Working For Your Keep Farm stays are an increasingly popular, if somewhat muckier, alternative to city B&Bs. In the countryside you can try herding sheep or milking cows, or sometimes even do a whole day's work to pay for your keep.

But when I showed up at Raratu Lodge, near Havelock North on North Island, ready to get down to the ranch and shear some sheep, proprietor Pete Hill was quietly amused. Forget New Zealand's shepherding heritageónothing could get him to herd sheep, even if he had any. "Field lice," as he called them, were far too stupid and too prone to...

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