Waterfalls. Streams. Forest. Kiwi picking.
01.03.2016 - 22.06.2016
Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated this blog... Let me bring you all up to speed. Though, to be honest, not much has happened these past 4 months.
My previous post ended with me buying a car, road tripping through the Coromandel Peninsula, and coming back to Mount Maunganui to pick kiwis. When I arrived to the Mount the second time, the kiwis STILL weren't ready, so I worked some labor jobs during March. The first was a one day job carrying giant wooden planks around a yard. It was pretty awful, and not just because labor jobs suck. The guys were all rough and my boss was a douche. Not the kind of guys I would choose to spend time around. Lunch time conversation consisted of the various things each guy needed to show up in court for...
My other job was laboring for a scaffolding company. Basically the same job as the first, only this time instead of carrying wooden planks I carried big steel frames, planks, etc. Sure, it was hard in the beginning, but I actually didn't mind this one as much. And I spent a couple weeks there, so I got stronger and actually started to help put the scaffolding together. I even had my own toolbelt. A real manly job lol... I actually had the opportunity to stay at this job instead of working the kiwi season. In all honesty, it would have been better money than kiwi picking, but I couldn't stand the work environment anymore. People pretending to get along but talking shit behind each others' backs, the boss constantly trying to get me to rat out the other workers, things getting stolen from the yard, it was all too much, so I got out.
I'll talk about kiwi picking in a bit, but first some non work related stuff. I had a lot of free time between jobs, and the beginning of the kiwi season was quite slow, so I went on loads of hikes. The outdoors was and still is my main motivation for coming to New Zealand after all.
These two photos are of Kaiate Falls, 30 minutes outside of the Mount. The walk itself is only 30 minutes as well, but it's so secluded and peaceful.
I spent a great deal longer than that just enjoying the sounds of rustling leaves and flowing water.
Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park is a huge forest park in the Kaimai Mountains directly west of the Mount. There's so much forest, so many nice streams you can have all to yourself, it's impossible not to find natural beauty here.
The start of the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.
The walkway is littered with remnants of the mining and railroad era.
One of the many beautiful streams I came across.
One of my roommies at the top of Te Aroha Mountain.
Other shenanigans were had too. My friend's birthday party/bonfire.
I spent hours watching the embers dance in the night.
Midway through the season the hostel owner cooked everyone a big roast. I was starving and didn't get the memo that we were taking a photo.
Enough about fun and all that nonsense. On to the kiwi season. If I could sum up the entire season in one word, the word would be frustrating. Too many things can go wrong, too much time was wasted waiting. You can't pick when the fruit is wet (it rains all the time here), the truck with the bins got lost, the tractor broke down, the truck got stuck in the mud, your employers accidentally left all the bags at home, you're basically on call because you never know when you're working, etc. I just think things could have been organized so much better. But I guess that's the Kiwi (we're talking the people now not the fruit) way. Too laid back, why fix something if it isn't catastrophically broken, efficiency doesn't matter. In terms of the actual picking of kiwis, it's is probably the most mind numbing job I've ever done. It's so simple, you just pluck the kiwis off, put them in a bag you wear, and then dump the bag in a bin. Repeat.
Apparently I love picking kiwis.
The whole gangs into it.
We pick so fast we're blurry.
You gotta try to have a little fun, otherwise you go crazy.
My tiny Asian friend, one of the only pickers shorter than me.
Hacky sack world champions training during lunch break.
Group photo on our last day.
Another, right after picking our last kiwis EVER.
Then we went out to celebrate.
I met a lot of awesome people during the season. Made lots of friends and had a lot of fun. Good luck everyone, I wish you all the best and safe travels. Until we meet again!
For now, I'm on the road again. So far I've spent a few days at a lovely little arboretum near Gisborne, walked a 2 day hike at Lake Waikaremoana, and spent a day in Napier (it's super boring and I actually have reliable wifi, hence I'm finally updating the blog). Tomorrow I'm heading to Wellington for 4ish nights and then to the South Island to find work. Probably vineyard pruning in Blenheim. More on my road trip and finding work next time.