01 Jun Afafa’alogo Faumuina
Name: Afafa’alogo Faumuina
Village: Papa, Savai’I
How many seasons have you worked under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme?
Two seasons. Last season was my first time.
What company/companies have you worked for?
Only for Pick Hawke’s Bay (PHB)
Can you remember your first recruitment? Explain how you felt and what it was like for you and your family?
Before I was recruited, I was working for the electrical power company in Savai’i. I have my certificates and I am qualified to do electrical power work. I left this job when my uncle Aviata talked to me, he is the leader for the PHB Samoan group. He asked me to come and join the scheme because he was looking for a driver to join PHB. I had my Samoan licence and that is why he asked me. When Anthony came to our village, Papa, we had a meeting and he explained about the Pick Hawke’s Bay company and about the RSE scheme. I understood we were coming to do orchard work and that it would be hard work.
Can you recall your first season as a RSE worker? What was it like for you?
At first the work was hard and I was a bit worried about the rules and following the rules. The company I work for is McFetridge and there are nine in my team. One of my first jobs was picking cherries for Jerf’s company (Rijnberk Farm), then I worked for Gourmet Blueberries and then there was apple work. The cherry work I found it was easy to do and the blueberry work was the same but the apple work was very hard at first. The work load was heavy and climbing up and down the ladders all day was hard on the body. After one week, I got used to the work and now I pick 6-7 bins a day, some days I can do 9-10 bins a day. The pay is good for all the hard work.
How did you adapt to the Western way of life? Were there any challenges? Were there any funny moments?
Coming to New Zealand was my first time, that was last year and it was also my first time on the plane. I didn’t know how cold New Zealand was until I came here. Our leader showed us everything here in New Zealand. It was good to have someone who had already experienced the New Zealand culture. The house here that we stayed in is really good.
The language was hard, I would try my best to speak English and to listen and understand it, that was one of the first things I tried to do here. Most English words I can understand but some are hard. The Kiwis would try their best to understand me when I speak English. Returning to New Zealand for the second time, my English is much better.
The road rules are different here than in Samoa. I had to do a test drive here in New Zealand before I could drive the work van. I had to get used to the round-about’s here, we don’t have these in Samoa. My leader would explain all the New Zealand road rules, this helped me a lot.
I have two brothers here working, including my Uncle Aviata, so there are four of us from the same family. My uncle is the head of our family here and he is also the Samoan leader for Pick Hawke’s Bay. We look after each other here and we all listen to, and respect, Aviata. We have a Samoan church next door to where we live. We go to church every Sunday. We also have family who live here in Hastings. This is good support for us getting used to things here.
Did you have a plan? What was it? Have you accomplished your plan?
My family all have the same goal. We plan as a family group of what we will do together as a family.
Do you have any future plans for yourself, your family or your village/community?
My plan is to build another house for my family’s future and purchase some cars. Living in the island Savai’i you need transport to get around to the town and the hospital.
What has the RSE scheme meant for you, your family, village and community?
RSE is a big help for our family and a big help for myself.
What do you love the most about being a RSE employee and the experience that comes with it?
I enjoy the work. I get to meet people from all the other islands and make friends.
Anything else you would like to add?
I want to say thanks to Pick Hawke’s Bay for helping us.