Kiwi Pack House and Drivng on the Wrong Side of the Road

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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Plenty » Tauranga
August 11th 2010
Published: August 11th 2010
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So I got another job while I was waiting on a call from the fish factory, I now work at a kiwi fruit pack house. The picking season is long since over, but they freeze huge amounts of them when they’re fresh and then pack them for sales throughout the winter. I’ve been working there for the past week and will probably have work until September. The days are long, usually 9.5 hours, but next week we work 4 x 12.5 hour days, not much of a social life, but the money could be worse (well technically not legally in this country since they pay us minimum wage, but the number of hours helps that).

The pack house itself resides smack dab in the middle of a cell dead zone and the work phone can only be used to make local landline calls. When I get up in the morning it’s 11am back home and when I finish it’s 1am! So don’t be surprised if you haven’t don’t hear from me again in a while.

My specific job is to stack the boxes of kiwi fruit that comes off of the lines on pallets. There are a lot of lines as they are all divided into the different specific size categories and different box types. I am in charge of size 39 and 42 lanes, both very common sizes that see high volume from any of the growing suppliers. Because of this, I am usually kept pretty busy, but it sure beats having to take care of the size 27 and 36 lanes. Those sizes usually get put into trays that pile up very quickly.

Every box (or tray as the case may be) needs a barcode label and sometimes an export label in the language of the country it is intended for. The more boxes a lane produces, the more labels you have to put on them. As opposed to dealing with trays, I stack 10kg boxes, which “usually” take longer to fill than it does to label and stack them, however that is not always the case.

We had been riding to work with Max, a German guy from our hostel who also got a job as a stacker, but the rental on his car ended on Sunday as he plans to leave sometime in the next week. No other ride being available, I had to rent a car (a Nissan Sunny) so that I and some of the others at the hostel can get to work. I rented it for 2 weeks so that the cost per day would be cheaper ($25 as opposed to $39) and will split the cost of the rental on the days that we use it for work with the other 3 or 4 who will be riding with me.

Driving on the left side of the road is a terrifying experience. First off, it goes against everything your body wants to do, and the second is that I find myself trying to signal turns with the windshield wipers (the turn signals and lights are on the other side of the steering column). The roads here are narrow and there are only passing lanes in select areas and even then for only a few hundred meters.

My laptop is almost out of juice so I’ll post this and upload the pictures when I can, talk at you all later!


14th August 2010

Great that you called Grandma H. You are doing very New Zealandish work! We will be home on Sunday night. cheers, Leslie

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