Orchard Operations Manager
T&G Global Kerikeri
Originally employed under the old “Kerifresh” brand name, our very first group of RSE workers travelled from Tonga to New Zealand in October 2007.
Now under T&G Global, nationally we are one of the largest employers of Tongan RSE workers. Working with a wide variety of crops (such as lemons, mandarins, navel oranges, tomatoes and apples) our Tongans continue to be extremely productive while also achieving high quality standards.
We have formed close personal and working relationships with both our workers and the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where the RSE Unit is based.
I believe that the relationship has been a “win” for all involved.
We have had a very positive experience in employing workers from Tonga. Our business relies on a high quality of work standard and the completion of jobs within the required time-frame is crucial to retaining clients so our business can continue to grow.
We have always found our Tongan workers to be consistently hard-working and reliable which means we can rely on them to complete any jobs on time.
Workers returning each season mean we have experienced workers so less time is spent re-training. This also enables good trusting relationships to develop between the workers and management.
Wai-West Horticulture Limited (Wai-West) is an orcharding company based on the Waimea Plains in Nelson, New Zealand. It grows pipfruit, kiwifruit and boysenberries on approximately 200ha of land and currently employs 33 permanent staff, 106 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) employees and approximately 300 casuals (made up
New Zealanders and travellers) per year.
Since the inception of the RSE scheme in 2007, Wai-West has chosen to source all it's RSE labour from "the friendly islands" of Tonga, focusing on the islands of Tongatapu and Vava'u. Initially taking on 14 men, the numbers have grown to the current 106 for the 2017- 2018 growing and harvest season.
Wai-West is tremendously proud of the Tongan men and women it has employed over the last 10 years and the relationship between Wai-West, the RSE , Tonga Works and other agencies involved with the RSE scheme, is growing stronger and stronger year by year, especially that between the RSE and Wai-West permanent staff.
The people are very hard working, generous and friendly. They have an exemplary attitude of helping in every way and are most gracious and respectful in their approach. Most noticeable is their jovial and affable nature and their love of laughing and singing. They have endeared themselves into the hearts of many of our staff.
We have very much enjoyed working with our Tongan RSE as they have become an integral part of the Wai-west family, and we look forward to our continued strengthening relationship.
Wai-West Horticulture Ltd
Hume Pack-N-Cool has been part of the Recognised Employer Scheme (RSE) programme since 2008. We recruit our RSE staff mainly from Tonga. For our company, having access to our valuable team from Tonga assists us to provide a consistent labour source to our dedicated nightshift in the packhouse and our growers during harvest and pruning seasons.
I have seen first-hand the positive affect the income stream provides to their families and communities back home in Tonga. In particular, after the devastating storm in Ha’apai on 14 January 2014, we doubled our recruitment staff numbers from Ha’apai. I have seen a vast improvement in workers housing as they continue the rebuilds of their damaged homes and community.
Although I have been specific in my observations in Ha’apai, housing and lifestyle improvements are consistent throughout all of the families of our RSE workers. Many have now had the ability to build new homes on their family land, thus allowing some additional space for their family and extended family.
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