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Good News Stories / October 8, 2021

Foodbank in line for cash windfall from Kiwifruit Industry work-taster days

By James Smith

Luciano Garcia is offering people the chance to work in an orchard and earn a full day’s pay for themselves while helping a local charity.

Giving back to his local community is close to the heart of a kiwifruit contracting company boss who says moving to New Zealand has been life changing.

Luciano Garcia, managing director of Papamoa-based Garcia Contracting Services, has pledged to support Tauranga Community Foodbank with cash donations from a novel plan to attract local seasonal workers. It gives participants the chance to experience working in an orchard while earning a full day’s pay for themselves.

All workers would receive payment at the company’s usual hourly rate. In return Garcia will donate an additional $1 per hour worked per person to the foodbank.

“Any group of at least five people or more can apply for this experience,” says Luciano. “For example, a group of co-workers, a class of students, a group of members of a gym, a group of church members, or even a large family.

“If you have a group and you are keen to earn some extra money for yourselves or maybe for your organisation over a weekend and help our community at the same time, this is your chance!”

Each group member will earn $22.10 per hour +8% holiday pay and include paid breaks. Orchards are within the greater Tauranga area.

Individual groups get to work together, in the same orchard. All participants must be over 16, have a valid IRD number and legal rights to work in New Zealand.

“Experience is not needed as training will be provided and our supervisors will be with you at all times checking and giving instructions as you go through the job,” says Luciano”, who is originally from Brazil.

Foodbank was an obvious choice when it came to supporting a local good cause, he says. “At Garcia we are all about people and giving back to our community, it’s our way to say thank you for everyone’s efforts to keep our beloved kiwifruit industry up and running.”

The kiwifruit industry is experiencing a widespread labour shortage and efforts have been stepped up by New Zealand Kiwi Growers Inc (NZKGI) to attract and retain people into careers.

NZKGI’s Communication Manager Mike Murphy says: “It’s really great to see this type of initiative which benefits the local community. NZKGI is working hard to encourage New Zealanders to join our industry and taster’s such as this could potentially open the door to full-time employment.”

The weekend ‘taster days’ will also help address a local labour shortage at a time when summer pruning is in full swing.

“Some people may have never been on a kiwifruit orchard before,” says Luciano. “This is a chance for them to have an enjoyable day and learn something new and earn some money towards a personal goal that might be a holiday or a car.

“For some people it could give them a taster of what the kiwifruit industry can offer them in terms of a long-term career. Like my experience, it could be life changing.

“We have permanent jobs in operations, in orchard management, leadership roles, payroll, HR, people and culture, and pastoral care.”

Luciano started the recruitment and orchard management business in 2011 but has been involved in the kiwifruit industry since 2005. He aimed to create a company that belongs to New Zealand culture and has a good multicultural environment.

“New Zealand has done so much for me. I came here I was 29 and I started from nothing,” says Luciano, who has a background in economics and had a career in the clothing manufacturing industry in Brazil.

“New Zealand is the best place in the world. You have everything you need, it’s peaceful and there’s no pollution compared with other countries in the world.

“I came from the city and I never ever thought that one day I’d be working in agriculture. I just love it.”

For details of how to take part go to: https://garciacontracting.co.nz/good-cause/