Retirees in the Kiwifruit Industry

Keen for seasonal work or more? There’s plenty of roles available in the kiwifruit industry to suit retirees. Over the next few years, orchards are expected to produce more kiwifruit and now is a great time to get involved in this awesome industry and get paid for it.

The NZ Kiwifruit Industry has more than 150 million trays of green and gold kiwifruit waiting to be picked and packed in 2020.

For that, we’re going to need around 20,000 seasonal workers from March through June at orchards and packhouses in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay, Hawke’s Bay, the lower North Island and the Tasman area.

ROLES

• Orchard work can be physically demanding but packhouse roles are available to suit all ages, including sorting/grading, packing, packhouse supervision and management, logistical support (e.g. forklift operation).
• Benefits of the work for retirees include the socialising with others of all ages and nationalities, the exercise and the variety of locations in some of NZ’s most beautiful regions.
• Kiwifruit work isn’t just limited to harvest and post-harvest picking and processing, however; growing kiwifruit is nearly a year-round operation and long-term and permanent roles are also available.

PAY RATES: Seasonal workers in the kiwifruit industry are guaranteed the minimum wage ($18.90/hr from 1 April 2020). In the 2019 season, harvesting roles paid an average of $22.72 per hour. Rates, however, do vary, from $17.70 to $30.50. Unskilled packhouse roles such as packing start from minimum wage plus holiday pay; more skilled roles in the packhouse for trained and experienced workers can pay up to $38 per hour.

PROVISION FOR RETIREES: A number of kiwifruit employers have made provisions for retirees wishing to take up seasonal roles such as shorter shifts and jobsharing arrangements. Some packhouse sites also offer parking space for the growing number of “grey nomads” – retired people travelling New Zealand and open to casual working opportunities.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS: NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc. places a strong emphasis on worker welfare and urges anyone considering taking up a seasonal role to thoroughly familiarise themselves with their rights and check out prospective employers carefully. Anyone who experiences issues or has concerns about their employment should contact NZKGI on 0800 232 5050.

MORE INFORMATION: More detailed information can be found in the useful guide to kiwifruit jobs, The Little Green and Gold Book and the Kiwifruit Jobs NZ Facebook page (@KiwifruitJobsNZ).