It was 1978 when Sandi Clink’s parents bought land in Katikati, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, to develop into a kiwifruit orchard; meaning Sandi was an eager 11-year-old when her life in kiwifruit began. Going on to purchase a Hayward (the green variety of kiwifruit) block in 1992, which she still owns today, made her one of the first female growers to have an orchard of her own. Her father, at 80, is still a working orchardist. He’s still caring for the kiwifruit and doing most of the orchard management; still driving the forklift and still loading trucks. With admiration, Sandi says odds are she’ll be doing the same.
But beyond the family connection, and her love of the outdoors and working the land, Sandi lives and breathes growing kiwifruit because it gives her a lifestyle that allows her to make choices. The choice of how to spend her days means she can work the job around her family. As a busy mum, her lifestyle has been able to focus on her kids – from picking them up from school, to coaching sports teams and cheering them on from the sidelines.
On any given day, I can be out in the fresh air amongst the vines, or inside attending industry meetings, but the flexibility works best when it comes to family.