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Waged or salaried jobs rarely became available in Ōhura, although some work was available on the surrounding farms. Some people in Ōhura village ran small businesses from their homes:

"I find if you want to live here you have to generate your own income."
"We’ve got 4G internet here, it’s really fast […] It’s one of the main reasons I came here, because I could work from home. Distance teaching. I could work from home."

Opportunities were available for tradespeople:

"If you wanted to be a builder, an electrician or a plumber, you’d be working full time around here. There’s not enough in Taumarunui. So all the plumbers in town are always… they haven’t got enough."

Locally, young people were generally considered to be employable:

"I’d rather hire a rural kid than a town kid. They’ve got a better work ethic. They can speak to you as well, they don’t just… text you."

While there was work available in the area, the jobs that most often were available were not considered to be high quality, reliable, or stable jobs. The conversion of farmland to forestry was considered to have had an impact on job availability in the area. Whilst some forestry jobs became available it was considered that much of this work was done by non-locals, and overall increased carbon farming was considered to decrease employment opportunities locally:

"Well, there’s forestry… seasonal work, the shearing. Stuff like that. If you can get a job on the bigger stations, the bigger farms, you can get a permanent job. You used to be able to. One of the biggest ones has gone, it’s all for carbon - that was three stations run as one."
"These days you need permanent income. You can’t have income on and off, you can’t get by on casual. So I guess if there is a permanent position you’ll get somebody to fill that position, but then the young families are reluctant because it’s so far away and mum and dad both have to work these days."
"Carbon farming hasn’t helped our community, it’s taken jobs away."
"It impacts the schools. It impacts shearers, the vets. It has the roll-on effect that it affects the community. In town, it affects PGG Wrightson’s, Farmlands, all that. Those three stations gone, that’s money they’ve lost out of there, the vets, the shearers."
"It’s bullshit when they say they hire local labour to do their work, because they don’t. Planting, even repairs for houses, anything. "

Similarly, it was noted that much of the labour relating to infrastructure in the area was not performed by people employed from the local community:

"I think most people who come here seem to work for a big company … you know, Inframax, Downers, all these others, the electric one, the lines company. So when you need something done you tend to get someone from a big corporation coming here rather than a local person."

Some residents commuted daily to Taumarunui for work:

"For people from Ōhura, it they wanted to apply (to those companies) and travel, well yeah. But that’s like most of the jobs. You have to travel. If you come out here you have to travel."

Whereas in 2020, prior to COVID, residents seemed hopeful that tourism would be the “next big thing” for Ohura, this sentiment was not as salient in 2023 and the potential for the area to benefit from tourism was not so strongly expressed:

"(Cycle tourism) is something we can do if we get our facilities up. Like have a shower here, which means we will have more of that kind of tourism come through."
"They hire the hall to sleep in and there are toilet facilities, but there are only showers at the B&Bs. "

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