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Article - The NZ Herald

House unpacking with a touch of femininity

WANTED: mature women to make family homes look like as tidy and appealing as something out of a glossy lifestyle magazine.

Well-paid, casual, on-call work in friendly teams, bit of gentle exercise required, easy to fit around tennis and golf.

Busy, two-income corporate families are providing the impetus for all sorts of labour saving services - and house unpacking after a move is one increasingly in demand.

But one of the few companies in the country offering unpacking services says that the workers it seeks are hard to find --- because they are not active job seekers or regular scourers of the situations vacant columns. But they often have plenty of practical experience in making houses into homes.

The 60 casual staff of The Finishing Touch Unpacking Services around New Zealand tend to be fit women in their late 40s and early 50s with adult children and maybe a sport or two.They may be saving for a holiday or financing a hobby - the pay starts at $12 an hour - but don't need regular part-time employment.

Their husbands are usually working, "and they're at a loose end," says Vanessa Godbaz, who holds the New Zealand licence for the Australia-founded company and runs it with her mother Julanne. The pair and their teams create some order out of the chaos following the move from one house to another. "We're the flipside to the big burly men," says Aucklander Godbaz. "We're the feminine touch, putting things away." Example: Linen isn't just put away tidily in cupboards, it's put away in colour-coordinated piles.

The service - which costs around $600 for a three-bedroom house for, say, two adults and two kids - also includes putting goods in cupboards and display cases, wiping kitchen surfaces down, filling fridges and pantries, hanging clothing, making beds, filling book cases, and readying cartons for removal.

The very last touch is a distinctly female one: fresh flowers.

Clients come home to find the work all done by women who have had plenty of experience in making houses homely. "A lot of the ladies get the satisfaction out of making it look good," says Godbaz. "They've got a feeling for placement. And they're people who like helping and who like to be around other people."

She seeks staff in these cities and towns: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga, and Wellington.

NZ Herald March 25, 2002

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