Horticulture and winegrowing regional feature

Many seasonal horticulture contractors don't show clearly in source data because they're not employed directly by horticulture businesses. We explore where to find these people and highlight some seasonal trends.

What’s covered?

We look at:

  • kiwifruit in Bay of Plenty
  • viticulture and wine in Marlborough
  • pipfruit, viticulture and wine, and other horticulture in Hawke’s Bay.

We discuss what workers do, where those workers may fall within the data and workforce peak size and timing.

This feature is just one puzzle piece in understanding these industries' workforces. We look at the number of people receiving wages or salaries and self-employed people for each month. We don't look at how many workers are full-time equivalent (FTE), nor how long people work for, nor unmet workforce demand – these industries may have hired more people if they were available.

This data is from before COVID-19. Since then, many industries have had worker shortages – consider this if drawing conclusions from these trends.

Why we featured this data

We use the ANZSIC06 framework to identify the industry a business is in.

Within this framework, the horticulture (including winegrowing) workforce needs careful consideration because many growers outsource seasonal tasks. These contractors may not appear under orchard- and vineyard-related ANZSIC06 classes. This feature helps explain where to find these workers in the source data.

This feature may also help those researching the horticultural sector workforce. If using ANZSIC06 codes to link businesses with industries, you must take into account that contractors are often classified differently to sector-specific businesses. Not considering this would mean significantly undercounting the horticulture workforce.

Feature summary

Here, we’ve simplified and narrated our findings. The full findings, including graphs showing workforce trends, can be downloaded at the link below.

Bay of Plenty: Kiwifruit

Bay of Plenty is our main kiwifruit-growing region, and kiwifruit is the main horticulture crop in Bay of Plenty.

The industry uses contractors for most of the seasonal tasks. We see clear seasonal trends from the seasonal contractors in the 'Other agriculture and fishing support services' ANZSIC06 class, with peak workforce demand in kiwifruit orchards at the start of summer from thinning, bud rubbing and other tasks. We see a smaller peak around harvest.

Orchards send harvested kiwifruit to packhouses. Packhouses serve many orchards and have a workforce peak in autumn. We see clear seasonal trends in the ‘Packaging services” and 'Other warehousing and storage services' ANZSIC06 classes.

Marlborough: Viticulture and wine

Marlborough grows most of our grapes and produces most of our wine. Viticulture uses seasonal contractors for most seasonal tasks. Wineries employ people directly.

We see clear seasonal trends from the seasonal contractors in the 'Other agriculture and fishing support services' ANZSIC06 class and from Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers. The main peak is in winter, in line with winter pruning. There is also a smaller peak in summer.

The winery workforce peaks at grape harvest in summer and autumn. Wine grapes can't be stored and must be processed as they're harvested. The seasonal workforce includes cellar hands and smaller numbers of winemakers alongside those who work year-round. As these people are directly employed, we see this trend in the 'Wine and other alcoholic beverage manufacturing' ANZSIC06 class.

Hawke’s Bay: Apples, viticulture and wine, and other horticulture

Hawke’s Bay has large areas planted in fruit and vegetables. Apple orchards send harvested apples to packhouses. Viticulture uses contractors for most seasonal tasks while wineries employ people directly. Hawke’s Bay also has a range of other crops.

Orchards harvest apples in late summer and early autumn. There's some orchard work before harvest, like pruning and fruit thinning. We see a clear seasonal trend in the data for 'Apple and pear growing' following this pattern.

We see a similar trend for 'Packaging services', suggesting these workers may be mainly apple packhouse employees.

Vineyards have year-round seasonal activity, including winter pruning, wire lifting and harvest. Wineries also have a seasonal workforce – mainly extra cellar hands – in March and April, when they process harvested grapes.

Hawke’s Bay’s other horticulture production and processing includes summerfruit, peas, squash, sweet corn, onions and other vegetables. These industries may include many of the contractors in 'Other agriculture and fishing support services' as the seasonal trend is similar.