Tupu Employment and Training in the Far North

The horticulture industry in NZ has seen significant change since Covid hit our shores in March 2020. One of the most significant changes has been the loss of Recognised Seasonal Employees (RSE’s) from the Pacific Islands for undertaking key horticultural tasks such as harvesting, pruning and thinning. Add to this the huge growth in the export value of NZ’s horticultural crops and subsequent land development into horticulture, and you are left with a massive employment gap.

The far north of NZ is where much of NZ’s horticulture development has been occurring – particularly in avocados. Filling and maintaining employment roles in horticulture has been challenging, particularly given the seasonal and dynamic nature of the industry, and the misinformation that the horticulture sector is not a challenging, growing, viable career option.

The Tupu programme is very different to other training programmes and breaks the model of previous, unsuccessful employment and training programmes. The Food & Fibre CoVE appointed a researcher to write up a case study on the successes and areas for improvement of this programme to have it available to others who might want to follow in other parts of the country. The final report will be available on this Knowledgebase once it is completed.