Au pairs on Hawera farms
South Taranaki has become home for dozens of au pairs who are now living just kilometres apart on dairy farms in the region.
The au pairs, who are mainly from Germany, have become saviours for dairy farmers living near Hawera.
Rachel and Murray Perks have two young children and say they used to struggle with the early starts in the milking shed.
‘‘Now that we have an au pair we can keep our children at home and don’t have to take them to the milking shed,’’ says Ms Perks.
When German au pair Veronika Burger arrived, life became a whole lot easier.
‘‘The best thing for me is that it doesn’t knock the children’s routine, instead of getting them up early, they can stay in their own beds.
‘‘It’s also really flexible, we come home and see the children during the day, which is something we would not get with other childcare options.’’
Veronika arrived in August, during a ‘‘hectic’’ calving season on the farm, and quickly became accustomed to life in a busy rural household.
‘‘She is part of the family and has formed a close relationship with the children. She keeps them entertained and ensures they are learning all the time.’’
The Perks family and dozens of other families in the area found their au pair through Au Pair Link.
‘‘It was a really smooth process, we were able to interview different au pairs over Skype and Veronika really stood out, we are very happy with how it all worked.’’
A love of children and opportunity to travel enticed Veronika to become an au pair, and has seen her make new friends and travel New Zealand.
‘‘There’s a good group of about 20 of us who catch up once a week for dinner, which is a fantastic support. We also plan trips around New Zealand together.’’
More au pairs can now come to New Zealand due to a recent partnership between Au Pair Link and New Zealand’s leading in-home childcare provider PORSE.
Au Pair Link General Manager Casey Muraahi says she is excited about offering more families across the country wider access to au pairs.
German au pairs working in the Hawera District. From left, Veronika, Ann-Sophie, Katja, Johanna, Judith, Maike.