• Jill Herron

OCH is Go!

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

The Cromwell community are coming together to help our horticulture industry get through a tough time. The pandemic caused a severe labour shortage at the start of cherry season and there was a bumper crop ripening on the trees right. This industry provides liveihoods for many locals, is at the heart of Cromwell’s identity and is worth millions to the economy.

Cromwellians have a reputation for pitching in, looking after each other and getting stuff done so we know we can sort this and get through it together! Get in touch if you have more ideas on what we can all do.


Heavy rain in January added to the woes for cherry growers and staff but all proved resilient and many workers were delighted to receive gifts of food boxes from the community. Thank-you to all that gave so kindly and special mention to The Cherry Farm for veggies by the box load. Check the photos below...

We are now focusing on later stonefruit and grape harvest. Some events to welcome workers and bring the community together in the pipeline..

Here's some easy ways you or your group can really help:

Ø Rent out a bed to a worker: Even for a short period - you could share the time with a friend or neighbour. It can be a really rewarding experience and you can make new friends from all over the world and the region. Register your bed at this is a local business matching hosts, families and accommodation providers with employed workers who suit your situation. All your details are not made public, it's free to list and you can be specific about your requirements. The aim is to make hosting a positive experience for all and WAN(Workerforce Accommodation Network) will help make that happen.

Ø Donate non-perishable food for pickers and host families - Drop your cans and other goodies to Cromwell Community House, 5 Murray Terrace during working hours. Some of the proceeds from the Property Brokers-sponsored Can Drive for the Salvation Army on Dec 8, will be going to Operation Cromwell Harvest and we thank all involved for that.

The wonderful Cromwell Lions are helping store the food and we will co-ordinate hosts getting a box to help feed their worker or workers, as well as seeing any pickers in need receive food.

Ø Get your club or group together and take up an easy fund-raising opportunity - There's something about home-baking that is very comforting! Orchards have said they will shout deserving workers a special afternoon or morning tea so get your group together, get baking, make some funds and help our workers feel appreciated.

Hosting a BBQ or inviting pickers along to your events is another fantastic way to make them welcome. Some of these people will not have seen their families for a long time and may not have had the easiest of times lately. A small gesture of kindness can go an awful long way for someone, so please do what you can. Email

The fruit harvest has begun with the busiest period running from early December for 6-8 weeks. Vineyard work builds up over March to full harvest, usually late April.

We’ll be contacting groups and businesses as we co-ordinate this great community effort to attract, welcome and retain pickers and get the fruit off the trees. Help us by spreading the word!

Find Out More & Follow the Fun Follow Operation Cromwell Harvest on Connect Cromwell’s facebook page or email the team: with photos, ideas, event news and enquiries about fundraising opportunities.

Information for Workers

A Very Warm Welcome to Cromwell to all pickers, packers, pruners, lifters and loaders!

We hope you enjoy your time here.

Here's some good places to check out what events and activities are happening that may interest you and where to get help and information:

Information for all seasonal workers, especially those seeking jobs over the wider region, can be found here:

The Cromwell & Districts Promotion Group run some really cool events including the popular Cherry Festival coming up soon...

There's lots of other really good Cromwell info here too, on things to do, where to eat and play -

The Central App is a phone-based information app with Cromwell and Central Otago-wide news, weather, events, jobs, health, road name it, it's on there. Download from the app store and here's a link to their website and you will also find them on facebook HERE.

The Central Otago District Council website is the best place to find practical information about the whole area. Their stunning World of Difference site will give you a true feel for the place and its people and probably make you want to stay. Listings for region-side events can be found here too - World of Difference

Cromwell Community House will be hosting free drop-in clinics for any workers with any kind of concerns who might want someone to talk to.

Details to follow on dates and you can keep up to date at Connect Cromwell's facebook page too. You can also call Cromwell Community House on 03-445-1690 and find contact details for a range of helpful agencies, churches etc on their website here or download the full list below...

Welfare Support for Harvest Workers
Download DOCX • 143KB

The Cromwell Newcomers are a friendly group who have regular outings exploring the area on foot and by bike. They also have less strenuous get togethers and have extended a welcome to workers who may want to join them. Email or phone Sharon Ph. 022 111 3083 There's information too at

We'll be adding more information as we go. If you have something to offer or share please get in touch! Email:

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