Chinese traveller Maya Zhang says it's hard work fruit-picking, but she is pleased to be funding her New Zealand stay.

Miss Zhang was spotted among the strawberries by the Wairarapa Times-Age at Wee Red Barn orchards north of Masterton.

The tourist, who has a New Zealand work visa, ran into difficulties this month when her bicycle and her belongings were stolen outside St Mark's Church in Carterton, where she had stopped to take a moment's peace and admire the stained glass windows.

The public, outraged by her misfortune, stepped up with offers of financial assistance, work and clothing after she was taken in by a kindly host family.


That same family brought her to Wee Red Barn for a chance of paid work, which co-owner Dot Bissett agreed to.

"I said we would give it a go," said Mrs Bissett.

"She's just the same as everyone else. She bikes out here every day.

"She'll build up some money and then will be able to move around again."

Miss Zhang said she had been picking for two weeks.

"I've never done this before," she said.

"It's my first form of work [in New Zealand], I've learnt a lot of things, and I like challenging things."

She said she planned to work for a month, to save up for travelling in New Zealand.

"I've got some gears for camping now, so I just need to save for my [touring] bike."