Volunteering Solutions, in association with conservation organizations in New Zealand, has taken up the noble endeavor to save the flora & fauna of the beautiful islands. If you share an innate love for the endangered species and for Mother Nature in general, then the Conservation Volunteering Program in New Zealand would be the perfect choice for you.
New Zealand is a picturesque country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciers. However, in the last few decades, due to the considerable change in weather and an overall rise in the temperature - the natural beauty of the country has been hugely affected.
It’s through these programs that you’ll get the opportunity to see the real wild nature of New Zealand’s environment, and by helping out with track cutting, pest control, and animal monitoring, you’ll make a lasting contribution to conserving these places and the creatures that live there for years to come. Some of the most popular sites include Long Gully Bush Reserve and Pigeon Bush Reserve.
Whether it’s tree planting in the winter, tree releasing in the spring and summer, or preparing the ground for planting during the autumn, you’ll have lots of fun and always find something new to learn during your volunteering journey in New Zealand.
Volunteering Project in North Island, New Zealand
The North Island has plenty of rivers, volcanic regions, secluded yet spectacular beaches as well as dense rainforests and rural landscapes. Volunteers joining the project in North Island will have to start their journey from Auckland or Wellington, where you'll meet our local coordinators.
AUCKLAND - The conservation projects take place in and around Auckland - nicknamed as the ‘City of Sails’, as it lies between two picturesque harbors, surrounded by sandy beaches and beautiful islands. The city of Auckland itself has plenty of parks and gardens to be explored in free time, plus plenty of cafes and shops where you can chill with your fellow mates. Projects also take place throughout the North Island, in the countryside areas as well.
WELLINGTON - Located on the shores of Cook Strait, and nestled amongst the foothills of the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges, Wellington is the perfect base to get a taste of the kiwi lifestyle. With over 400 hectares of the green belt, and surrounded by three different coastlines, the city boasts easy access to countless golden sand beaches, rocky coastal walks, and wild forested escapes. Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, otherwise known as Zealandia, is Wellington’s premiere environmental project. As a volunteer, your main tasks would involve keeping the perimeter fence clear of vegetation, wood chipping, track construction, and many other things which are important to the ongoing success of the sanctuary.
Volunteering Project in South Island, New Zealand
In South Island, conservation programs are centered in and around Punakaiki (accessed either directly or via Christchurch). This region is less populated than the North Island, and well known for its beautiful coastline and fantastic national parks.
As a volunteer, your main role would be the restoration of coastal land adjacent to Paparoa National Park - including tree planting, seed collection, and weed removal. Punakaiki is home to the world-famous Pancake Rocks and provides a wonderful opportunity to explore this unique coastal landscape.
You can also choose to work in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps in the Castle Hill basin to remove introduced wild pines and restore the natural balance. Set in a unique and rugged mountainous location surrounded by limestone rock formations, providing a great opportunity to explore this alpine region.
Other than these, there are Catchment Care Projects in Canterbury, helping with river and stream restoration by planting native trees and tending previous plantings.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference and should be willing to work outdoors and get their hands dirty. You should be physically fit as volunteering in this program would involve outdoor tasks that can be strenuous.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
- Being a part of the Conservation Volunteering Program, your main roles would be:
- Planting trees in locations like Tawharanui Regional Park as part of the ongoing restoration of this incredible landscape which has resulted in many endangered birds being able to be reintroduced including the rare bird and New Zealand icon, the flightless Kiwi.
- Improving habitat for rare birds and fish such as bittern, pateke, and mudfish by planting and weeding at Lake Serpentine.
- Help boost native biodiversity and provide additional habitat for native birds by removing exotic weeds which threaten to swamp native plantings.
Volunteer Work Schedule
Projects normally run for 5 days per week, with one or two days free per week for relaxing or sightseeing. Project hours are from 8 AM – 4 PM daily, although this can vary on some projects when required by seasonal conditions or project activities.
Volunteers travel to a different project location every week or two. This means that in a 6-week Conservation Experience, volunteers will generally visit at least 3 different project locations, and will usually undertake 2 or 3 different types of project activities, depending on conservation needs and project availability at the time. We incorporate as much variety into our program as possible, while focussing on essential conservation as the main outcome.
All volunteers receive an orientation session lasting around one hour and this is provided when they arrive to join the program at 11 am on a Friday.
Following this, volunteers will either be moved to the local volunteer accommodation, or to regional placements by train, bus or CV vehicle (we make all travel arrangements for the volunteers). The first weekend is free time for the volunteers, though some travel may occasionally be required on Sunday if they are going to a very remote project location.
Volunteers will be advised when their Team Leader will pick them up for the first project – usually 8 AM on Monday morning (times may vary slightly by season).
Additional inductions take place on every project site, carried out by the Team Leader before the volunteers begin each activity. These cover:
- The conservation aims of the specific project
- How it will be carried out, including any instruction or training required for the volunteers
- Essential safety information
- Facilities on site / nearby
Arrival in New Zealand
All participants need to arrive at the meeting point address provided to them on the program start date i.e Friday at 11am. Full address and instructions shall be provided to the participants beforehand.
The type of accommodation provided to the volunteers varies according to the project and location.Since there are various locations to choose from, volunteers would be either put in a hostel-style shared accommodation, or a caravan or camping set up. All the accommodations would be clean, comfortable and will have same gender sharing set up.All volunteers are required to bring a sleeping bag with them.
As soon as you arrive at the location of your choice, you have to report to your assigned project site, where you would be met by your project coordinator. He/she would give you a detailed orientation. Areas like safety, locations, transportation, things to see etc will be covered in the Orientation. After your orientation is over, you will be introduced to your project. Depending on the arrival date, you may have the weekend to explore the place and you are free to do so.
The meals provided reflect the local diet within New Zealand. For breakfast volunteers are generally supplied cereals, bread or toast, tea and coffee. Lunch is normally a self-made sandwich and fruit; in the evening volunteers enjoy a meal prepared by the group, typically something like pasta, roast or a vegetarian option. Volunteers help with the preparation of meals and cleaning up of dishes, plus some domestic duties as required. We rely on every volunteer to participate fully in the program, and the evening meal is a popular part of the day.We can cater for vegetarians but if volunteers have very specific dietary requirements (for example, food allergies), they may need to provide their own food. Please advise any special dietary requirements at the time of booking.
During your Free Time
You will have free time on the weekends and there is plenty of things to do and many places can be visited over the weekends. Participants can travel to main city locations on the weekends depending on the free time allocated by their project leader. For those participants in North Island, you can head out to Auckland to explore the city and those in South Island , can head out to Queenstown or Christchurch for the weekend.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- All meals, including on weekends
- All accommodation, including on weekends
- Project-related travel
- Volunteers wildlife or plant guidebook
- Pre Departure Information
- Orientation and Induction on arrival
- Local Project Support
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Travel to starting point at office
- Visa and passport charges
- Flights Cost
- Departure, airport and airline charges
- Laundry, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature
Health and Safety
This is an active program, and you should be reasonably fit. If at any time you have a concern about your fitness for any activities, please speak to your Team Leader.
In some cases, we may ask you to obtain some further information from your doctor before we can accept your booking.
If we feel that we are not able to accept your booking because we do not think it will be safe for you to take part, we reserve the right to refuse the booking. In this case, we will, of course, give a full refund of any money paid so that you can find an alternative program to join.
Flights and Visa
Accommodation and Living
All food, accommodation, and travel costs are included while you are volunteering and on weekends in between volunteer projects. You will need to budget some money for laundry costs (laundromats are commonly available with coin-operated washers and dryers).
Depending on the project location and style of accommodation, rooms may be shared or there may be separate rooms for male and female volunteers.
FAQ's Application and Program Details
Once you complete your application, your individual 'My Account' will be active in which you will receive your placement confirmation after which you can pay the program fees. You can pay the program fees later as well in installments, but 45 days before the program starts.
Note: If you are staying more than one week, weekend meals and accommodation are of course included.