An Idea, No Idea (Part 2)- Polite Exploitation


Arriving at Kaikoura bus stop, I searched around the close vicinity for what I thought a Kevin who worked on an animal farm might look like. Wandering around for 10 minutes didn’t bring me any closer to Kevin and his ‘white car’ which he emailed me saying he would be in at 11am.

11:20am, wandering

11:25, my phone rings, Kevin is running late, no need to worry.

11:30, white pick up arrives, slight heavy breathing panic over.

Kevin, who is an English immigrant, moved to NZ 7 years ago from Bournemouth after cutting ties with home and city life to move away from it all. Lynn, Kevin’s wife, had a dream of owning Llama in NZ, and sitting in a cosy house in Bournemouth one night,they saw a farm up for sale in Kaikoura, and bought it. No turning back.

They seemed like a hardworking couple, but a few hours after being at the farm, I knew I was in for a tough time with some long hours or labour.

After a few days of poop-scooping, feeding, talking to customers, I soon found out the Kevin and Lynn were asking a lot from me for a bed and food each day.

After a couple of days with 2 other travellers helping out at the farm, they left, so only me Kevin and Lynn holding a farm up by the tips of our fingernails.

Here are a few diary entries:

31/12/14- Last day of 2014

‘Still only worker on farm, so another full day. Same routine as always:

  • 08:15 – Feed all animals (over 150) and fill water
  • 11:30 – Prep food, lunch and breakfast for all animals.
  • 13:30 – MY LUNCH
  • 14:00- Serve and talk to customers
  • 15:15: Feed all animals and fill water
  • 16:00- Farm closes, majority of days collect bays of hay from other farms in area.
  • 18:30/19:00- Finish (hopefully)


‘Got severely head butted by a Ram!’


‘Kevin and Lynn leave farm for 3 days to ‘sell some Llama in the north.’ In doing so, leaving me and 3 other workers to run the farm/accommodation, shows what sort of place this is…

If you ever find yourself looking for work in Kaikoura, New Zealand, don’t be enticed by the ‘Animal Farm Park Helper’ role on Backpacker Board, the reality is polite exploitation, that makes you feel bad for not doing mountains of work for no money, terrible accommodation and shabby food.

I have to leave.’


‘Last day on the Farm park, I have got my pass out, emailed a second hand bike shop in Christchurch who have a few hybrid bikes at decent prices. Booked a coach for 2pm, so obviously I have to work the morning, can’t say I will miss this place.’


The next part of my trip with no plans see’s a bicycle purchase and the start of a trip up New Zealand on two wheels, carrying way too much ‘stuff’, unlimited acts of kindness from strangers and many, many pies.

Until then, I will leave you with some trip advisor comments from Kaikoura Animal Farm Park. Enjoy.

“Filthy and disgusting should be closed down”
1 of 5 starsReviewed 9 April 2015

‘We went there recently and like other similar bad reviews were met by a miserable woman who was only interested in taking our money. $45 for 4 adults and one child. I can’t believe on the website and in the Kaikoura Information booklet it said it had a cafe. You’ve got to be joking a dog wouldn’t even set foot in the place it was dirty and disgusting.

This place should be closed down !!’

“Waste of time i Children were traumatised from the Experience”
1 of 5 starsReviewed 23 June 2014

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