Thank you for your interest in seasonal work at Suncrest Orchard.

This is a description of the work and conditions you will encounter as a “Seasonal Fixed Term Employee” at Suncrest Orchard.

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Job Description

Fruit thinning –

this is the removal of small fruitlets off the trees to enable the remaining fruit to grow to the desired size for the required market. This job is done with scissors or by hand and the employee must be fit, able to climb to the top of a 2.7 metre ladder, able to carry the ladder between blocks and place it in the appropriate position. You must be capable of working in the outdoors i.e. working in the sun or in cool conditions.

Payment is by a mixture of hourly rate i.e. $19.00 plus 8% holiday pay, and contract rates i.e. so much per tree – the rate varies and is agreed upon before the work commences on different rows.

Picking –

this is the harvesting of fruit to the required standard, and again this is physical work. The employee must be able to lift, manoeuvre and climb to the top of a 2.7 metre ladder. You must also be able to carry the ladder between blocks. You will be assigned a tree to pick which you must harvest to the required standard then you will move, with your ladder, to your next assigned tree. The employee must be capable of working long hours and be able to work in the outdoors i.e. in the heat and in the cold. Most of the picking is paid by contract rates.

The picking rate varies but the minimum bucket rate (5kg) for singulated cherries is $7.00 plus 8% holiday pay. You must be able to pick enough buckets to earn at least the New Zealand minimum wage ($18.90 per hour) in order to retain your position. There is occasionally hourly-rated picking, but this is very limited and the pay rate is $19.00 per hour plus holiday pay.


The seasonal positions in our packhouse involve standing at a sorting table and grading fruit into different grade standards, loading the grader, packing other summerfruit, making boxes, washing buckets, stacking pallets and other duties as required. The employee must be fit and have a good concentration span.

The employee must be able to work long hours and work can be 7 days per week. Payment for the work is hourly-rated -$19.00 per hour plus holiday pay + a $2.00 per hour bonus for those employees who complete the cherry packing export season.

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Work is determined by the weather. If it is raining, fruit cannot be harvested. If it rains for a couple of days in a row during the cherry harvest, then the fruit may split and become unviable for harvesting. This doesn’t happen often, but it can occur. Work can also be interrupted by decreased demand for the orchard’s produce, condition or maturity of the fruit, availability of packhouse space, mechanical breakdown, and availability of transport.

Cherry-picking and packing starts early/mid-December and continues through until early/mid-February, weather permitting. This is our peak season and prior to and after this period, we require fewer staff.

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We have accommodation available on the orchard in single-sex bunkrooms. Each bunkroom sleeps 16 and has its own kitchen and TV. Bathroom and laundry facilities are also provided for our staff staying on-site. Because everybody is working hard and requires a decent sleep, the following rules apply to those who stay in our accommodation. If you break these rules you will be asked to find alternative accommodation.

  • No alcohol is allowed on the premises. There are plenty of pubs with courtesy coaches that would be pleased to accept your business should you wish to drink.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • No loud music or excessive noise after 10 o’clock at night. We have neighbours who value peace and quiet.

To stay in our accommodation, you will need to bring your own bedding (sleeping bag or sheets, pillowcase and blankets), a cup or glass, a plate, cutlery and something to cook with eg a pot or pan. You will also need to provide your own food and personal items.

We also have a range of off-site accommodation available as well.

We also have tents available for staff to hire and use at a nearby camping ground. A small bond is required in order to hire a tent, and this is refunded if the tent is returned to the orchard in good condition. If you are interested in this option for your accommodation please make a note of this on your job application form.

All of our accommodation will be booked on a first-come-first-served basis and it is advisable to book early if you want to stay in Suncrest Orchard’s on or off-site accommodation.

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If you wish to work at Suncrest Orchard, it is preferable that you have some form of transport as we are 5km from Cromwell. During our peak season, from mid-December until the start of February, we provide a free shuttle service to and from work if you are staying in Cromwell.

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Pay is weekly and is paid by direct credit, so you require a New Zealand bank account. Also, you need an IRD number, and if you are from overseas, a current New Zealand work visa.

Keen to work?
Then please complete our online application form.