The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands visited the Kiwifruit headquarters of SEEKA in Te Puke today. Currently, SEEKA employs 112 people from the island nation who stay here to work on a seven-month basis. A month ago the Kiwifruit industry in the Bay of Plenty were calling out for workers.
Today, SEEKA are forging relationships with countries like the Solomon Islands to help with the labour shortage during critical months.
CEO of SEEKA Michael Franks says. “We are Lobbying the government to have more overseas workers to come here. Of course, we want to hire New Zealanders first that's what our priority is but the peak labour demand that we need is beyond what we can supply locally.”
This week the Prime minister of Solomon Islands is on an official visit to New Zealand, he hopes to build better working relationships here.
Raymond Soqevaleke of the Solomon Islands says, “I know it's quite far leaving home and coming away and leaving family and everything like that, but people are so kind here. The bosses and advisers are so good to us and I like it here.”
Jesamine Kaukui also from the Solomon Islands says, “Familywise, it's for the family looking after them for the community and stuff.”
Under SEEKA when they are here, they are housed, feed and paid but it's a big undertaking for them.
Diana Tagini of the Solomon Islands says that they have been here since November.
Croffson Mana loves working in the orchard, “I enjoy working in the orchard because I get money to help my family.”
Tomorrow the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands heads towards Wellington.