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Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand

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!!!



Submitted by: Marina
Date submitted: 22/08/2011 5:07:20 AM

Apple grading & stacking Fri Jun 8

Grape picking Fri Jun 8

Blueberry picking Fri Jun 8

Hop work in Motueka Tue May 16

Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27


The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I don’t live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17


Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize it… Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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