Worker Stories

The horticulture sector offers a wide range of career opportunities whether it’s in viticulture or pipfruit. The sector is booming at the moment and you have the choice of creating a career or working for a part of the year. Below are some profiles of people that are well underway with a career in our industry.

Carla Emms - Stacker

Whether she’s testing for pests, analysing fruit quality or meeting clients, Carla Emms is enjoying every moment of her position as a horticultural consultant. With varied hours, an assortment of workplaces and numerous problems to solve, Carla’s work ensures that no two days in a row are the same.

“It’s a job where you put in 120 percent from October through to May,” she says. “A skill you really need is time management. You also need to be able to problem solve. You don’t learn everything from the textbook; you need to apply principles to the current situation.

Lance Williams - Tractor Driver and Apprentice

 

A year ago Lance Williams was unemployed, but after securing orchard work, everything changed.

Since starting out as a tractor driver he is now employed full-time and completing a cadetship.

All it took was the will to take responsibility for his future.

“I realised things weren’t really going my way, so I ended up biting the bullet,  said ‘I can do this’, backed myself and went for it,” he said.

Now his aspirations and dreams are becoming a reality.

“Physically and emotionally I feel better about myself – go do things off your bucket list. If you go hard, you can go far” so give orcharding a go – it’s life changing.”

Ryan May - Senior Leading Hand

When Ryan May returned home from overseas he didn’t have a job.

After hearing there was work available on Hawke’s Bay orchards he took up casual hours, and hasn’t looked back.

Now he’s leading a team of 20, overseeing apple picking and ensuring a high  standard in colour, size and quality.

“On my very first day I learned how to graft an apple tree and I haven’t stopped learning since. Every aspect leads to some sort of training – from tractors, chainsaw, hydroladders, everything –  it’s all there for the taking.”

“There’s plenty of branches to follow in this industry, there’s something for everybody.”

Phillip Sullivan  - Orchard Hand

Working outdoors in the orchard and meeting new people makes Phillip Sullivan’s day.

He joined the team about a year ago and hit his stride working in a “beautiful” environment with a dedicated group.

“Best thing about the job is the people and getting rewarded,” he said.

Putting in the hard yards has given him a great sense of achievement and something to look forward to every day.

“It makes me feel proud working in the orchard, by doing a days work the company that you work for appreciate what you’ve done, and they reward you.”

Te Aroha Toa Toa - Quality controller

 

Coming off an unemployment benefit and diving into the apple industry has proved a positive change for Te Aroha Toa Toa.

She’s been learning new skills, working alongside a “cool” crew and earning good money.

There’s room to move and grow, with plenty of other orchard jobs ripe for the picking.

“I see a lot of career opportunities here to move into full time employment. I’m absolutely enjoying myself. I’m loving being outside. I’m loving the fresh air.”

She encouraged more people to join the team and face new challenges.

Waiora Tareha  - Apprentice

For Wairoa Tareha, earning money to support her young family has been one of the best rewards after starting work in the orchard.

Horticulture keeps her busy every day – from driving forklifts and tractors, to picking and meeting people from all walks of life.

“I love being in the sun, outside, in the fresh air. I’m learning about different types of trees, insects, any kind of issue that could come with the fruit.”

“The thing that gets me up in the morning is to go to work, being able to support my family.”

Anyone willing to work hard would succeed in the industry, she said.

Tennyson Kemp  - Head Forklift Driver

Two-years-ago Tennyson Kemp was stacking apple crates in an orchard, now he has a solid career path.

“If you work hard and you’re looking for a job, there’s work here for you,” he said. “I’m doing this full-time and I really enjoy it.”

With commitment and the will to try new things he has carved out a future for his family.

“The money’s good here, it’s way better than the benefit.”

Not only did he like the financial freedom, he also enjoyed work satisfaction.

“I love my job,” he said.

Dylan Exeter - Horticulture Apprentice

Being part of the ever-growing orchard industry is exciting for horticulture apprentice Dylan Exeter. Now in the second year of an apprenticeship he is getting hands-on experience and learning every day.

“This is an exciting industry to be part of, “I’d recommend anyone give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you work hard with the right attitude you’ll get a job and it sure beats being on the dole.”

Dean Reti - Orchard Foreman

Before getting an orchard job, paying bills and putting food on the table was a struggle for Dean Reti. The Orchard foreman says with hard work and dedication he has gone from picking apples to driving tractors and is now part of the orchard management team.

“When I didn’t have a job it was a real struggle, it was very hard getting from week to week. But now we’ve got food in the cupboard, bills are paid, all the kids are happy – it’s really great”.

Dean encouraged others to join him and open the door to a brighter future.

“All you’ve got to do is pick these little darlings (apples) and make lots of money.”

TIM ADAMS - Assistant Vineyard Manager

Tim did a mixture of study including biology and neurology before deciding to branch out into wine. He studied Wine Sciences at the University of Auckland, graduating in 2012. Since then he has worked in New Zealand and Australia in various viticultural roles. Tim relishes working and living on Waiheke, and enjoys fishing and spending time with his family and friends in his down time.  He is planning to undertake a Masters in Viticulture in the near future.