Wwoofing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and is a great way to get extra casual labour during those pressure times on the orchard. Don’t be put off by the fact that it is organic. There is a special category for those who aren’t strictly organic but operate a sustainable orchard.
The WWoofers work for four hours each day in exchange for food and keep, but some who have working visas are more than happy to work extra hours for pay.
The WWoofers hail from around the world. In the last two and half years we’ve hosted young men and women from Germany, England, Portugal, France, China and the USA. Our first WWoofer Mat* was from Columbia. He was a great worker. But as he was only a third of the way through his language course in Christchurch when it was disbanded due to the February earthquake, his English was limited.
Wwoofing does have a few drawbacks—language difficulties being just one of them. It’s important to check out your potential WWoofer’s profile on the webpage before you take them on. Feedback from former hosts can also give helpful insight. Take particular note of any special dietary needs.
From experience we have found it essential to set boundaries. I typed out some “House Rules” which I leave on the bed for each new WWoofers to read when they arrive. This explains how our home functions, what are our expectations of them, meal times, help with dishes, use of the internet and most important our personal need at the end of the day for some privacy. We have found this has worked well and so far everyone has respected our requests.
Being a WWoofer host is not only a wonderful way to get practical help in the orchard it gives us an opportunity to learn about other cultures. As WWoofing hosts we also have the privilege of sharing with these young people our New Zealand way of life and more specifically life on a passionfruit orchard. One of our most outstanding WWoofers, Mary,was with us when I broke my ankle in February just as the harvest was starting. She stepped right into the gap, was a great worker and tremendous help. Mary came back to visit us just before returning to her home to Germany. By that stage she’d visited many interesting places in New Zealand. But her dream, she told us would be to return to New Zealand with her boy friend and work on a passionfruit orchard! If you haven’t tried it, how about giving the Wwoofing program a go.
*Names have been changed for anonymity
If you require any further details please contact the Association and we can point you in the right direction.