As the sun sets on the university year students are coming out of the shadows of their textbooks and looking to make some extra money. And as tourist numbers double the extra help is welcome support. Leah Tebbutt reports.
Tourist numbers are set to climb double each month over summer and to cope, more summer jobs are being advertised.
But there is an advantage for both sides of the employer relationship, says university student Ngahuia Macfarlane.
After a year of hard slog at business school, Macfarlane sacrifices two months of her summer break selling Cookie Time Christmas Cookies.
Over seven weeks she hopes to make about $9000 - as the job advertisement stated - but she confirms it isn't without a lot of hard work and commitment.
"You definitely have to be organised and confident. You always have to be on your game so you cannot have a bad day.
"I am hanging out for a break because we work seven days a week from 9am until we finish our evening sales right till the end of December."
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But the hard work is all worth it, Macfarlane says, with the first-year student moving into her first flat at the start of next year and the money will come in handy.
"It is challenging but it is also so rewarding because I meet so many lovely people, and they make it all worth it."
There are currently more than 1600 students actively looking for work in the Bay of Plenty region on the Student Job Search website, said chief executive Michael Leach.
However, 123 vacancies were listed in Rotorua in the past six weeks.
"There is a 25 per cent increase of job listings from mid-September to mid-March on Student Job Search while student activity on the website peaks from October to mid-December and mid-January to end-February."
Leach said the increase in activity over the summer months was often related to seasonal demands, from orchard and vineyard work to extra staff for tourism and hospitality to graduate-level roles.
The summer peak season was longer than you would believe, said Destination Rotorua's executive manager Visitor Services, Graham Brownrigg.
"The number of visitors coming into the i-Site during January and February is usually double the 40,000 per month that we see during winter.
"The visitor peak season now extends through March and April in Rotorua due to events like Crankworx and the Tarawera Ultramarathon."
In order to meet that increased demand, Brownrigg said he "significantly" increased the number of frontline staff from mid-December.
"And because of how long the peak season is, some of those additional staff will continue working with us until the end of April."
Summer roles had already been filled at the Pig and Whistle due to the warmer weather already making an impact on business.
Marketing co-ordinator Hannah Gimblett said a lot of applications were sorted through before they found the perfect fit.
"Basically without the extra staff, we would have others working massive hours daily. We need more staff to make sure everything runs smoothly in this busy period when our hours are longer as well."
She said the busy period would only start to die down after February.
Rotorua Lakes Council employed a "number" of students over the summer period, said manager of organisation development and capability Richard Bird.
"As well as undertaking valuable work for our community and enabling the students to earn income to support them in their studies, summer employment exposes young people to future careers in local government and provides valuable work experience to assist them in their careers," he said.
What is a Cookie Time seller?
Ngahuia Macfarlane works in the Rotorua-Tarawera area which reaches to Kawerau.
Her goal is to sell as many Cookie Time Xmas Buckets as she can.
Sales also help to raise $200,000 for charity. This year the Cookie Time Charitable Trust is supporting Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.