By Blair Pedersen
Fruit picking jobs in New Zealand – A complete guide
New Zealand has a geography that allows it to grow many different varieties of fruits and vegetables. It’s often called ‘the bread-basket of the Pacific’ with as much as 5% of its GDP produced by agriculture. This means there are many opportunities for skilled and non-skilled workers who are ready and willing to roll up their sleeves.
The major benefit of fruit picking in New Zealand is that there’s lots of work and it’s reasonably easy to get a job. Employers look for reliable and steady workers, so if you’re prepared to turn up every day and work hard and consistently, then you’ll easily fit into a team. These jobs are a solid source of income and can be a great way to ‘get you on your feet’ or produce an income when you’re new to the country. They’re also a great way to get paid to see New Zealand’s famously beautiful rural landscapes.
This article provides the key regions, who to contact for work and what to expect when looking for fruit picking jobs in New Zealand.
You’re going to need a New Zealand working visa
In order to get a fruit picking job, you’re going to need a working visa. Visit this website for more information on what working visas are available in New Zealand, and how to apply for them.
And a bank account
Once you’ve landed in New Zealand one of the first things you need to do is open a bank account. Visit this website to learn about opening a bank account in New Zealand.
Aptly named as the northern most region in New Zealand, Northland is also the warmest. It’s the closest to the equator and receives a decent amount of rainfall, while being sparsely populated. It’s 3 hours away from Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city and still has a rural, untouched feel.
Due to the warm Northland climate, you should expect to pick Avocados, Lemons, Oranges and Tamarillos. Peak fruit picking demand is between April and ends in July, however if you are a good, reliable worker there are opportunities for orchard work all year round.
See this link for more information about fruit picking jobs in Northland.
You can also contact the Regional Seasonal Labour Coordinator directly to learn about job opportunities: [email protected]
How much does it cost to live in Northland?
Rental prices are between $286 and $385 for a 2-bedroom house depending on where you want to live. However, some packhouses have worker accommodation built in and there are many camping grounds available for temporary workers.
Bay of Plenty
Kiwifruit picking and all of the associated activities are scattered throughout the Bay. If you prefer to work inside, you can get a job in one of the many packhouses dotted around the region.
The kiwifruit picking season starts at the end of March, peaks during the height of winter and continues through to September. There are plenty of opportunities for solid, reliable, fast paced fruit pickers during this busy harvest season.
There is plenty to do all year round. From October through to February orchards hire gangs of pruners and vine thinners to maintain the vines and some packhouse repack fruit during the summer months.
See this list of kiwifruit orchards for job opportunities
See this list of packhouses for job opportunities
To rent a house for the fruit picking season in Te Puke, the centre of the kiwifruit harvest you could pay anywhere between $390 and $550 per week for a 3 bedroom house.
The sunny Hawkes Bay is New Zealand’s biggest producer of fruit. Apples, grapes, kiwifruit, peaches, nectarines and apricots are just a sample of the types of fruits that are grown there. With full time fruit picking jobs offered all year round, Hawkes Bay has many job opportunities for travelers, migrants and regular seasonal workers.
Fruit picking happens 12 months of the year with peak season starting in November and ending in April. It can be lucrative if you have an already established, high paced and exceptional team ready to go as you will have the opportunity to move from orchard to orchard quickly.
See this list of job opportunities for fruit picking in the Hawkes Bay
Hawkes Bay has infrastructure to support a large seasonal workforce and many orchards offer accommodation for their workers. If you want accommodation away from the workplace, there are many campgrounds and short-term rental properties available in the surrounding suburbs.
The price bracket for Hawkes Bay housing rentals is between $250 and $450 per week for a 3 bedroom house, depending on where you want to live.
Nelson receives the most sunshine hours of any town in New Zealand. It’s only logical that this sunny region is a prolific producer of fruit and vegetables with many fruit picking jobs available.
In Nelson, the fruit picking season starts in November and finishes in April. Just like Hawkes Bay, there are fruit picking jobs all year round due to the warm grow-friendly climate. Vineyards, berry fruit, vegetables and apples are what you’ll most likely encounter in Nelson.
See this list of fruit picking job opportunities in Nelson
Accommodation is easily come by in Nelson. Backpackers hostels, camping ground and many short-term rental options are available for seasonal workers to bunker down in.
If you are to rent a property you could expect to pay anywhere between $265 and $450 per week for a 3-bedroom house.
A final note about picking fruit jobs in New Zealand
Seasonal work can be very rewarding, and it is a great way to earn money quickly and meet new people from different cultures.
Growers around the country are screaming out for workers that will last the distance and get the work done. One story from a Bay of Plenty orchard is ‘on the first day we pick the workers up in the van and it’s full. When we pick them up at the end of the week there are usually only 1 or 2 left!’ If you’re willing to do the work, then you can be very successful in a fruit picking job.
As with any job, make sure you take a notebook and jot down the hours you work and bins you fill. Sometimes details like these can be overlooked due to how industrious some operations can be.
Orchards often use pesticides too, so if you have any allergies, check with the orchard to make sure that you will not be affected on the job.
When you start receiving your pay cheques, remember to use a reputable online money transfer company such as OrbitRemit to send your money back home.
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