Remember that the farms in the tourist areas get a lot of calls, so you may be disappointed if you only call Auckland or Queenstown. Many farms in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa receive few calls. Call before 8am or between 6pm-8pm. Most farmers are out farming during the day and your call may go unanswered. If you change your plans and don't go to a farm, it is polite to call and say this and it allows the farm to accept other callers.
If you do not speak English well, do not call farms that say "Limited English? no" as you will not be hosted.
Farms cannot generally take bookings more than 1 month ahead. Do not write/fax farms with "Advance bookings? no" more than 2 weeks ahead as they will not reply. Increasing numbers of visitors are booking many farms in advance then not coming and farms are turning away other callers believing they are already booked. An addressed envelope helps the farmer with foreign addresses.
Your hosts will show you the home and parts of the farm. They will ask to see your membership book and for a contact address and phone number in case of an accident. Ask if there is anything you don't understand.
Ask what you should do in an emergency, which neighbour to call first for help etc.
On leaving you may fill in a visitor book. A thank you card is always appreciated as is a small gift.
You must be prepared to help with meal preparation, dishes and other household chores as you are making extra work for the family. Always ask what you can do to help.
Some farms rely on rainfall for household water. Ask and save water whenever you can. Ask when to shower, wash clothes etc so that there is enough hot water for everyone.
If you cannot speak English well, you should go with someone who can. The new health and safety rules mean that farms will not take people who cannot understand dangers when they are being shown or explained them.
You will be helping the farm on average 4 to 6 hours per day. Each farm sets its own rules and time limits to fit their needs. If you think a farm was unfair, please tell us about it so we can check it out.
You will given jobs that you can do yourself, or you will help the farmer with their jobs depending on the weather and season. Some jobs will be dirty, others boring but that is all part of farm life.
If you have a problem with any part of FHiNZ, call, email write or fax so that we can fix it for others. Remember that the scheme is voluntary and relies on good-will from all. Sorry, we can't fix the weather!
We are always looking for visitors to leave FHiNZ brochures in hostels around the world. If you are able to help with this, please call and we will send 20 to you.
To help visitors find the farms that offer a truly great stay, we have started a star scheme. When a farm receives 1 recommendation, it will have one star listed beside the owner's names. Once it gets 3 recommendations, it will get 2 stars. For 5 or more recommendations, the farm will get 3 stars.
To qualify a farm should:
1. Offer a happy stay in a warm. clean and comfortable farmhouse.
2. Provide a range of farm jobs for you to take part in.
3. Include you in some of their family activities so that you feel you are part of the family.
If you have stayed on a farm(s) that you think you would recommend to others, please let us know.
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