Some of the larger employers in the area were considered to be the Ruapehu District Council, Department of Conservation and the ski field. Agricultural contractors in the area were also considered key employers.
- Employers were diverse and it was not considered that there was one major employer which employed a large number of people.
- Employers felt that there were jobs available but difficult to find appropriately skilled or motivated people to fill jobs.
“I struggle to find people who want to work. I can’t. There just isn’t the young people out there who are available. You gotta look. Nobody applies.”
“There is a perception that it’s remote. City people think it’s the middle of no-where.”
Forestry was considered to have had an impact on the town in terms of decreasing population due to conversion of farms, and fewer jobs available.
“When it first sort of kicked off, because you know they said there was work in forestry as well as farming but that’s changed, because they’re not pruning like they used to. Things are grown for pulp instead of timber. So that’s seen a downturn in terms of employment.”
Tourism was seen as a growth industry with opportunities for employment. However the large tourism operators were not considered major employers of youth in the region.
“Skiing, bush walking, cycle tracks, the cycle ways are a big thing. Guiding. Mountain biking. They’re generally employing people they bring in. It is seasonal to some extent… I think because when young people leave school they want to go to the city, that’s where they want to be, where they can work. And that’s been going on for the last 30 years, young people from provincial New Zealand going into the cities.”
“Some people thrive in the outdoors but there isn’t a variety of things to do. Not in terms of career or recreational. If you want to throw yourself into mountain biking yes, but even that, you’re going to do the trails and then what are you going to do? Is that going to keep someone who wants to start their life, their career, their family, whatever their aspirations are? Is this a place to start that?”
We’ve set up accommodation and it employs my partner full time. Tongariro Crossing has grown hugely. It’s impacted here less but there are still people who stay to do that sort of stuff. And kayaking on the river. With the hotel now they do kayaking, more in summer.”