Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Working and Living in Motueka

Motueka is famous for its apples and kiwifruit, bringing workers from all over the world into the orchards and packhouses each season. We worked at the Thomas Brothers Packhouse for two months and got a first hand impression of what seasonal work is like. We also discovered Motueka and its surroundings a bit. Here are a few impressions of what life was like for these two months:


From early in the year up to April the main fruit to be packed are apples. Everything from Braeburn over Jazz to more exclusive varieties like Koru and Envy grows in Motueka. The apples need to be washed, graded (which means sorting out the bruises, cuts, etc and separating between grade I and grade II), packed into boxes and stacked on pallets to be shipped all around the world.
The same happens to the kiwifruit, coming in from mid to end April until the end of May. There are surprisingly many varieties of kiwifruit as well, not only the best known Green, but also Gold, Charm and other new varieties.

Kay and me were packing the fruit and checking them for any kind of marks, bruises, wrong colours/sizes and so on. Sometimes we had very quiet days with lots of stops in between, sometimes it was really stressful and chaotic. The job itself was rather boring, but with all the people around us (mostly backpackers from Asia, Europe and South America) to talk to it was really a great way to earn money without working too hard. The supervisors were great, too, and took each problem with heaps of patience and a smile on their face.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Ocean, Beaches and Sunshine

The Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most idyllic places in New Zealand. The Tasman region gets a lot of sunny days, Nelson being the sunniest city in the country. The landscape is made of hills and lush native forest, covering the land up to the ocean, where the trees open up into beautiful beaches. The water has a shimmering green/turquoise color and the quiet bays are perfect for swimming.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Takaka Rocks

Takaka is famous for its rocks and they come in many shapes. Just next to town is Paynes Ford Scenic Reserve, a paradise for rockclimbers with a campsite (The Hangdog camp, 10$ per night. They hire climbing gear as well.) full of motivated climbing folks. No matter how cold, rainy or windy it gets, there are always people on the wall. We have been there a few times, with friends and colleagues from work, and we have only seen a fraction of what Paynes Ford has to offer. It is known for its big variety of grades and many tricky climbs with typical slopy holds.

Just five minutes from Takaka visitors can have a short walk through the Labyrinth Rocks (free entry), a natural maze of rocks with interesting shapes. On every corner you find some old puppets, toy figures, Disney & Cartoon miniatures or similar scurrilous objects. We most appreciated the beheaded Ronald McDonald halfway through the maze – a real artistic message there.
When we rounded one corner, we found ourselves in a graveyard of cattle skulls draped on the rocks. The best time to go there is probably at night to get the real maze feeling :)

Monday, 5 May 2014

The North of the South

The counterpart to Cape Palliser (where we have been in January) , Cape Farewell is the northern tip of the South Island. To the east, it stretches out into the ocean and forms a 26km long sand spit. Farewell Spit is accessible for short walks and some tour buses go out further towards the narrow tip.