Talofa, Malo e lelei - vaccinated seasonal workers from Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu will soon be able to skip managed isolation and quarantine as they begin arriving in the country ahead of the upcoming harvest season.
However, those in the horticulture industry say it's 18 months "too late" as they prepare for another "traumatic season".
Minister for Primary Industries Damien O'Connor announced on Friday the first stage of "one-way, quarantine travel" will begin next month with the arrival of recognised seasonal employment (RSE) workers.
"Where last year the number of RSE workers from these nations was restricted due to MIQ restraints, they will be able to come through in greater numbers," he said.
"Having people come to our shores through the RSE scheme to harvest and prune is essential to us maintaining our economic recovery."
During peak harvest time, there are normally about 10,500 RSE workers based in New Zealand, but there are only about 7000 at the moment.
This contributed to significant labour shortages during the harvest season last year, and many orchards were forced to leave fruit to rot because there was no one to pick it.
Apple grower Paul Paynter, of the Yummy Fruit Company, said those in the industry welcomed the certainty, describing the MIQ-free travel arrangement as "a triumph of pragmatism".
However, a labour shortage still loomed as RSE workers only made up about a third of their employees, and there was a shortage of Kiwis and backpackers.
"The Kiwis have disappeared and the backpackers haven't been arriving and are trickling out."
Paynter estimated Hawke's Bay alone needed 10,000 seasonal workers.
"This is great but it won't solve the problem. We know we're in for another traumatic season."
He said smaller growers would be hit the hardest and morale was low across the region, despite good growing conditions and a promising crop.
O'Connor said the Government remained committed to the RSE scheme, despite the challenges of Covid-19 and was aware of its importance to the horticulture sector which contributes to $6 billion worth of exports.
"We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry ... in time for the current fruit-picking season."
The Government would be taking a "cautious approach" with strict entry conditions in place, he said.
The workers will be required to have received at least their first shot before arriving, complete a period of self-isolation on arrival, and return negative Covid-19 tests at day zero and day five.
Workers would arrive in a cohort and stay in employer-arranged accommodation, which would minimise the risk of transmission, he said.
Tukituki MP Anna Lorck said the start of one-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers would provide Hawke's Bay growers with certainty after what had been an incredibly challenging time.
"The safe return of RSEs will also have a very positive flow-on impact for hundreds of people and their families across Hawke's Bay whose jobs and businesses are part of our horticultural sector.
"For our smaller growers, who until now relied on a backpacker workforce, I'm also confident that the industry will work together to help support them by ensuring mechanisms are in place through larger growers and contractors, to help harvest their fruit."