Picking kiwifruit

New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry hopes the reopening of the country’s borders to backpackers will help ease labour strains.

As of this week, working holiday visa applications are being accepted from serval countries.

According to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI), the industry requires 24,000 seasonal workers for picking and packing roles. Backpackers have traditionally made up around one-quarter of this workforce.

“I strongly encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves and join the team,” said NZKGI chief executive Colin Bond. “Picking is a great opportunity for those who like to be in the outdoors, while the packhouse is suited to those who like to have fun in larger teams indoors.”

Backpackers wishing to travel to New Zealand on newly granted or extended working holiday visas can enter until 13 September 2022. Visas are valid for 12 months from the date of first entry.

Before Covid-19, working holidaymakers accounted for about 50,000 of New Zealand’s international visitors each year.