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Screened and Eager Workers Through Us To You

What we do for our hosts

Rural Exchange New Zealand (RENZ) works with partners worldwide to find young overseas people who are keen to broaden their practical agricultural work experience. 

RENZ Hosts receive:

  • A motivated worker with experience and a good attitude

  • The chance to forge inter-cultural friendships

  • A fixed-term employee

RENZ Trainees come into New Zealand on an NZ Immigration-approved work exchange scheme. RENZ and our overseas partners arrange all work permits.

What you can expect from a RENZ trainee

Rural Exchange New Zealand (RENZ) Trainees are travellers with agricultural/horticultural backgrounds in their home countries.

RENZ Trainees: 

  • Are screened in their home country

  • Have at least 12 months of practical experience

  • Have a reasonable standard of English

  • Have a positive attitude and motivation to succeed

  • Have the willingness to adapt to a different culture

  • Have access to support from RENZ if needed

What our trainees expect from their host

We make sure that our hosts can provide:

  • A safe and welcoming work environment

  • Arranged accommodation (e.g., private board, flatting, workers' accommodation, etc.) Accommodation must comply with New Zealand Healthy Homes standards

  • Paid wages and provided working conditions that abide by New Zealand labour laws

  • Availability to answer questions & help trainees adapt to their new Kiwi lifestyle

  • Encouragement to travel during their free time 

The process is simple

Rural Exchange New Zealand (RENZ) has two necessary application forms that need to be filled out. We ask for information about your farm, family environment, and personal and professional references. 

After we have reviewed your application and checked your references, we will begin working with you to determine which trainee personality would best suit your needs. 

As we receive applicants who fit your requirements, we will send their files along to you to review and accept or decline. In turn, they must also accept your job.

RENZ provides support to trainees and to hosts throughout the placement if required. 

Interested? Contact Amanda for a chat.

Kim and Jeremy Host Testimonial

Our Family and farm business has been extremely lucky to have been hosting RENZ students for 22 years. Jeremy and I loved travelling and learning from different cultures and languages; when we went farming with a young family, the exchange students were the link to continuing that learning. Exchange students have been the mainstay of our team through sharemilking and now as farm owners, we couldn't have farmed successfully without them.

We love their interest, enthusiasm, and work ethic, as well as our conversations and sometimes debates about the different farming systems. Our exchange students become part of our family. We have employed brothers and sisters, hosted many lovely return visits, watched trainees get together on our farm and later get married, and recently re-employed a past RENZ trainee as Assistant Manager. We even welcomed a RENZ trainee baby into the world.

Language can sometimes be challenging when hosting trainees, and we have had to develop simple ways to train and teach farm systems. Instructions need to be simple and written down, and our permanent team needs to always be kind and patient. As the trainees' English speaking improves, they are able to grow their on-farm skills and responsibilities.

We started hosting trainees with Geoff Spark, then Vicky Lucas and now with Amanda Schat,  They have provided us with fabulous trainees and the RENZ programme has provided farming students from all over the world with great opportunities to learn about themselves, NZ culture and NZ pasture farming systems. We have been extremely lucky to be part of that journey.

Kim and Jeremy Solly: Farmers

"Language can sometimes be challenging when hosting trainees, and we have had to develop simple ways to train and teach farm systems."

Kiwi Host Peter Testimonial

"The RENZ Programme provides a secure opportunity for motivated agricultural students to capture the farming experience and NZ family life..."

Peter and Lisa's Host Testimonial

Peter and I have been hosting RENZ trainees for over 20 years. The programme is awesome! From our own sharemilking days with a young family through to being farm owners with our children now often older than our trainees, it has been an amazing journey each time.

We have so enjoyed connecting with, teaching, and learning from our trainees, and it has led to many close friendships way beyond their time working with us on our dairy farm. Being able to visit them in their own home countries has also been another special bonus for Peter and I.

The RENZ Programme provides a secure opportunity for motivated agricultural students to capture the farming experience and NZ family life and to make lifelong, global friendships, all packaged in an educational but adventurous programme.

We always tell our trainees to treat every new experience as an adventure, as their time will go so quickly and the lessons learned and shared can be so immense, and….. a smile and a thank you go such a long way!

Our personal message to both the trainees and the host farms that are considering using RENZ - Support the values of the programme fully: the opportunity to gain so much from what you put into each person can be so rewarding from this unique and special programme.

Peter & Lisa Scott: Waimarama Farming Ltd

Andrew's Host Testimonial

Andrew has been a RENZ host since 1993. He runs a 300-hectare arable farm near Methven, growing around 11 different crops. Always eager for new opportunities, Andrew is always trialling new cropping opportunities to find a niche and a new exciting option.   

I have had one trainee each year since 1993, and in recent years, I have accepted 2-3 trainees per year to work with me. I can’t say how many trainees I have ever had since losing count after about 30.

Trainees are often very motivated to learn and take on the understanding of how we farm in little old NZ. We love it when a trainee takes an interest in management and understanding of the crops because this enables us to work as a team with all the jobs required on our farm.

For anyone nervous about being a host, know we never have any concerns with our trainees. Sometimes we worry about whether a new trainee will meet our expectations or if their personality will clash with ours. Sometimes it seems daunting to have to train another person each time, but this enables us to show them exactly how we want them to do different tasks. Sometimes, we have trainees where all they want to do is work and no play, but these are all things of small concern. The benefits well outweigh any possible negatives.

Having trainees on my farm has taught me a lot. I have learned to be patient and make a job list that my trainees can work through (this gives them a chance to organise their own day and have a sense of achievement). I have also learned how to work alongside someone whose second language is English. Also, It costs each trainee a beer each time they hop into or attempt to drive our Ute from the left side.

I have also learned new farming techniques from trainees with well-developed farming backgrounds from different countries. I have learned about different cultures and even a new card game!

We welcome our RENZ trainees into our family. We have a meal night each week and games when time allows (not for everyone, but that's me). We also have our trainees cook us a cultural meal from their home country. I still keep in contact with the trainees who work on my farm. So far, out of the 30+ trainees I’ve had, many contact me at least once a year. Some have married and now live in New Zealand! I've even been to 2 weddings in Switzerland.

As seasonal employers, RENZ helps fill a gap, which is difficult to do with local labour, which usually requires longer-term employment. I think that RENZ does a very good job of promoting New Zealand and helping trainees have lasting, good memories to keep.

Andrew: Methven Crop Farmer

"It costs each trainee a beer when they hop into or attempt to drive our Ute from the left side."

"Anyone willing to open their lives to new and interesting people would do well as a RENZ host."

Kathriene's Host Testimonial

Kathriene has been hosting with RENZ for over 15 years. She usually takes between 2 and 10 trainees over a 12-month period and has purpose-built accommodation for housing trainees.

Anyone willing to open their lives to new and interesting people would do well as a RENZ host. Having young, enthusiastic people around who share their cultures and ways has been very pleasant. We have had many trainees over the years. We usually take on anything from 2 to 10 trainees over a 12-month period.

We expect our trainees to come with a good attitude and willingness to share their knowledge and to learn from our staff.  We hope they are adventurous and want to make the most of their time in New Zealand by doing weekend excursions and leaving town to explore over the holidays and long weekends.

We have definitely developed lasting relationships through the RENZ program – we keep in touch with many young adults (some now with their own businesses and families). We have had a number of trainees return to New Zealand to visit us, and we have also visited a number of people in their own countries. We have always loved hosting internationals regardless of nationality - we enjoy our team's diversity.

RENZ has been a gateway for international friendships with our local staff and has brought an awareness of different cultures and how we can be different but also similar.

Kathriene: Canterbury Landscape Company

Host Forms

Application to Host