Samoa picks up the pace

20 July 2016, 12:00AM

PR - Data shows that a total of 1,427 Samoan R.S.E workers out of just 9,500 Pacific R.S.E visa holders entered New Zealand in the year ending June 2016.

But Samoa is not sitting on the sidelines. It has launched a massive campaign to secure more R.S.E employment opportunities for our people.

This was one of the missions of a tour lead by the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Chief Executive, Agafili Shem Leo, to New Zealand recently.

The delegation included, the late Chief Executive of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor, Peseta Margaret Malua, R,S.E Samoa’s Officer Savai’inaea Fuatino Tupai, Nastasha Siaosi from the Samoa Trust Estate Corporation, (S.T.E.C) with Tuala Joe Ponifasio and Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale representing the private sector.

 Meeting with over ten NZ employers recruiting Samoans R.S.E workers, Agafili described the brainstorming sessions as “motivational and encouraging.”

“There are a number of challenges that our R.S.E Samoa Office needs to address,” he said.

“But not to fear, I am confident that given our R.S.E staffs’ commitment to increase employment opportunities for our people, nothing is impossible.

“The brainstorming provided our delegation with valuable information based on concerns from both the employers and employees.

“And we have started addressing these concerns one by one to ensure that every detail is addressed to the letter.

“The ultimate goal as endorsed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is first and foremost, for more R.S.E employment opportunities for our people because it is providing jobs for our workers who often lack income-generating work. 

“And we all know that the earnings from our R.S.E workers are supporting families, help pay for education and health, and sometimes provide capital for those wanting to start a small business.”

And New Zealand employers hiring Samoans are praising local workers.

Mr. Apple’s experience

Mr. Apple has been sourcing R.S.E workers from Samoa since the inception of the scheme 7 years ago. This year they have 483 Samoan workers spread across all their orchards and pack houses. We select Samoans as they are;

• Extremely productive picking high quality fruit to meet market expectations

• Reliable turning up to work every day,

• Responsible by taking their duties seriously and giving us few pastoral care problems

• Friendly and a pleasure to work with.

Mr. Apple will continue to select workers from Samoa and look forward to maintaining our strong relationship with these exception people.

Alan Dobbie – OPAC Orchard Operations Manager, Bay of Plenty 

RSE to us is definitely a win-win situation. We train a stable workforce and willing to work to our standards. Our RSE workers mainly from Samoa gain skills they can take home and a regular income to support their families and community. It would be very difficult to harvest our crops without RSE workers. Personally, RSE is the best aid New Zealand can give the Pacific Island nations as the money is going in at the bottom where it is needed. 

Carl Fairey – Director Landstaff Limited – Hawkes Bay 

Landstaff Limited has been recruiting RSE workers from Samoa since Carl Fairey first formed the company in 2008. The company continues to only recruit from Samoa every year because the workers:

Integrate well with their own local workers who are predominantly New Zealanders of Samoan descent.

• Are hardworking, fit people and enjoy the outdoor work.

• Work well in a team environment, sharing knowledge and skills amongst working teams.

• Are motivated to earn as much as they can  

The benefits to Landstaff Limited having such reliable workers during the peak season has been two fold. Firstly, the staff recruited from Samoa has improved the company’s reputation of being able to deliver skilled workers when the harvest is ready. Secondly, contracts secured during the peak season often provide ongoing work for the local permanent workers during the winter months too. And, while Landstaff Limited enjoys these benefits from the workers recruited from Samoa, our company is well aware that keeping RSE workers happy is also key to business success.

We find the Samoan Workers to be hard working and capable of consistently high standards of work ethic and acclimatise well to the working culture in New Zealand. 

In addition we observe that Samoan groups on arrival soon develop a pleasing degree of care and common respect for one another while away from their homes. They will assist any of their group who may be struggling in both the 

‘in-work’ and ‘out of work’ situations with a strong sense of group care and responsibility.

Pat Pearce – Orchard Manager, Freshco

The R.S.E scheme has been a great success for our fruit growing operation. I rate our team of RSE workers the best around. Not only are they hard working and conscientious but are wonderful people to have around. They are led by Peniamina Tapuotaota (Ben) who does a fantastic job for us. We couldn’t achieve the results we get without their input. 

They have made what was a hard task of getting our fruit off at optimum timing to almost an enjoyable one.

Matthew Hoddy – Vailima Orchards

Vailima sources over half of its seasonal RSE labour from Samoa, we have had a long established relationship with Samoa and the RSE employees. We find the workers from Samoa to be fit, strong and have a great work ethic. They have a pleasant nature and a joy to work with.

Back in Apia, the Samoa delegation would like to acknowledge the assistance rendered by the NZ’s Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, RSE’s Relationship Manager Laulu Lafaele Lupo and George Rarere with the RSE’s NZ Immigration Pacific Labour Skills. 

In July 2016, the RSE policy will to enter its tenth season of operation and Samoa will reach its ninth-year anniversary which recognizes as a significant milestone for both Samoa and New Zealand relations under the Recognised Seasonal Employer’s scheme. This has clearly demonstrated both countries commitment to the RSE scheme and further strengthens New Zealand’s relationship with Samoa.

Samoa was and is still the third biggest sending country for R.S.E.

20 July 2016, 12:00AM

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