A French couple are not afraid to work with tigers worms that is.
They are proof work can be found post-Covid-19 if you are willing to get your hands dirty.
Julien Ferrero, from the south of France, and Parisian partner Lucie Kervazo arrived in New Zealand on 12-month working holiday visas on Valentine’s Day.
Ms Kervazo said they had barely started to travel and were working at a vineyard in Bannockburn when New Zealand went into lockdown.
The couple spent lockdown in Wanaka and, as soon as the country went to Alert Level 2, they sought work, she said.
One thing the pair were adamant about was ignoring calls by their Government line with all governments return home.
“It wasn’t interesting for us to leave because we’d only just got here, and actually it seemed safer here [than in France],” she said.
They found work at Cromwell-based Central Wormworx.
Ms Kervazo said she was not aware worm farms existed but she and Mr Ferrero were determined to be self-sufficient during their time in New Zealand and so took the opportunity immediately.
She had quickly warmed to the idea of handling worms and their by-product rich and light soil conditioner predigested by the worms.
“It’s actually pretty cool and interesting work. We’ve learnt a lot.”
The pair’s boss, Robbie Dick, said 4000 tiger worms weighed approximately 1kg and the worms produced their bodyweight in worm castings, or vermicast. “So 35 tonnes of worms equals 35 tonnes of soil.”
The product was distributed throughout the South Island to orchards, vineyards, farmers and private gardeners for use as a soil conditioner.
The tiger worms themselves had become more and more popular during his 21 years in the business, as environmental awareness grew, and were used in composting toilets, sewerage schemes, for stock effluent, in biowaste, and biodegradable waste products such as cardboard, Mr Dick said.