New Zealand dairy farms are becoming home for many au pairs who are heading across the globe to help rural kiwi families.
Taranaki Dairy Farmers 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 dairy farming 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 opportinity 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.”
The partnership means the number of licensed areas covered by Au Pair Link has increased, to include regions such as Hawke’s Bay, Whangarei, Dunedin, Nelson, Blenheim, Invercargill, Gore, Queenstown and Wairarapa.
PORSE General Manager Kerry Henderson said the partnership with Au Pair Link gives families living in isolated areas flexible childcare options.
“Childcare can be very challenging for rural families, juggling irregular hours on the farm with raising young children. By joining with Au Pair Link, PORSE can offer more flexible childcare solutions for rural kiwi families.”
The partnership also has benefits for au pairs, who benefit from the PORSE programme, which includes the opportunity to Â attend free playgroups, events and outings, and receive support through home visits, resources and professional development.
Au Pair Link General Manager Casey Muraahi says she is excited about offering more families across the country wider access to au pairs.
“We can now reach out to families nationwide and in some of the more remote areas. We receive weekly enquiries from families outside of our licensed areas. It is exciting that we are now able to meet these demands through partnering with PORSE.Â Even better as it’s a time where hundreds of au pairs are looking for host families heading into summer, especially as rural families get busy on the farm.”