Apples & Pears

Nelson / Tasman is the second largest apple and pear growing region, producing 30% of New Zealand’s total crop. The first apples were planted here mid-1800s and flourish in the warm and sunny climate.

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Work is in the orchards, where the fruit is grown, or in packhouses, where the fruit is received and packed ready to sell.

There are orchards in Hope and Brightwater (near Richmond), Motueka and surrounding areas. Packhouses are in Stoke, Richmond, Motueka, Riwaka, Lower Moutere, Mariri and Mapua.

Roles in Apples & Pears

Roles vary and include fruit growers, scientists, orchard and packhouse workers, food safety technicians, distribution and marketing experts and technology innovators. New Zealanders join the apple industry for rewarding careers from almost every background. Some come straight from school and work their way up through the orchard management and packhouse system. Others join us from university after studying science, horticulture, or commerce.

Learn more about the roles

Fruit Thinning

Fruit thinning starts in the orchards in Spring. Removing young and damaged fruit from a cluster allows the rest of the fruit to grow bigger and healthier.


Harvesting is the time when mature fruit is removed from trees. There are many roles available during harvest in fruit picking and packing.


With the harvest complete, trees are pruned ready for the next growing season. This is outdoor winter work, so you’ll need to rug up (at least until the sun appears and you warm up!).

Bud Thinning

Bud thinning work starts in spring, working in the orchards. You’ll be removing some of the new buds either by hand or with secateurs to allow space for the rest of the blossoms to grow bigger and healthier.

Plan Your Next Step

Come and see what our industry has to offer and plan an employment and training path.

For Employers

If your work is coming to an end and you are interested in seasonal workforce redeployment please contact:

Top of the South Early Response Team: