Tongan seasonal workers (from left) Akosita Fuapau, Selina Malupo and Teuila Teu pack apples at a Richmond packhouse in 2008. Workers from Tonga and Vanuatu had arrived in Motueka and Riwaka under a government scheme. Orchardists have long struggled to get reliable seasonal labour, as backpackers often only worked for a month, and all workers had to be trained. Under the government scheme Pacific Island workers worked in the region for five-and-a-half months, earning more money than they could make at home, and giving employers a reliable labour supply.
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