dunedin and could drop me off at my Bros place. Nice! Soon enough the bus came into Dunedin and we were off.

Halfway to my destination Pretorian suggests we grab a crate of beers and go to his place to tell his mates about the bus ride. Sounds awesome to me, I had nothing going on and was ready to meet some other locals here in Dunners. Plus youve got to admit what happened on the bus was damned entertaining. Come to find out, my brothers place is only four blocks from Pretorians! Sweet as! I drop my stuff off and head over to his place. We all have a good time and tell the story of how I came to be in their lounge that night. Good times. I go home that night satisfied that a dumb mistake turned out to be a good thing. As time goes by I stay in touch with the mighty Pretorian and we continue to hang out and have plenty of laughs.

A couple weeks go by and I am ready to leave Dunedin to venture off for work. As Im looking online at bus fares, etc I get a text that says, "Mate. Just hooked, lined, and sinkered this client who is keen on me hiring a couple people for work. Want a job?" No way! I shut my laptop and jumped for joy. I had never thought I would come to New Zealand and learn a trade, but now I was getting ready for a painting gig that was to begin in a couple of days. How cool is that?! Work was great and after a few weeks I was starting to get a hang of things. To seal the deal, and to keep up with the apparent stroke of luck i was having, Pretorian just had a mate move out and wanted to know if I wanted to live in his girlfriends and his flat. Rent was cheap, and the flatmates were super cool! Heck yeah! It just couldnt have turned out any better for me. I had accomplished all of my initial goals and it felt good.

I guess the moral of this story is, even when you stress about something or get down, the solution to your problems could be sitting right next to you. It really pays to talk to everyone you can because they can help open up doors for you and give you really great advice. I am forever grateful for what Pretorian and his girlfriend have done for me. Living at the flat has been such a good time and an awesome way to spend the first few months of my New Zealand adventure. Not to mention, Ive also learned how to prep and paint houses as an added bonus. With only a couple weeks of work left, Im now thinking ahead to what my next move will be. I cant imagine it going as smoothly as this one did, but then again you really never know. Cheers!

by James Sprecher
20/03/2011 11:10:39 PM

James Sprecher Mate! You are on fire!!

Having worked for 2 years towards coming to New Zealand, I thought I had enough money to last me a couple of months before I had to look for work. I was very wrong! When my friend and I arrived in Auckland, we were disappointed. Not that Auckland is a horrible city, but we’d just been (more than) slightly delusional to think that all of New Zealand would be like a spread from a National Geographic “Real Natural Beauty” edition. And it wasn’t; it was just a city like anywhere else.
We had both completely underestimated the jetlag, I don’t think either of us realised until two weeks or so after landing, just what an effect it had had on us. We decided after a couple of days roaming the streets of Auckland to head up to the Bay of Islands. Sadly, we’d booked for 2 weeks at Base Auckland, and could only get Base vouchers for their other hostels. Paihia was nice, overhyped but nice and pretty and we happily frittered our money away on fudge and ice creams and sky dives (Definitely recommended, although try not to pass out like I did!) Two weeks later, we returned to Auckland, nearly penniless and desperate for work. By chance we saw an advertisem*nt online for vineyard work in Blenheim. This was Friday, we contacted the man (Swampy, owner of Swampy’s Backpackers, Spring Creek) who said we had to be there by Sunday at the latest. We jumped on a 12 hour bus to Wellington the next morning and were in Spring Creek but mid morning on Sunday.
There were various people starting on Monday with us, and all the information we could find was “It’s very hard!” Informative. The real blow came when we learnt we were starting at 6am! 6am! I hadn’t even had to get up for school at 6am! But we bit the bullet, and at 5.15am the alarm woke us, bleary eyed and dreading what was to come. It was raining! Pelting, soaking rain! But our little posse, (us two Brits, 3 Czechs and a German) braved the storm and drove to the railway station where we were told to meet our employer. He was there in his truck, waiting to tell us to “Go home, we’ll try again in a couple of hours when it’s not raining.” Brilliant! By the time we were back in our warm beds, he text to say the rain had stopped, time for work!
It wasn’t that bad. We were wire lifting; As self explanatory as it sounds. Involving lifting metal wires along rows to raise the vines so that the grapes have room to grow. Some people are paid per post (anything from 3c to 12c a post) but we were on hourly, around $13.80. Which wasn’t brilliant but at least we could potter along at our own pace, and as it was nearly always sweltering, that was a definite bonus! Although we started at 6am, we finished between 2 and 3 pm, so we were back at the hostel before anyone else took over the kitchen and it gave us a lot more time to relax and do washing etc.
Now wire lifting was fairly easy, but bud rubbing nearly broke us. 10 of us spent 2 days on one block, doing the dreaded bud rubbing. If you’re on contract it’s supposed to be easier, as you’re more motivated to move forward. Hourly, we must have looked ridiculous. Bud rubbing involved rubbing off the lower growth on the vines, which means being bent double the entire time. By morning break (10am) we were like old hags, groaning and aching. The following morning I felt surprisingly good, until I jumped out of bed and my legs buckled beneath me!
After a month working for those contractors, we felt we had enough money and they had run out of work so we were jobless, but wealthy! However, we stayed at Swampy’s for 3 weeks over Christmas, that was 3 weeks of rent ($130 p/w) boozing and Christmas based cooking and presents! We were poor again! Having vowed never to work on a vineyard again we were forced to go back. This time for different contractors; wire lifting was finished by now so we were “ripping and tucking” – pulling off low hanging canes on the vines or tucking them under the wires if they had grapes on them; “second setting” – cutting off the second set of grapes which don’t ripen on time for the harvest and make the wine sour; “fruit thinning” – taking off excess bunches of grapes so that they ripen on time and the vineyard doesn’t go over it’s quota for that variety of grape; “colour thinning” – removing still green, unripened grapes from the ripened ones and “net clipping” – fastening long black or white nets around the vines with tiny plastic clips to prevent the birds eating the fruit. All in all, not very exciting work, we varied from contract for the ripping and tucking, and hourly for the rest ($13 p/h after tax) some days go quickly, when it’s not to hot and the work’s quite fast, other days when it’s sticky and sweltering and you take 3 hours to do a row make a day feel a week long. There’s something rewarding about it though, in the end. I’ve never worked so hard in my life and I feel proud that I managed to work for such long hours for 3 months in total.
However, I’m still in New Zealand, and I’m still dog poor, so the vineyards may be calling again…

by Holly Snowden, Wales UK
11/03/2011 9:46:29 PM

Holly Snowden, Wales UK The real vineyard work lowdown

Im a British student, currently reading for a law degree in the UK. I came to New Zealand as a backpacker almost entirely by accident. My parents emigrated to the Australian Gold Coast (they also live and work part of the time in NZ) when I was 16, whilst I stayed at home to finish my A levels, living with my grandmother. When I graduated from high school in the summer of 2009, I flew out to meet them because I hadnt seen them since I left, and Id never visited the South Pacific before. After spending a couple of weeks in almost constant 30C+ heat, I was excited to take my up my parents suggestion of a trip to the more temperate climate in Auckland. We stayed in the CBD, and I, whilst they shopped, spent my time exploring the - compared to London - modest but not undiverse nightlife of the city. By the time they were due to go back Id met some other travellers, and didnt feel like leaving so soon, given that theyd told me, and I was rather envious, of all their pursuits, from skydiving in Rotorua to - and yes, I know its cliche - exploring middle earth, on the South Island. Id pretty much run out of cash, however, by this point, so in order to fund experiencing some of these things, as well as to recompense my parents for the flight theyd paid for back to Queensland!, I figured I need to get a temporary job for a few weeks, at minimum. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the retail stuff in the city centre wanted people to commit for a year or so, which I wasnt prepared to do (I should add that, luckily, my folks had sorted out all of the work-visa stuff for me. I cant imagine what might have happened if Id come up short of money without one!) so I went, after scanning the local papers, of all places, to work on a small fishing operation, owned by local Maoris, in Whangamata. After Id had enough, about 8 weeks later, not quite ready to leave this really wonderful country, I applied, and successfully obtained an aupair position with a charming family in Wellington. Id previously been on an overnight trip soon after I first arrived here, and loved the historical feel of the place, and thought it somewhere Id feel settled for an extended period of time. And so I looked after their two children (who were very difficult at times) for about six months, give or take a few days and really felt like a member of the family.

Im back in the UK now, but will never forget the amazing trip I had down under.

by Liam Butler
9/03/2011 8:13:19 AM

Liam Butler I had pretty much run out of cash

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.

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (23)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (24)

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

Gabriella Garnett The Land of New Zealand

When you’re staying in Auckland and you don’t want to spend too much money, there are two options : only do free activities, which can be quite annoying once you’ve visited the Auckland museum, Victoria park and other sightseeing… The other one is to work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation. Almost every backpackers has a few places for this kind of job, and, obviously, the biggest the backpacker is, the more places there is. This is why the easiest place to get one of these is to look for it at Base Backpacker, the biggest in Auckland city. I first checked the internet to find out where I could do such a thing, and I saw that there were three free posts at Base Backpacker. So I showed up there one morning, asking to talk with the staff manager. We had a short talk, then she just hand me a contract, ask me to read it then sign it, and that was it : I was hired. The only thing that made me different from the other candidates was that I got there the first. About the job, the first thing to say I that it isn’t hard work. Obviously, you can’t ask someone who’s doesn’t get paid to work too hard. Let’s face it : even if you do, they won’t. Most of the time, backpackers has two types of jobs : reception and cleaning. I was hired as a cleaner, since it was the only vacant post. The tasks are mainly vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and changing the beds sheets. At Base Backpacker, they ask for 4 hours a day, from Monday to Friday (20 hours a week), in exchange for a bed in an 8 beds room. About the place now, staying in a backpacker and working there is of course very convenient to meet new people, since everyone in your room does the same job than you do, plus that you spend many hours working, cooking or just chilling in the lounge and other TV rooms. The main advantages of this backpacker are : the big and complete lounge room, including couches, two TV rooms, a Cyber Café and a Job Office The kitchen is clean and spacious, and the location is very good, on the middle of Queen street, with many bars, restaurants and the Metro Center nearby. The main problems are : first of all, 20 hours a week is, in my opinion, too much for an 8 beds room, in a country where the minimum wage is around 13$ an hour. The place sometimes feels too big with its ten floors. The smokers will have to get out of the place if they want to have a smoke, since there is no smoker room or balcony. If you plan in advance to do such a job, you can call most of the Auckland backpackers and see if they have any vacancies. Some only ask for 2 hours of work every day (14 hours a week), and a smaller place asks for more quiet tasks. These types of jobs are very convenient for those who look for jobs in Auckland and don’t want to spend money on the accommodation while doing it. And when you are only asked two hours of work each day, you can even combine it with a job !

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (25)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (26)

Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (27)

by Gaspard Buffet
26/02/2011 11:49:08 PM

Gaspard Buffet Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation

Me and my Brother Dan worked a seasonal job right down south near Gore.
We got the job because I wrote up a small advert and put it up in the village shop while we were looking for other jobs. I didnt expect to hear anything back but a few days later I got a call from a lovely couple who owned a cattle farm.

Our duties were to heard cattle on motorbikes which was such satifying fun! It was a large farm of around 2000 acres so we could be moving 50-100 cattle at a time pretty big distances and of course when dealing with living animals they dont always go the way you intend for them so it was all good fun trying to round up the one that jumped the fence and started trotting down the road entertainly the locals greatly.

One time however I was hurtling down a big long bank, on the Honda 200 Bushlander bike i was using, chasing a rather fast moving calf that had broken away from the mob. Tearing down the hill I had totally forgotten about the pit in the ground...That was untill I fell into it. The bike crashed down to the bottom of the pit and I carried on hurtling forward only to be met by a couple of old posts that broke my momentum but also took a good dose of skin off my right leg.

The farmer also had a light aircraft so a couple of times when there way a burst water pipe on the farm hed take us up in the plane and wed try and search out the spray of the water not to mention having a little play with the controls in the mean time.

There was a trout river close by so in our spare time wed go down and pull out a fish or two and eat it on our camping stove.

That one month was the single most fun Ive had in a working experience and the three weeks that have passed since making my way back up north have left me with a touch of sadness but fond memorys.

Mat Walker,

From Worcestershire, UK

About Gore

by Mat Walker
18/02/2011 8:51:18 PM

Mat Walker heard cattle on motorbikes

My name is Nis and I am travelling through New Zealand in a Van together with my sister since mid of December. At home in Germany we got a Working Holiday Visa in the internet and planned to do some harvest work here in New Zealand. We started in Auckland, made our way down south and took the ferry to the South Island between Christmas and New Year.
When we arrived in Wanaka we started looking for jobs because we were running out of money. The first job offer we got was on a Berry Farm near town, where we picked raspberries for two days. But because it was only a few hours a day and not every day we still applied for other harvest jobs in the Central Otago region. In the internet I send a Mail to the PickNZ office in Alexandra, a few hours later we got the phone call and with it a job on a cherry orchard in Lowburn near Cromwell. We should start a few days later so we still hat time to explore the beautiful region.
On Monday the 9.1. we arrived on the cherry farm in the morning and got introduced to the sorting of cherries in the pack house. We had to sort the incoming cherries in three categories: All perfect cherries were export quality, all cherries with little scratches or steam less were domestic and all the rest of rotten and squeezed cherries were thrown into the rubbish bucket. It was a lot of rubbish because of the rain in the last days.
We were payed by every bucket that we emptied. On our first days sorting we thought we could never get faster and we would not make any money here at all. But after a few days we could already double our number of buckets. It is amazing how you can improve your skills and speed in sorting just by training, doing it again and again.
For three days I did another job in the pack house. Because one of the bucket boys, who carry full unsorted and rubbish buckets was absent I did his job which was a completely new experience. Instead of standing around and only moving my hands I had to do really hard work now. Although I liked this kind of challenge I went back to sorting after the three days mostly because of more money that I could earn with this.
My sister and I slept in our Van on the big camping ground on the farm where all of the workers lived. It was a very nice community and after we all got to know each other it was hard to say goodbye and move in different directions after the season finished. After the last day we had a lunch together with a traditional Maori hangi. It was really declicious. Now we are in the Hawkes Bay area and looking for work again. Probably we will pick apples soon. We are looking forward to all the nice people we are going to get to know here!

Whats a Hangi?

by Nis
17/02/2011 11:17:46 PM

Nis Traditional Maori hangi

I have been working on a cherry farm in Cromwell for three weeks. Fortune Fruit was its name and it was indeed furtunate for me to get a job there.
I had applied in the internet, more out of fun and nothing else to do. Some hours later I got a phone call and I had the job. Great!
So the next weeks were spent sorting cherries into export quality, domestic and rubbish. It micht sound kinda boring, but it wasnt actually. You could listen to music, talk to other people and eat as many cherries as you liked.
The atmosphere was great as well! Nobody put pressure on you, if not yourself, because you were paid by contract and not hourly. People were really friendly to each other and did even heop the slower sorters to finish their last bucket befoer break, when they had done theirs already.
Additionally when the working day was long (usually it started at 8:30am and finished between 3:00pm and 5:00pm), the supervisor gave some chocolates to us to keep up the motivation.
Like all the other workers I was staying at a campsite on the farm. I was sleeping in a van, but there was a very well equipped kitchen and, of course, sanitaries. After some time it was almost as if you were staying with your big family. You got to know the other workers really well and had lots of fun together! Also there were lots of things to do with cherries - baking pies, pancakes, jam, fruit salad... and lots of competitions in spitting cherry pits were held ;). I am really gonna miss that time and all the nice people!
All in all it was a great experience and even though it was hard work, I enjoyed every minute and would have loved to stay longer!

Visit Fortune Fruit Website

Lake Dunstan Cromwell

Lake Dunstan Photos

by Martje Nehmiz
15/02/2011 9:23:10 PM

Martje Nehmiz Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions

When I got to Whangamata, I had this meeting for a painting tattoo job. I ended up washiing dishes at Sands Café.
First of all, I found a great accomodation, Barbaras BBH backpackers, one minute from the beach and only a hundred dollars a week. With that, and all the young people in the streets, I wanted to get a job there and nowhere else. So when I realised that my tattoo painting job wasnt going to get me any money, I printed some CVs and walked down the main street, stopping in every shop asking for a job. The problem was that, in the middle of summer, most of the places had all the staff they needed. I was starting to loose faith when I walked in this big, nice place with a summer coloured name : Sands Café. I asked to talk to the manager, said I was looking for a job, and here I was, hired to wash the dishes and help around. I did my first days in a place busy as hell, so busy that one day a hurried colleague closed the door of the giant freezer without noticing that I was still incide... Got me a free half an hour break. Anyway, I was getting money, and, best of all, had free lunches on my breaks. I spent a month there, working with a nice, energetic team, and I only left when all the tourists went back home, returning Whangamata to its quiet rythm.
When I think about my work experience in Whangamata, its as one of the best places in New Zealand to get a summer job. If you get there in early december youll find a job for sure, and dont miss Barbaras BBH backpackers on Beverly Terrace, ideal to meet people, and a rock throw from the beach !

by Gaspard Buffet
12/02/2011 9:53:20 PM

Gaspard Buffet When I got to Whangamata...

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 sh*t. 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 co*ckroach 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 <>

by Katie Mae
7/12/2010 7:57:55 PM

Katie Mae I could romanticize it…

I first heard of going to New Zealand for work, a couple of months before my graduation (at a sort of a fair, of what to do after graduation). I thought it sounded interesting, so me and my boyfriend decided to go to New Zealand for a year working after our graduation in Sweden. First we came to Auckland and spent a couple of days there. Since we are a part of I.E.P., they got us the working holiday visa and they also helped us with getting an IRD number.

When we got tired of Auckland we decided to start traveling for a while first, until the fruit picking season would begin. With Stray, we traveled down south and ended up in Wanaka. We loved it, and chose trying to find work here. We heard that the vineyard work was soon to start, so while waiting for that we worked for accommodation at a place we found through WWOOF. We got the advice of going to the Job Agency, and so we did. After a couple of minutes talking, we got a job at a vineyard the following day. At the vineyard we got to peel of the sprouts from the steam for six hours and then doing another thing for two hours. Unfortunately, the job was only for that day. Apparently the period of vineyard work was over, even though we had heard that it was just about to start.

We applied for a bunch of jobs, but didn’t really get that much response. We tried walking in to stores and coffee shops and such, just handing out our resumes. Everyone just said that “it’s quite right now, wait till December”. So we waited.
Now we are staying at x-base, working three hours a day for a ten bed dorm. It’s all right, just doing simple cleaning. We tried doing the same thing in Auckland at Base, but that was just horrible. Four hours for a 25 dollar dorm. Four hectic hours of complaining bosses. Here it is more relaxed and our bosses are great.

We also both managed to get a job at New World. Just unpacking stuff, for 13 dollars an hour. At first, our schedule said ten hours a day, five days a week. We tried that, combined with the three hours at X-Base, for just one day. Then realized that 13 hours a day was way too much. Since we wanted to stay at X-Base, as well as working at New World, they were nice enough to cut our work days down to 8 hours.

I am glad to have found these jobs. Everyone at both working places are really nice and like it. Though it’s a bit hard sometimes working 11 hours most days, it’s still worth it, saving up some money so that we can do some more traveling without money issues.

by Clara Markus
7/12/2010 7:56:41 PM

Clara Markus I thought it sounded interesting

Hi, my name is Anna, I´m from Germany and this is my story about my New Zealand adventure :)
We started in August 2009 with planning. One of my big hobbies is making photos and I think that there is no better country for great shots. I worked 3 years for a dentist and after that time ( I finished in June 2010) I wanted to do something special, something no one else can steal me after the 10 month I wanted to take. My boyfriend was also ready with school so we decided to travel together. For me it was and is great to have someone to talk with, but there are people all the way so you have always someone to talk and to laugh.
We had to get a working holiday visum, the only problem was, that we did not have a creditcard and that is neccessary if you applie for that in the internet. For our luck we both live near frankfurt and there is a great shop called "Australia-shop". We filled out a paper, payed 80 euro (ca 160 nz $) and the man who worked there sent it to the embassy in Berlin. After about 5 weeks we looked in our postbox and - surprise - there were our visas :)
We booked the whole trip (flight, accomodation for the first 4 nights, wwoofing membership etc.) at the Sprachcaffe in Frankfurt. Thats an organisation and they helped us with every question we had ( hopefully also in the future, we will stay till June 2011...)
On August 30. we started our trip at Frankfurt Airport at 10 pm. I was very exited and adrenalin rushed through my veins. I think my boyfriend ( his name is Sebastian by the way :) was in the same mood. Our parents took us to the gate and I was very happy cause my three best friends were also at my side, that was a good feeling and gave me some peace.Then my personal nightmare began. We started at the Frankfurt Airport and had a 6 hours flight to Dubai. Then we had to wait there for 3 hours (Starbucks saved my life) and after that we had an 18 hours flight to Sidney. I think i watched every movie in this f****** plane cause I didnt find any sleep. After one more hour in sidney we had a 2 1/2 hour flight to auckland and I was incredible happy when i saw the two islands, that was probably one of the best moments in my life :)
Like I told we had the first 4 nights booked by the organisation in a hostel called base. We were in a room with 2 bunk beds and no windows so after that 4th night we were happy to leave... But we could do some important things like opening a bank account at the kiwi bank which was really easy and making an ird number. The most important thing for us was to buy a car. We went to Doro and Darren in Takanini. Its a German woman and a Kiwi mechanic and they sell cars to backpackers with buy back option which is a great deal. We are actually here since 6 weeks and we have our Mitsubishi since 5 weeks and we love it. Its an absolutely safe car without any problems....
One week after we landed in Auckland we drove to Ahipara, thats near to Kaitaia, directly on the ninety miles beach. There is a Backpacker called Endless Summer Lodge and its an absolutely lovely place. Anna, one of the owners, is the daughter of a friend of sebastians granddad, so she offered us to work there and get an accomodation. We had to make the beds, cleaning the kitchen, help in the garden and so on...In our free time we tried to surf, I think it looked very funny, but it made a lot of fun :) It was a great time and I am very glad about that. We also went to Cape Reinga, a very mystic place for the Maori and to the kauri forrest where we visited Tane Mahuta, the biggest kauri in new zealand (there are also kiwis in the night...)
Actually we are near at Wellington in Levin. We went yesterday to the Wellington Zoo and it was absolutely lovely. There is a kiwi called Tahi. It has only one leg cause it stepped in a falle and lost its leg. But Tahi bounced around and looked realy happy... There is also a house called The Nest were you can watch some Doctors operating ill animals. I never saw something like that and it was very very interesting for me.
So, actually we are at Levin at a Farm call blueberry art. We will start tomorrow with wwoofing and i´m very excited but it seems to be a very nice place with some sheeps and alpakas, blueberrys and nuttrees. I love new zealand, its a great place to be and im happy that there are 8 month left for me :)
if there are any questions please ask me :)
or follow us on

by Anna Jakob
3/11/2010 12:51:46 AM

Anna Jakob My New Zealand adventure :)

Well I am from Mexico, a small town called Guanajuato most of the Revolutionary history is based on here, or started here, you can check it out on Wikipedia: , well everything started in January 2009, I wanted to go somewhere to experience something different from what my whole life used to be, all the time just studying and to be honest I’ve never worked in my life, well I did some works with some family and stuff but never all by myself, well I heard somewhere that there was some work-visa for New Zealand and also for Australia, those where the places where I wanted to go at first, I was between those two places, after two weeks of thinking I finally decided to go New Zealand, I did jumped online to and I found out that there where just 200 places every year, and I decided to apply the day where they where going to be released, this day was 21 March 2009, I quickly applied for the working holiday visa for Mexicans. After 3 or 4 days I received an e-mail saying that I needed to send my medical certificate and some other stuff to be able to be chosen for the visa.
By this moment 4 of my friends told me that they where going to come along with me and we where all planning to leave Mexico at the end of the year in November 2009. The months past away and after the time I was all by myself, they where all retreated from the travelling, I wasn’t going to quit on this journey, so I decided to leave all my friends and my girlfriend back home in Mexico in November of 2009.

I finally arrived in Auckland New Zealand, after making some connections in the airport of Los Angeles, USA. I really didn’t want to stay in Auckland because it was very big, so I decided at first to take a nice hot shower, I got into X base Auckland central, and a slept my first night in there, I woke up in the morning and I travelled to Wellington, no bus, no flight, just hitchhiking, it took me the whole day it wasn’t that easy to catch a ride because it was raining that day, I really hated that day. I got into Wellington city, is really nice by the way if you get to come to New Zealand you can’t just go by, you have to get to know Wellington city, I decided that this city was going to be the place where I wanted to stay. It was kind of hard for a person that never worked in his life to find a job, to be honest I had to lie a little in my cv. After three weeks of seeking online, and on the streets everywhere I got a job as a cleaner, I was cleaning offices, gyms, etc. It was kind of a lonely job and also it was during the nights but I earned good money for almost 3 months, I decided to go down to the south island to the vineyards in Canterbury, I worked for 4 more months and then I decided it was about time to relax and travel, I travel around the south island, Christchurch, Queenstown, Milford Sound, etc, many places, that took me two weeks in the south island, then I came back to the north island, travelling all hitchhiking and all by myself, finally in July 2010 i decided it was time to go back home, my girlfriend was waiting for me, and I really missed her, it was really tough for me to leave her back in Mexico, and while I was in New Zealand I needed to talk to her almost everyday, not just because she wanted to, it’s because I needed to, but we made it.. In my way back home I stopped for 20 days to travel and relax in Fiji islands, it was really nice and warm after being all year in a cold place like New Zealand, it was a really good experience, it was lonely but I matured as a person and I learned many things, if you haven’t decided to travel to New Zealand and you are reading this, don’t miss the chance you will not forget, it’s a tough work and sometimes you’ll want to go back and be home, sleeping tight and eating beautifully but you learn many things after a journey like this.. Good luck

by Daniel Diaz Tazzer
25/10/2010 2:51:52 AM

Daniel Diaz Tazzer Well I am from Mexico...

I had been planning my gap year since I was ten years old, and if I could have dropped out of Primary School then and travelled I certainly would have. Looking back now, those next eight years of school and then college flew by. Everyone around me began to pick Universities and courses they wanted to study after summer break, seeing this as the obvious next step in their lives. But not me, I knew I was free. I had been stuck in the same town and School since I was three years old and it was time to see the world.
The idea of travelling to New Zealand (NZ) had been stuck in my head since I was young, due to a family friend having moved there. She was working for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Turangi, and her partner ran the Tongariro Natural History Society (TNHS) in the same building. All I knew was that both their jobs involved working in the outdoors, and that was me hooked. I applied for a position with TNHS, and after being accepted set about applying for a working holiday visa.
A working holiday visa for NZ can last up to 23 months, although you can actually only work for 12 of these months. I applied online for mine through STA Travel, and received it within weeks. I also booked my flights and travel insurance with them too. In recent years I have used Flight Centre to book all my flights, as they thoroughly search for the cheapest deals.
When choosing travel insurance, be sure to note what you want it to cover. NZ is full of adventure activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping and white water rafting. Basic travel insurance covers grade three white water, so if you injure yourself on a grade five river you cannot claim. Travel insurance can be expensive, but is certainly necessary.
After four months in Ethiopia with a friend, I flew to NZ, arriving in Auckland airport at the end of December. That first notion of being on your own is crazy, after eighteen years of being told what to do and then suddenly it is all up to you. Fight or flight. I remember feeling quite pleased with myself when I discovered the Airbus that went direct to Auckland city centre, and stopped outside the backpackers I had booked into. (It was actually the only mode of transport into the city apart from a taxi)!
If in doubt with anything in an airport, just ask at airport information or tourist information as there are lots of staff around to help, and they are perfect at dealing with people new to travelling and airports.
On the bus my body began to crash from lack of sleep, as I attempted to concentrate on the sights and sounds of Auckland. I had been flying for twenty something hours and had not slept much, but luckily I did not have to wait long for my stop.
There is an abundance of backpackers, hotels and motels in Auckland, looking online shows a wide variety of places to stay who cater for all your required needs. Popular chains around NZ include Base Backpackers and YHA, both offering discount cards and nightly events for cheap prices. Last year I had the pleasure of escorting my sister to NZ, and our flight arrived in Auckland at the ridiculous time of 12.30 at night. I searched for a backpackers close to the airport, and found the Skyway Lodge. I emailed them in advance, and they were happy to pick us up even though it was late.
Upon checking in at the backpackers, I discovered that I had left my passport on the bus...”oh ****”, what an idiot. I frantically phoned Airbus’s office and the airport police in a frantic attempt to find it, but to no avail. It was New Year’s Eve and everywhere was in party mode, so instead of freaking out I decided to just go with the flow and managed to befriend some kiwi girls to go drinking with. I hung around in Auckland for a few days after that trying to find my passport, but with limited places to look and the probability of it containing a new photograph of a supposed me; I jumped on an Intercity bus to Turangi.
Turangi is the trout fishing capital of New Zealand, or so the sign claims, (suspiciously the town of Gore states the same). The Rough Guide to New Zealand says that it “is a small, flat and characterless place”, and I guess it may be to the untrained eye, but I love Turangi. I spent just over three months there tramping around its bush, conserving its wildlife and swimming in the glacial river. A definite must do is walk the hour long circular track around lake Rotopounamu, at the base of Mount Pihanga . TNHS volunteers have made this piece of bush what it is today by working hard to eradicate foreign predators, and keeping native bird numbers up.
I did eventually get my passport back, and felt very guilty about making assumptions about it being stolen. Not every country is made of bandits! It happened days after arriving in Turangi and because I had not had any luck in those first few days, I had cancelled it and started making arrangements to get an emergency one. (This can all easily be done online or by telephone, do not panic)! Literally a few hours later, a PC Bradley from the Auckland airport police phoned TNHS (after phoning my parents in the UK their 2am) and said it had been handed in and what address to send it on to. It gave my parents quite a shock as I had not actually told them about the passport drama, and having the NZ police phone randomly during the night cannot have been very comforting. Oops lesson learnt, luckily everyone saw the funny side.
For travellers I would say Turangi would be more of a brief stop off, than a place to stay with it being only half an hour away from Taupo. The Mustard Seed Cafe makes a good lunch stop, and the Liquorice Cafe (just outside of Turangi on the Taupo side), does an amazing iced coffee. For a bit more adventure, contact the Tongariro River rafting office.
Turangi is situated in the Tongariro National Park, and from the town you can carry on to National Park, Whakapapa and Mountains Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom, Lord of the Rings). A must do for walkers is the Tongariro crossing, and for those who are extra keen, a jaunt up the scree that is Ngauruhoe is fun if only for the slide back down!
TNHS’s season ended at the beginning of April, and I found myself on an Intercity bus to Taihape in search of River Valley: I was to be their new bar girl.
River Valley is located a forty minute drive out of Taihape, which proves difficult to get to if you arrive without a car. Luckily the day I arrived a member of staff was in town getting gas as the staff assured me I would have been left there until something from town was required! The Kiwi Experience bus also stops there nightly.
River Valley is a big lodge nestled at the bottom of a lush, green valley, with the mighty Rangitikei flowing through. It is a beautiful, serene place with a great vibe: a perfect contrast of relaxation and adventure.
White water rafting was a new concept to me entirely; I had not seen much grade 5 white water before then. The first time I mentally prepared myself for rafting, we got halfway up to a lookout point and discovered the river was too high for our trip to be adjured safe, and we had to abort. The second trip was better as we actually got the rafts into the river, but the water level was really low. I remember thinking rafting was not really all that, even ‘boring’ may have crossed my mind. It was definitely third time lucky for me, and this trip completely nullified my previous thoughts. The river had risen to a very substantial level, and at the bottom of a rather ‘extreme’ rapid our raft was caught on a rock and another raft ploughed into and over the top of the bow. Literally a minute before a friend had asked if I wanted to swap places, and the place that had doomed to be mine was now empty, and people were in the water, cavorting downstream. I just sat there staring at the emptiness, vaguely hearing our guide Darryn yelling back paddle. Now I am addicted!
River Valley has been in the press a lot lately, for an incident that occurred a few years ago. The guides are highly trained, but it is an adventurous activity and there are obviously elements of risk that occur, especially in Grade 5 white water. On a lighter note the Rangitikei is an amazing river to experience, and the gorge it winds through holds beautiful New Zealand fauna and flora with the extra special opportunity of maybe spotting a deer or pig. There are not many rafting companies arranged in such a way that you finish at the lodge, and are able to jump straight into a hot shower.
Everyone has their own unique memories of River Valley, mine were definitely the people. I met some amazing friends from all over the world who I have gone on to work, live, party and even fall in love with.
From the Rangitikei River I went to Mount Ruapehu, and slept on a friend’s floor for a few months and attempted learning to snowboard. Ruapehu opens its doors for the ski season around June/July, and remains open until early Spring offering many job opportunities. Many avid snow orientated travellers work in rentals, operate the ski lifts, serve in its cafes and even teach people to ski and board. Both the north and south islands have ski fields, and are always looking for workers, and even on occasion offering visas to those who keep returning.
As summer approached and the snow melted, I decided to follow some raft guides to the south island and the Rangitata River, which runs through Peel Forest. The village of Peel Forest is about a two hour drive from Christchurch, turning off at Ashburton or a twenty minute drive from Geraldine if you come up from the south. The road in is flanked by farm land, field upon field of cattle, sheep deer and swede. The village is a consecutive line of houses occasionally interrupted by a native tree, with the Musterer’s Bar and Cafe at the centre, which is also the local store.
Driving further on you reach the bottom of Little Mount Peel, and the start of an array of beautiful walks. A main reason for people visiting Peel Forest is for its DOC walking tracks, which vary in length and difficulty from a half hour walk to discover Peel Forests “Big Tree”, to a six hour hike up Little Mount Peel and back. Doc also owns a large campground near the river, which is open from late August to April.
Other outdoor activities in Peel Forest include horse trekking, and white water rafting. White water rafting on the Rangitata River is a very different experience from the mighty Rangitikei. The Rangitikei is low volume and technical, where as the Rangitata is high volume grade 5. Meaning no matter what the river flow, the Rangitata always has two grade 5 rapids. It also holds the longest grade five white water rapid in New Zealand, which goes by the name of ‘the pinch’. Expect action packed, and yes, you are going to get wet!
I left New Zealand at the start of winter that year, and headed back home. Two years later and I am back again, I missed the relaxed lifestyle, endless rainforests and mountain ranges too much. What began for me as a travelling adventure has turned into a way of life; New Zealand will always hold a special place and a home for me.

by Sarah Kate Ferry
14/05/2010 8:29:11 PM

Sarah Kate Ferry ~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~

Hi, my name is Jan Mencner and I am from the Czech Republic.We decided with my girlfriend Nela to explore New Zealand, becouse, according to us, it’s very amazing country with beautiful nature and nice people…

We departed from the Czech republic in october 2009 and we made one month trip in Thailand. After arrival we had booked the Ponsonby Backpacker. We have used the shuffle bus from airport, which can take you door to door for one-time fee 25 dollars per person.

I was trying to choose my bank thorougly for couple of days and finally the ANZ bank won, becouse this bank has the biggest network of branches and cashmachines. You pay only 5 dollars monthly fee and that’s it! No further fees! It is something unimaginable in the Czech republic! Great

Next step was to buy a car. We made a big trip (it was more like Great Walk) around Auckland to get some good reliable car (not a lemon, like couple of our friends) – but everything was so old with scary milage and for big money! Crazy! Finally we’ve been saved by carmarket in Elerslie. We were trying to find something good from early morning, but we were disappointed until noon – in this moment we were approached by one car tout that he apparently has good van exactly for us.

This perfect car was Nissan Serena 2.0 petrol 4WD, but there wasn´t a bed – but we´ve been told by seller it is not a problem to do it – so we had to wait until next day…. We checked the car and we did the test drive – everything seemed to be alright so we paid a deposit. The seller brought us our new Nissan next day to a backpacker, already with bulit-in bed inside.

Today, 6 months later, i have to say the car is still awesome – there weren´t any problems! So, great technical condition, 1995, 3rd owner for 4.000 bucks! However we got a lesson – november is the worst month to buy a car – becouse everything is so expensive and only few cars on sale!

After one week what we have spent in Ackland we scooped direction to Hastings. We were expecting ubiquitous signs: We need workers! – but we were disappointed. There was nothing! We were trying to call everywhere and we have tried to find something on internet as well… So, finally we found a job on Mr. Apple´s orchard in Waipawa. We have been thinning apples – it was pretty good job, we´ve been living in comapny´s camp in orchard (by the way, the camp is awesome!) and we got quite well paid… We´ve been satisfied anyway

Closely to x-mass thinning was terminated and we went to the north… We were wondering about that long time, becouse everybody wanted to go to the south island – and we (we – it means me, Nela and our new fried Tomas from camp) went to the north paradoxically, because it seemed to us can be crowded there on the south island…

We started to work in Kerikeri in the middle of January and we´ve been thinning kiwifruits – i must recommend this, it is cool job You are in the shade all day under the kiwifruit bush – and – you don´t have to use the ladder!!

We returned to Waipawa in early March – there was starting the apple picking. We´ve been working for hourly wage first week and everything was fine. But next couple of weeks were crazy! We´ve been paid only for count of bins we have done, and there were a days, when we have done only one bin for 40 bucks, becouse there were no apples!! It was fourth pick of royal gala variety… And we said: „Stop!“ in the moment, when we had only 100 dollars each on our payslips for a week of hard work! By law the company is obliged to pay each worker the minimum wage, and no amounts of bins! Its very sad, but i can´t recommend this copany for the picking!

Almost all staff quit like we and went to a different parts of this beautiful country. And now, we are working in packhouse for hourly wage and we are satisfied

Some tips from me:

There is a problem to get the car insurance for backpackers. AA offers a advantageous products only for residents and other companies are similar. But we found this:

You can extend your working holiday visa for another 3 months with no problem…

When you put your car to the service just stay there with mechanic. It happend to us – we paid for wheel alignment and mechanics didn´t do that! We had to tell to boss it, he tested the car personally – he found out is is true and after they fixed it!

We also can recommend to buy AC/DC transmitter, which you can connect instead the car fighter – it is good to have a czech plug for laptop or cellphone charging.

by Nela Popiolkova
26/04/2010 6:38:32 AM

Nela Popiolkova New Zealand's got cheap banks!!

Hi everyone! I would like to share my Working Holiday experience in Kiwi Land as well.
My name is Agnese and I’m from Latvia (in case you don’t know where it is – Europe, Baltic States, between Estonia and Lithuania, with beautiful capital city called Riga; No, we aren’t part of Russia anymore and Yes, we do have our own language - Latvian). The Working Holiday Scheme with New Zealand opened only in March, 2009, so – for us it’s a pretty new thing, but I’m happy to know that more and more Latvians are applying for it and going for this lifetime adventure.

I think getting a Working Holiday Visa (if your country has such thing with NZ) is more or less the same – quite easy. You just go to Immigration Service web page – and follow instructions: fill the application form, try to persuade Immigration Service that you haven’t done bad things in past (in a meaning - testify you haven’t been in a jail or something), might need to go see a doctor and get a Temporary Entry X-ray Certificate, wait for while until Visa is approved (for me it took 2 weeks, as I have heard for others - only 3 days), save some money, get flight tickets and here you go – welcome to New Zealand. Easy – peasy, but it’s just the beginning…

Then comes all the arrangements and sometimes confusing you-need-to-do-this-and-this regarding finding a work, place to live and actually starting to work. If your financial situation allows, then I would suggest that you do some traveling first and then find a place to settle down for a while rather than doing the other way around. Sometimes you can stuck in one place for a long time and afterwards feel sorry that your precious time here in this country starts to run out, but there is still so much to see and do.

But when you start to look for a work there are two things that you should do first – get bank account and IRD number. There are many ways how can you get these 2 things (it depends if you have already a sort of ‘permanent’ place to live and 2 international ID’s – passport, international driver’s license or international ID card). I had only my passport, so I went to BNZ, gave them address of my hostel where I was staying at that moment, deposit some money, opened bank account and asked them to hand out a statement of my current address. With this statement I went to nearest Inland Revenue Service, filled application form and after 2 weeks received my IRD number. If you need to know it faster, you can call them and ask for it on the phone.

Regarding finding a work…well there is no super-duper/overall advice, sometimes it takes time, patience and determination and sometimes just a little bit of luck. So far I have worked in two places and the ways how I found them are quite opposite. I was on South Island and went to Christchurch which is the biggest city there, so it should be easy to find a work there, right? But the thing is that there are thousands of other travelers that think the same way, lots of them are heading to Christchurch for this reason. And then there are students, who look for summer jobs as well, so competition is quite high. But it depends what kind of work you are looking for and what kind of experience you already have. The main vacancies are in tourism and hospitality sector and usually they ask for experienced staff. I didn’t have any relevant experience, so it was hard for me to find anything. At the end (after some 2 weeks) I found a work as a housekeeper, but it was only a part time job, so I didn’t save lots of money. But I still had a great time and don’t have any regrets. The second work was in orchard – cherry picking. To get this work I didn’t do anything, well… except one phone call. I was heading to Alexandra to look for a fruit picking work, I called to book a bed at one of the hostels called Marj’s place. The owner – Marj started to ask me out what I’m going to do in Alexandra. I explained that I want to do a little bit of traveling first and then find a fruit picking work. And then she said that by the time I get to Alexandra she will find me work in some of orchards. And that’s how it really was – after traveling around the bottom of South Island, I went to Alexandra and was able to start work the next day. Thanks Marj. So, as you can see there are many scenarios about finding a work in New Zealand.

And there are many ways how to look for a job – job agencies, community information boards (usually in supermarkets), internet, local newspapers, just walk in and ask (must warn that sometimes it can get very depressing to hear “No, thank you. We don’t need anyone at this moment” for the 57th time), but for the best results you have to try them all.

That’s my experience so far. Now I’m in Picton looking for a job again. Nice town, but not so much work opportunities, especially when the season is starting to end. But it’s going to be great, at the end it always is. Somehow it works out. Good luck!

by Agnese Mukstina
16/03/2010 1:15:27 AM

Agnese Mukstina Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;)

My name is Jan and I would like to tell you my story.
All it started in Czech Republic where I have lived since I was born.
I always wanted to get to know country of the lord of the ring
or also country where lives more sheeps than people.:]

Even more there was an advantage of having summer twice a year.
So this all make my decision to go there.
My flight started in Vienna and I came to Auckland after two days
When one night I spend in luxury hotel arranged by my Flight company.
It was really luxury stage before come back to reality

After that Ive got to the reality
Just like that I have been in foreign country with a really heavy backpack
and no booked accommodation for a night.
What more... there was really expensive bus to the Auckland downtown .
Later I have found out that for this price u could pay half way to Hastings.
So question is why I have a feeling that this is kind of playing with people
who dont have any other chance to get to the city.

So anyway lets move on
After two weeks I bought car cause in the city
was almost no chance to get a job for me and only possibility to stay
with an money is going to do seasonal jobs.
Which was much more easier to find with a car.

Lately I got call that if I have got car
I was going to get a job
And that was how I found my first job.
Thinning apples was my first experience that
earning maney would be that easy as it was addressed in much traveling agencies
After that experience I had a many similiar jobs where most important
was have two fast hands, strong shoulders and been able to do same
kind of moving whole day.

Also I would like to say that sometimes it is hard to work for an constractors
How u should take those people seriously when they are not paying u correctly,
forgeting about hours,names and when u have worked.
Offen also happends that they dont need u for whole week even u are asking them.
And later youll get to know that they came to your backpacker and asked
just for asian people.
Kind of discrimination?

Now I am staying in Hasting and guess what I do picking apples job.
Like a most of people in this time.

So in the end if u are thinking about going to New Zealand.
I would recommended it.
It is beatifull country with a lot to show.
But just be sure that if u want to do backpacking and earn some money
during traveling it would not be easy and sometimes u maybe wouldnt
find a job.

Good luck with finding right job!!

by Jan Kucera
1/03/2010 11:26:44 PM

Jan Kucera First Job Thinning Apples...

Hi Everyone.
We have an interesting story for backpackers in New Zealand, looking for a job. We started traveling a few months before we went to New Zealand. Weve had contact wtih the ambassy about a working permit. Its the easiest to apply for a working visum when you are in New Zealand! You can do two things. The first is applying online @ Very easy, but what we found easier and is quicker is the second option. We went to the nearest immigration office, search for your nearest office at You will need three things: your pasport, a id-photo of yourself and some money (about 100-150 NZD) and you will like to make a photocopy of your pasport because the immigration office will keep it for 2 working days. Youll have to fill in an application form, one for the country of your residence and thats it! Two days later you can pick up your pasport and visa, or they will send it to you if you have an address.
Then we started looking for a job. But nowadays it is very hard to find a job! Students from uni have holidays so they will have all the unskilled jobs. Because of the recession (Asia is going bad and they have a great influence on NZs export) everybody wants a job, even if its a really simple one. We visited every recruitment agency we found, we called every hostel and hotel we could find and we called all the orchards and vineyards for fruit picking or so, but they all have enough employees for this year. We also met a lot of other travelers in Christchurch who are looking and cant find a job. We know two guys who went to Nelson, a great place for fruit picking normaly, but they also didnt found anything. An idae for if youre looking for a job for 3 months or more: go to SavvyDirect in Christchurch. Its a company about selling cards and stuff for charities. You will have a training for 2 weeks and get payed after how much you sell. One of the fewest options for temporary fulltime job, but with a minimum of 12 weeks. See for vacancies.
We came especially to NZ because its easy to find a job. We even read that a lot of countries get rid of the limits of visas to NZ because NZ need more people for temporary seasonal jobs back in 2005. But the world changed since January 2009 when the resession started. We are still looking for a job and cant find anything yet, and we tried a lot!
If youre looking for a job, its really easy to get a working holiday scheme (visa), but its a little bit harder to find a job then you might think. The best thing: try to work for a few hours in your hostel for free accomodation, so your money wont go out that fast while searching. Good luck and greetz Jolke Bomhof

by Jolke Bomhof
10/02/2010 10:47:29 PM

Jolke Bomhof Damn recession!

Me and my hubby came over to nz for a year may 2008-2009

we applied for the visa directly through nz immigration website.

we got our ird and bank accounts through visa first. but should of done it when arrived as was soo easy to do and would of saved money.

we arrived in Christchurch and had already arranged to stay in a place called urban rooms we ended up staying there for 3 months.

my hubby worked as a tourist photographer at the Christchurch gondola and Antarctic centre.

we also worked in a local outdoor shop together.

we also did a lot of helpx work in b&bs and hostels which eventually led us to manage a big 100 bed hostel over on the west coast.

we found most of the jobs ourselves and most on the bbh website.

we loved it so much we are back in 3 months time

check out blog at


by Elizabeth Coffey
8/02/2010 12:23:41 AM

Elizabeth Coffey Loving New Zealand..

I worked as a aircraft design engineer in Malaysia and in my job ended in Nov 09 as my project has finish. I have to find a job that time when i heard about the working holiday opportunity from my friend. I suppose its a good chance for me to take a break of my hectic life and go visit some beautiful places in new zealand.

I got my visa after 3 days i applied and started to plan my first destination in new zealand. I wanted to find a job first online in my country but i couldnt get one after searching for it in one months time. Most of the employers prefer to choose workers that are already at new zealand by the time of application. And so, i traveled to christchurch without a job and plan to take a few days to settle down and visit the beautiful city. But then i started to worry because i could not find a job for 2 weeks in christchurch.

In order to find a job, i travel to blenheim, where there were tonnes of vineyards. But when i reached here, only found that there were many people here like me, unemployed and cant find a job else where. It took me about a week to find a vineyard work under an agency called Ace Viticulture. The job was hourly paid and it was hard work for me as i have not work under the sun before. My job is mostly to secure the vine on the wires and get rid of any extra branches. It was not a stable job as i went out of work in 2 weeks time. I was told that there were no jobs available for backpackers as the agency decided to employ the indonesian workers for the following jobs.

Luckily i get to join another contractor called Contra after two days and started working in vineyard again for another week. But the work is much harder as its on contract rate. Most of the people here cannot even earn the minimum wage after 8 hours of hard work on leaf plucking. Some say it was against the law to let us earn lesser than we should. But i still had to do it no matter how hard it is because i do not have other options on my hand. This work really worn me of and so ive decided to find another job, which is indoor, hourly paid and secure.

If you are interested in working in vineyard and wanted to see the amazing landscape of my work place, you can see it all in the following link:

Just a few days back, i receive an email from a apple packhouse in Montueka, offering me a job. If everything went smooth, i will be working there end of Feb until Mid of May. Wish me good luck!!



Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (28)Seasonal Jobs New Zealand (29)

by Melissa Tan
8/02/2010 12:01:19 AM

Melissa Tan From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand..

My story started in Czech republic in Prague. I was looking for some job in Prague during the summer, but I wasn´t successful. One day i got an idea to find some job in another country. I decided to travel and earn money in New Zealand. Why New Zealand? When I was young I have met some people from Czechoslovakia who emigrated to New Zealand during communism in our country and they told me that New Zealand is great country for tramping. I realy love tramping and hiking and I have heard that NZ has good opportunity to get seasonals jobs. This reasons was leading me to change my dreams into reality. I started looking for informations about New Zealand and how to travel, where and how I can get visa and working permit. I have found all information on internet. First step was to get visa. Student agency arrange visa for me and they help me to buy fly ticket. I arrived to Auckland in the end of October. I have spent two day in Auckland to apply for IRD number and arrange bank account. Then I moved to Taupo for one day for small trip and then to Hastings. I was so fool, that I didn´t book accommodation in this town. I had a problem to find some, but finally I got accommodation, but only for one night. Second day I went to information centre and they helped me to find accommodation in Napier, because all backpackers in Hastings were full. I went to Hastings cos I have read that there is a big chance to get job in apple orchard for tinning apples. This work usually starts at November, but people told me, that this year was strong winter and this work is going to start later. They told me the same in Napier. I decided that traveling is better than waitting for job. After some day I have visited Mahia peninsula with two guys from Czech republic. I have met them in Naked bus. And then we went to great walk lake Waikaremoana. Very nice experience was in Whakatane in work and income office. One lady help us very much with looking for work. So we moved to Te Puke for picking kiwi flowers. We were working for contractor Al Kirimana for one week in kiwi fruit orchards. After this work we traveled to Taupo to find better job like housekeeping. Contractor Al told us, that he will send our money to our bank accounts on Wednesday, but reality is that he has never send me it. I have spent about 30 NZD to call him or text him, but his reaction always was: „sry I always 4got“. Now I´m trying to solve this problem with picknz and department of labor. In fact I won´t see my money anymore. Then I spent one week in Taupo. Door to door asking and interviews weren´t successful. The most interesting experience here was small trip around lake Taupo and tour trough sheep farm with owner, but he have not had work for men (male). First of December I moved to Hastings again and registred in picknz. After two hours I have received message with contact to Thornhill and my work in vineyards has bugun. Wire lifting – tacking and budrubbing. Between X-mas and New Year I was in Tongariro for Tongariro northern circuit great walk. After New Year I did not have chance to get job and Thornhill gave opportunity to another guys. But French friends from vineyards found job for Peter - awesome „kiwi“ farmer in kiwi orchard near to Clive. Kiwi fruit tinning. It was only for 5 days. Then I was working in plum orchards – picking for 2weeks. From 28 of January me and my friend don´t have work and trying the best to find it every day. It is not easy now and apple season is going to start mid February.

by Michal Cigánek
5/02/2010 7:45:25 AM

Michal Cigánek A Czech in New Zealand..

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