A Hawke’s Bay Organic Apple Grower has given its overseas workers a New Zealand experience of a lifetime, taking them on a trip to Mount Ruapehu to see the snow for the first time.
Bostock New Zealand has been planning the trip for a few months as it wanted to provide a special experience for its foreign workers who are currently here away from their families.
Bostock Seasonal Labour Manager Ali Lawn says the company invested about $10,000 in the trip with money from its Fair Trade Fund , taking over 60 RSE Workers up to the Whakapapa ski field where they were treated to a trip on Sky Waka Gondola.
“None of our RSE Workers have been to the snow before so it was a real treat to share this truly New Zealand experience with them. They enjoyed just seeing and touching the snow. It was so awesome to see the big smiles on their faces.”
Salvin Webo is from the Solomon Islands and says he has only ever seen snow on TV or in magazines, so he got quite emotional when he experienced it for the first time.
“I’m so grateful to be able to explore the beautiful areas of New Zealand that we don’t usually see. My family back home just loved seeing the photos and videos as they have never seen snow before either.”
Wallace Sile from Samoa said it was definitely a lot colder than he thought it was going to be.
“It was a once in a lifetime trip. I’m really buzzing from the experience and just love sharing it with my family back home.”
Bostock New Zealand’s RSE team were accompanied by their Pastoral Care Managers and a photographer who spent the day taking photos and video for them to send to their families.
“The whole trip has taken quite a lot of organising but was well worth it to see the reaction on everyone’s faces. Some of the team got quite emotional as they found the beauty of the mountain quite overwhelming,” said Ms Lawn.
Bostock New Zealand’s RSE workers would usually return to their home country’s from May to November but the Covid-19 Pandemic and border restrictions has meant that many have had to stay in New Zealand.
Bostock New Zealand has worked closely with other employers around the country to ensure they have had employment, accommodation and travel throughout the off season.
“We understand that this is a tough time and its difficult to be away from their families, so we have tried to create new experiences for our RSE workers that they wouldn’t ordinarily have,” says Ms Lawn.
This has also included free weekly English classes to help upskill.
Ms Lawn says the horticulture industry relies heavily on RSE workers and this season will be no different with the industry facing one of the biggest labour shortages in history.
“We value our RSE workers and think trips like this are so important to show how much we care. We are constantly making a significant investment into the long-term sustainability of the RSE scheme. This is a fantastic programme which allows us to harvest our crops on time and create full time jobs for New Zealanders. It’s the best form of aid that we can give.”