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Harvesting Work in New Zealand

New Zealand’s largest industry is agriculture, and there is great demand for seasonal workers. If you are skilled at animal handling, sheep shearing or cattle herding for example, you can earn good money. Similarly if you have experience driving tractors or using farm machinery, your skills will be in demand. You could even find work cooking for farm labourers at busy times of the year. There is a lot of general farm work available in the spring, from September to November.

Most backpackers however are happy to pick fruit or hops. There is work available all year long to a greater or lesser extent, but January to March is when a lot of the harvesting takes place for fruit. A lot of plant thinning work goes on in November. You won’t earn big bucks – a typical fruitpicker is paid on a “contract rate” by the kilo, and a fast, experienced picker will earn about $15 per hour. If you find work in a packing shed you will be earning about $8 per hour. November to March is the high season for hop-picking, while vineyard work takes place in August.