It's that time of the year as Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards put out the call for more than 14,000 workers to help prepare the vines for next season.
"The plants are waking up after winter, coming out of their dormancy period," said Nikki Johnson, CEO of NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated.
"We're moving into the October to December period, which is our second-largest peak for work requirements after the harvest period which will start in March."
But with borders closed to international visitors, this year will be a little more challenging than most.
"We do rely heavily on backpackers and working holiday people usually at this time of year," Johnson said.
"Clearly with Covid that situation is a little bit unclear at the moment, so we're not entirely sure that we'll have enough of those people and we're actually really keen to attract New Zealanders and locals into the industry.
"It's a good time of year to come and work in the orchards. It's springtime, it's good weather, it's a pretty good job to have so we'd like to see some of those New Zealanders come through into the industry now just to help us."
While there are plenty of jobs out there, New Zealanders don't tend to seriously consider orchard jobs.
"I suspect people just don't really know what the job's about actually," Johnson said.
"They come to the end of [their course] and they go 'gosh, I didn't realise there were so many different things you could do in kiwifruit, and different jobs and different ways to contribute to the industry'.
"I think people really just need to learn about what we've got on offer."
For Te Puke local Loren Lilley, working in kiwifruit is much more than just a summer job.
"I was going to go into the medical field but in the end I decided I liked the outdoors. I like what they do here, it's very interesting, so yeah, I changed my mind."
And there are health benefits from being outside and staying physical.
"Physically it's a bit tough on the first three days," Tawhai August, from Ruatoki, said.
"But once you get used to it you achieve some benefit out of it. I'm 16 years of age, I make more friends that are twice the age of me and I enjoy talking to old people because it relates back to my grandfather."
Brodie Lutz Ehrhardt, a Tokoroa resident, said he enjoys the social element.
"The team out here is mean as, we all get along. Mean views coming in and out work, all around, the whole atmosphere around here's on."
• If you're interested in working in an orchard, but don't know where to start, the Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated website (www.NZKGI.org.nz) has resources to help.
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