Seasonal Jobs in the Bay of Plenty

Work opportunities exist with a network of local contractors, kiwifruit pack houses and family businesses that we have built an association allowing us to remain up to date with any seasonal jobs that might be available. If you are a World Traveller backpacking around New Zealand looking for short term work, come and take advantage of Bell Lodge’s great weekly rates for those who do want to stay for a while and work.

If you are a backpacker travelling around New Zealand looking to come to the Bay of Plenty and Bell Lodge for a job, we will need to confirm BEFORE we place you in any job that you are the holder of a valid work visa. Also, a bank account, an IRD number or they are in progress. Should you not have a New Zealand IRD number and or Bank Account, these WILL need to be sorted before you can start work.
There are opportunities to work with family businesses in kiwifruit, avocados or flower & foliage work, though these jobs are highly sort after, so we make sure we send only the right people.

We only recommend contractors whom we feel comfortable dealing with who have proper contracts and work practices in place for you, “the employee”. With an ever growing network of contractors who work throughout Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty, it could be your skills these contractors will find valuable. If you do have skills or experience in any agricultural work, we may be able to help you throughout the year to find short term work.  Guests of Bell Lodge can take advantage of our services to help you find seasonal work, plus any travel/things to do advice we can offer at no extra cost.*

It is a bonus if you have a car and can take other people 3 or more (plus Driver), this works out well as travelling costs are shared making it cheaper for everyone. The contractor may be able to arrange transport for a small charge per day however it is preferable for the contractor not to have to.

While Bell Lodge Backpackers Hostel and staff advertise work that is available, we are 100% honest. We will not say there is kiwifruit / seasonal work when there is not. Not all of our contractors are working exclusively with us. This means if you cannot get to us quickly, the position may be filled by other means. Mother Nature can add challenges into the mix, weather, fruit condition and such making these seasonal work positions sometimes difficult to get started.

WE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE if the job falls through or the contractor changes the start dates etc. We will make every effort to notify you of changes or find other work for you where we can.

Types of Work available in Tauranga

Kiwi Fruit Work

Jobs are available almost all year round with breaks of up to four weeks between the seasonal changes. Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty are probably the biggest areas where kiwifruit is grown and harvested in New Zealand. Other areas include Northland and the Hawkes Bay. Some of the fruit is transported from those areas to the Bay of Plenty for packing and export.

Kiwifruit Picking & Packing

Kiwifruit PickingKiwifruit picking would normally start towards the end of March and last for 6 – 8 weeks, with kiwifruit packing starting at the same time though lasting right through to late September with repack. Currently pickers are required by our contractors, you can apply here for available picking work.

Helpful Tips

Picking requires an average of height 162 – 17cm (5’4 – 5’7), both men and women are able to do it. You should be able to carry about 25 – 30kg (55 – 66lb) in a bag carried in front of you. You should have good health with no allergies, back problems, strength and stamina. We tell people who are applying that it will take about 2 – 3 days to get used to the job, your muscles will be sore, you will feel bad, and probably you will not want to do the job. We also say you should stick with it, as based on previous experience most who get through the first few days will do well, and the potential to earn real money is there.
If you are picking Gold Kiwifruit, you will usually be paid hourly. Gold Kiwifruit must be handled carefully due to them bruising easily. It is normal for contract rate to be paid when picking Green Kiwifruit. There are many factors that can influence the amount paid for both hourly and contract rate, every orchard is different. When picking Green Kiwifruit, we have heard of people earning excellent money. The faster you pick, the more you can get.

Winter Pruning

The winter pruning of kiwifruit vines starts mid-June 1 – 2 weeks after picking finishes, and lasts for up to 12 weeks. Most contractors who employed backpackers for the kiwifruit picking season will take on backpackers looking for seasonal work in Tauranga during the winter months. Unlike picking, kiwifruit winter pruning does require some training time to learn and understand how to prune the vines. Backpackers who take the time to learn and understand the process can earn very good money, even on contract rates.

There is a period of general orchard work followed by the spring seasonal pollination and flower thinning till about November.

Helpful Tips

For those of you looking for seasonal work in Tauranga and considering coming during the winter pruning season, you should consider a few things before doing so.

You need to be 170cm (5’7) minimum or taller and reasonably fit. Be willing to learn before you earn – It does take time for your body to adjust and you to understand what you are doing. Have a commitment to work for 4 – 6 weeks employment with the contractor.

Spring Pollination & Thinning

Summer pruning and other general orchard work are available through the summer months. These include manual pollination of the kiwifruit flowers, bud thinning and summer pruning. There are also opportunities for those who are keen to work for longer hours (up to 20hrs per day) to earn very good money.

Flower & Foliage Work

We have forged strong working relationships with many growers of flowers and foliage in the Tauranga area. All are family run supplying premium quality flowers and foliage to the both the local and overseas markets.
The largest of them, having grown from a small enterprise of a few acres and a half dozen varieties to a business which today grows over 20 different products. Growing these products extends over three properties throughout the Bay of Plenty covering a total area of approx 32 hectares (80 acres). They extended the packhouse and cold store facilities to cope with current demands and expand further in the future.

Flower Picking & Packing

With a small team of full-time staff, the Packhouse Manager co-ordinates the picking and packing of all products throughout the year, contacting us just ahead of peak periods when extra staff are needed. They hire both male and female staff, although there are times when they may only need females or indeed only males.

It is possible that one day you might be working in the pack-house and the next you may be needed outside. And to be honest, if you are seen to be doing well inside you will probably stay inside all the time. Working inside can be a good thing as if you are working outside you will get to do so while it is raining. Fortunately, most wet weather gear is provided, if you do have your own, you can use them. There is work generally for 40hrs per week, and during some peak times, extra hours are available.

Our job is to ensure we send the right people as there is not the time for the full-time staff to be training new people all the time. A commitment of 4 weeks minimum is required, if you prove yourself, AND the work is available, you may be able to stay on longer. Although some of the work does require some strength, it is not hard work.

This job is some distance away from Bell Lodge so a car would be an advantage not essential as we do try to make sure we can fit you into a car. Sharing petrol costs etc. helps the driver out as well making it fair all round.

Looking for work in other areas? We here at Bell Lodge Motel & Backpackers are working towards establishing links to other ‘Working Hostels’ and seasonal work opportunities available around the country.

Mr Apples Seasonal Jobs



In Spring (November and December) season there is ‘thinning’ work, involving removing some of the small developing apples by hand to allow those that are left behind to grow larger for harvest. The job is physical (but not too tough) and outdoors. It is not difficult to learn, and Mr Apples provides full training. No experience required, only a good attitude and average fitness.


Late Summer/Autumn (March, April and May) the picking season for apples. It is the busiest and most important period of the year and your best opportunity to earn good money! Picking involves selecting the ripe apples, picking them into a ‘bucket’ and transferring them to a wooden bin for transport off the orchard to our grading and packing facilities. It is a physical job but easy to learn; again Mr Apple will provide full training.


There are also other opportunities during harvest season for work in the packhouses, grading and packaging the fruit for export. Indoor work is paid by the hour and Mr Apple again provide on the job training.

Other Important Information

As a working hostel in the Bay of Plenty, Bell Lodge has guest guidelines that ALL guests are asked to read and sign when checking in.
Often the type and hours of work can vary for each contractor, so some people may need to be in bed early and up early six days a week, while others may not have work for a day or two. Therefore our guest guidelines ask that you show consideration and respect towards your fellow world travellers, your lodgings, our neighbours and Management.

We are now aware that employers and contractors have introduced random drug and alcohol testing, as part of their staff management processes.
Bell Lodge will not be able to find further seasonal work for any person who’s employment has been terminated from one of our contractors/employers.

You should be aware that failure to advise the contractor you are not going to work may result in instant dismissal and, failure to give proper notice you are leaving will forfeit your last week’s pay.

Find out more about…

Staying with Us

Choose from a variety of great value backpacker rooms, private and shared. Several on-site facilities, such as the laundry room, help to make it easy and comfortable for you to stay with us.

Find out more

Local Activities

We have a range of awesome activities within easy reach, something for everyone … we’ve listed a few ideas and can make recommendations to help you make the most of your time and budget.

Find out more

On-site Facilities

We’re pretty laid back at Bell Lodge, you can choose when you want to focus on fun or relaxation. Enjoy a picnic or bbq in the sun, or if you prefer to have time indoors watch some tv or choose a DVD from our extensive library.

Find out more