Listless days in the Kiwi capital, Te Puke.


After 2.5 months spent WOOFING and travelling around the top half of North Island, I ran out of money. *Surprise, Surprise (NOT)* Bulk of the SGD5000 I brought along, went towards the purchase as well as unexpected repair costs of my Toyota Estima, which ended up being not so cheap after all. Being down to last few hundreds, felt mostly slightly worrisome.

It was 1 April 2015. We had a good lunch at Good Neighbour at Hamilton (thanks to Grabone), and drove over 100km to Te Puke – the kiwifruit capital of the world. We drove right to East Pack which is one of the bigger pack houses in Te Puke hoping to gain employment rather easily now that kiwi season had just begun. However, we were told to fill up application forms and that employment might happen only in 2 – 3 weeks time. We decided to keep our spirits high and rang up a couple of other big pack houses in Te Puke instead of driving down. Apata, Seeka and Trevelyan’s did not have any sort of a good news for us, as well. We cooked ourselves dinner and called it a day hoping for better days ahead and with more luck in terms of employment.

The second day in Te Puke was spent in Te Puke Library which was home to more foreigners (backpackers) hunched over laptops finding employment than locals. Having no luck with pack houses, we decided to look towards finding fruit picking jobs. As the next day was a public holiday, most leads we had was only resuming work in 2-3 days time. After nearly a full day of searching to be able to start kiwi picking work the following day. We expected to be able to survive with this picking job for a couple of weeks before we heard back from the pack houses. However, that wasn’t the case. A full day out picking in the orchards left us beyond smashed and we didn’t think we could last any longer. As simple as kiwi picking sounds, it is actually serious, tough labour. We earned a total of NZD150, inclusive of holiday pay for the 8 hours of work we did. Unfortunately the pay wasn’t going to be credited to us till next week.

Just as we begun work, which ended up being rather short lived, we started paying rent at an apartment in Papamoa Beach, which was relatively near to where our kiwi picking jobs were supposed to be. Thankfully, the rent we paid was only for a week and was rather affordable (NZD 100/week). We spent the rest of the week trying to keep our spirits up, exploring Tauranga and desperately trying to find some work at the pack houses.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

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