News December 2015 - December 12, 2015
For the coming few weeks, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous, productive, fantastic New Year! This update includes…
- Host Grants
- Visa Regulations
- Moo over Belgrove
- A Sad Loss
- A WWOOFer Quote
We have received the final updates from the grant recipients and posted these on News. We love what they have achieved and that they involved their WWOOFers – we feel privileged that we were able to play a small part in making these possible!
We are aware that people cancelling at short notice or not turning up is still an issue. One of the best ways to deal with this is to place feedback on their profile. This way other members are made aware. We understand that some people are reluctant to place feedback because they are worried about receiving a “retaliation” feedback (keep in mind that hosts’ feedback generally lasts for multiple years). Please be assured that any defamatory comments will be removed as described in the Code of Conduct. If you are still unsure please write to us. Let us know the names and we will write to them and keep a record of what happened, and if it happens more than once we can suspend members.
Just a reminder that when entering NZ, if visitors say they will be WWOOFing, Immigration NZ will require them to have a working holiday visa. While we may not agree that someone who wants to volunteer for a couple of weeks on a couple of farms during their three month trip in NZ should need to have a 12 month working holiday visa we felt at least this was something for us to work with. Unfortunately there has been a situation recently where the Dept of Labour have visited a host and it seems that they are saying that we also must follow labour laws and workers rights which involves minimum wage/holiday pay etc. This is new to us and for the time being we are suggesting that Hosts don’t use WWOOFers in their operations when they would normally be employing seasonal workers etc. Again we believe that this is a little unfair as WWOOFers are generally people who have chosen to sign up to the WWOOF exchange concept as one of activities to participate in while travelling around NZ. It is voluntary and if they don’t like any given situation they are free to carry on their travels.
There are a few directions WWOOF can take on this issue
- Keep a low profile and carry on as usual
- Get a team of knowledgable people together to discuss ways to approach the government as to how we can work with the various laws to allow people to continue WWOOFing
- Go head to head and protest loudly etc.
If you have some expertise in petitioning or writing proposals to the government, are experienced in labour, tax or immigration law and are happy to help and get involved please contact us so we can set up a meeting.
Moo over Belgrove
I came across something I wrote recently – my impressions, thoughts and feelings when we first moved to our lifestyle block in the country. Andrew suggested it should be called ‘Moo over Belgrove’, which I think is quite fitting given that I have been boring them in the office with my ongoing cow saga …
A Sad Loss
It’s with great sadness that we learnt of the loss of a wonderful WWOOFer Nicole Leman. Out thoughts are with Nicole’s hosts with whom she had spent time with over the past year, her friends and family back home in Alaska. Nicole died while tramping in Mt Aspiring National Park.
A WWOOFer Quote
Aurélie from France wrote on the 5th November,
“Just a few words that will hardly describe those three weeks spent in a small hand-built wooden house in center-south New Zealand Mountain.
The place is amazing, the nature around, the mountains are so beautiful, forests and rivers you feel you are the first to walk on and contemplate. Water comes from a stream, so delicious and pure, electricity is out of a few solar panels. No phone coverage, you quickly get used to that. This place seems to attract highly interesting, warm hearted people. I have met lots of and only great people here, for their open-mindedness, their belief in God, Universe or whatever you call it, their love of life as much as their respect for it. Our host himself is a beautiful man, he has got so much knowledge to share about plants, birds, building a wooden house by yourself, cooking yummy food, living in a sustainable manner, and life in general. Days fly, watering the garden, checking the water tank, gathering firewood, checking mice traps, harvesting watercress, helping with cooking, baking delicious bread (without an oven!), watching the sky and bright stars talking about travelling around the world, owning only the most precious gift, present time…
Thank you very much for all of this, for the life I have had during three weeks and I thought was gone with my grand father’s youth stories. I wish you will enjoy this place for a long time, and share with many people the skills on how to live with nature on a long term basis. We so much need to learn or remember it! ”
We often receive feedback like this – thanks to all those hosts out there who make a wonderful difference in people’s lives!
If you have any quotes, stories or photos to share please send them in. We look forward to hearing from you – the WWOOF Team