Philmy Chite splits his years into two.

One half of the year he's focuses on his taxi business in the Solomon Islands. The other half of the year he's in Hawke's Bay, picking apples.

Chite landed back in Hastings this week with a group of 16 others from the Solomon Islands as part of the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme.

It's the sixth year in a row he's done it, and he loves it.


Chite said the scheme was a "really good idea" that helped many in the islands.

"It's really big money.

"We stay here for sixth months working, picking and then thinning. There's lots of work and we really like it."

The scheme also provided a chance to make great friends, with most of the people involved in the scheme all coming back regularly.

RSE workers would normally pick more than four bins of apples a day but some people could manage to do six or seven bins every day, Chite said.

"Every year you get faster than before because you get some experience and you have to use your common sense as well."

The RSE policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers, mostly from the Pacific Islands, to plug gaps in seasonal staffing numbers.

Bostock NZ owner John Bostock said there would be more need than ever for RSE-approved workers in Hawke's Bay this year.


"It's a great scheme, with unemployment so low it is going to be very hard to find seasonal workers."