Southern Cross Horticulture is a family owned operation that has been planting, growing and exporting kiwifruit for more than 40 years. Today, Southern Cross Horticulture is one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful orchard developers and production of SunGold (G3 Kiwifruit). “Through living our company values we strive to create the world’s best orchards. This enables us to fulfill our purpose of enhancing the lives of our team, customers, shareholders and community. In addition to our strong focus on employing New Zealanders, a key aspect of enhancing lives has been the inclusion of Kiribati workers under the Recognized Seasonal Worker program into our labour component “says Lee Du Preez of Southern Cross Horticulture.
Having first visited the country in early 2019 to understand the culture and traditions of the Kiribati people, a strong partnership was established between the Ministry of Employment & Human Resource and the outer islands making Southern Cross Horticulture one of the largest Kiribati RSE employers today in recruiting 34 workers from Kiribati, 28 males and 6 females in the pilot phase.
On her recent visit to North Tarawa this year, Southern Cross Horticulture, the Ministry of Employment and Mr Harry Tekaiti - Mayor of Northern Tarawa proudly established a pilot community upliftment program in the village of Abaokoro. The pilot program includes the recruitment of several RSE team members each with an individual development program for skills development over the next 5 years, and extends to the local school upliftment partnership with the Abaokoro Primary School, Bwaan Nei Kanna the designated school that Southern Cross Horticulture can start sponsoring with library books, stationary, uniforms/other needs the school may have.
The Mayor stated in his statement that “he was extremely grateful for the generosity and support of Southern Cross Horticulture for their commitment to investing in our community, helping develop our people, and providing extended learning and sporting opportunities for our youth. This is life changing in our community, our children, parents and the staff at Abaokoro village very much appreciated the donations of library books, stationery and sporting equipment and are excited to play soccer with Ms Lee again” says Mr Harry Tekaiti.
The following delegates from the Ministry of Employment & Human Resource joined Ms Lee Du Preez from Southern Cross Horticulture on their visit to North Tarawa to officiate and celebrate the pilot partnership program : Mareta Tiua (Senior Assistant Secretary), Tekotaake Keariki (Senior Labour Officer), Teairo Ioane (Senior Accountant) and, Bonibai Takaua (RSE Labour Officer). The team departed on the 11th February 2020 and returned on the 12th February 2020 in the morning.