After the busy summer and autumn season, where so much delicious fruit is picked, the winter months are a much quieter time for orchards and vineyards around New Zealand. However there are still opportunities for work. Be prepared for some cold starts to the day. Think warm socks, waterproof boots and lots of layers. The further south you venture for work the colder it will be.
Winter work can often lead to continued work opportunities in to the summer months. Some travellers have found themselves working all year round in a vineyard, but taking a few weeks off here and there for some travelling and road tripping if there is a bit of a lull in the work to be done.
Pruning involves cutting away any of the vine that is not required for the upcoming season. If this did not take place the vines would simply keep growing rather wildly. Pruning helps the vines to grow again at the start of each season with new energy.
Some vineyards will undertake something called pre-pruning which is stripping the trunk of the vines of any growth and creates an easier environment for the pruning to take place in the subsequent months.
Once the pruning is completed then the canes can be wrapped.
You may notice fires occurring in the vineyards around this time. This is the burning of the pruned vines and other debris from around the vineyard.
Simply put, wrapping vines involves twining the vine canes along the wires. It is important that this job is completed before something called ‘budburst’. When the bud has burst on the cane, this represents a whole bunch of grapes that will grow over the next 6 months. It tends to occur in August and September so there is pressure to complete this wrapping beforehand.
Stray shoots can begin to grow, usually from the base of the vine and these need to be removed by hand. This can be back breaking work, but is made easier if completed when the shoots are young. A brush or metal butchers glove will assist in this job.
Working in packhouses is a popular optional for short term work for travellers over the winter months. Kiwifruit is picked and taken to the packhouses for grading and packing. The kiwifruit picking season starts in March and lasts until around June each year.
If you have a forklift license you could find yourself on wheels in winter in one of the many packhouses in the Bay of Plenty.
Of course the slopes are an obvious option when you think about winter and seasonal work in New Zealand. There are a number of ski resorts varying in size that will have vacancies for staff on the slopes. As well as this many of the small towns near to the ski fields will be looking for hospo staff to man the restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and ski rental shops. Popular towns include Wanaka, Queenstown, Methven, Hanmer Springs, Ohakune and National Park Village.
Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington are all regularly advertising for staff for temporary positions. The work can include data entry, reception, executive and personal assisting as well as a myriad of other office tasks. It is worth checking out Seek and Trade Me where recruitment
Where to go to find a job
Check out the following popular websites for listings:
Outdoor work over the winter months can be very cold, especially in the mornings so invest in some warm clothes (layering works a treat). We recommend keeping your head, feet and core as warm as possible.
Often some of the jobs will require you to have your own transportation. So if you haven’t bought a car yet and think you would like to, check out our guide to buying a car in New Zealand. Do not forget your all important car insurance. We offer third party insurance with two options. The first is third party only, which covers the cost of damage that you may do to other vehicles or property. The second is third party fire and theft coverage. This covers you up to $3,000 for any fire damage done to your own vehicle, or money towards replacing your vehicle if it got stolen.