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. Airport pickup is not provided in the program and participants need to arrive directly at the provided address.
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.All accommodation and meals are included during the Conservation Experience programme, on weekends (free time) as well as during the project days is included in the program.This starts from the Friday when the volunteer arrives to begin their programme. The first meal is lunch on Friday afternoon, and accommodation is also included from Friday night onwards.
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 £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) Please Note: -An application fee of $299 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 €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 : Above cost is for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch location, For Punakaiki project, $100 extra per week would be applicable.
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
Our program is suitable for adult volunteers aged 18 – 70.
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.
You need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions, allergies or injuries when you make your booking. The information you provide is kept in confidence, but it will help us to manage your condition safely. It’s always best to tell us so that we can look after you properly.
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
No, you will need to make your own way to the meeting point/office which is your starting point. All the meeting points/offices are in reasonably central locations, and we will provide directions to help you get there. You need to plan to arrive at the office by 11 am on Friday morning, and be ready to start your program.
If you are a citizen of the UK or any country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, you can stay in the country for 3 months without a Visa. However, getting a Visa isn't much of a difficult task. You can simply fill the Online Application form and opt for the Visa. For more information regarding the Visa, you can check here or get in touch with our Program Advisor.
Accommodation and Living
We provide wholesome food based on a typical local diet for the volunteers in New Zealand. Meals are a group activity with all volunteers helping with cooking and cleaning. Meal examples include cereals, toast, tea and coffee for breakfast; sandwiches and fruit for lunch; and meals like pasta, BBQ, curries or stir-fries for dinner.
Every volunteer is different and therefore spending money requirements vary. Some volunteers spend more on going out on weekends, doing touristic activities and buying souvenirs etc., so consider your own spending habits and budgeting abilities when it comes to deciding how much money to bring. The amount of spending money you bring is entirely up to you – it varies from volunteer to volunteer. While you are in the program, you only need enough spending money for social activities and sightseeing on weekends.
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).
Yes, all accommodation and bathrooms on this program are shared.
Depending on the project location and style of accommodation, rooms may be shared or there may be separate rooms for male and female volunteers.
You will usually be able to find an internet café or library with internet access on weekends. Internet access is not provided at volunteer accommodation – even if you have your own laptop, wireless broadband is not often readily available outside major cities.
It's always better to travel light. As space is limited, we ask that volunteers keep their luggage to a maximum of 15kgs in a backpack or soft-sided bag. We suggest that volunteers bring a small daypack to carry lunch, sunscreen, water bottle etc.
This is absolutely a personal choice. You should be aware that we cannot provide insurance or guarantee safe storage for items like laptops – you will need to take full responsibility for looking after it.
Mobile coverage can be limited outside major cities.
FAQ's Application and Program Details
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we serve on first come first basis, it is strongly recommended to apply for the program and reserve your spot in the program well in advance. You can book your spot in the program by filling an online form and pay the application fee.
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.
After you complete your application, your personalized ‘My Account’ will be active. You will need to upload your CV/Resume along with your photo in the same. Our backend team and the placement site takes around 10-12 days to review your application. After we review your CV and documents, your booking is confirmed and booking confirmation is updated in your ‘My Account’. Some projects need a mandatory criminal background check and the same is mentioned in the project info of your program. Approval of your application depends on your qualification and eligibility criteria for each project.
As long as you wish! We would say, the more the better! Most of the volunteers join our program for at least four weeks, but many stay much longer. Remember that you can book a number of starting locations and arrange your own travel to fit volunteering in with your travel plans around New Zealand. Our programs run in weekly blocks, starting on Fridays at 11 am and finishing on Fridays after 4 pm.
Note: If you are staying more than one week, weekend meals and accommodation are of course included.
Yes, of course, many volunteers choose to make bookings from two or more starting locations. If you choose this option, you’ll need to arrange and pay for your own travel between starting locations. You should either leave a week in between your bookings or arrange to re-join at your new starting location on Monday morning as we cannot accommodate volunteers arriving on weekends.
We accept bookings from individuals – you can apply by yourself, or with one friend. For groups larger than two, we recommend you consider booking onto different teams, or choose a group booking if you all wish to be together on the same project. If you’re volunteering by yourself, don’t worry –most people join as individuals and you’ll make friends very quickly!
No – just be prepared to join in the best of your ability! There will always be a Team Leader with you, who is there to explain the project to you (including the conservation reasons), show exactly you what to do and how to do it safely. You’ll learn plenty of new skills on this program.
Yes. The Orientation Session takes place on Friday when you start your program. We’ll explain everything you need to know, including essential safety information, and introduce you to our staff and fellow volunteers. After that, you’ll have some free time to relax and get to know the other volunteers, before starting your first project on Monday.
As most of our programs are dependent on seasonal conditions as well as a conservation priority, we usually assign resources and volunteers around 2 weeks before each project starts. We’ll let you know what activities you’ll be doing at your induction on arrival.
No. Our program varies, depending on the time of year, weather and conservation priorities. We’ll put together a program of conservation activities for you.
It will depend on circumstances and the need, of course. On some weeks, you make complete a major project, such as being part of a team planting a thousand trees or building a walking track. On other weeks, you may do a variety of activities every day. Each week or two, your projects will change to a new location. We include as much variety in the program as possible while maintaining the focus on conservation priorities because this is what you have volunteered to help with.
Our programs usually run from Monday to Friday, with weekends free. This may change from time to time on remote projects, where volunteers spend 10 days in a remote location, followed by a longer break, or when travel to a project site is required on weekends. Project hours are normally from 8 am – 4 pm.
Unless you’re on a remote project, weekends are your free time to relax and enjoy some local sightseeing. Food and accommodation are provided. Ask our staff for suggestions if you need some sightseeing ideas!
Our programs finish on Fridays. Activities are normally completed by 4 pm, however, you may then need to travel back with the rest of your team to our office or catch a train back to the city (we’ll organize travel for you). Our Team Leaders will usually offer to drop you off near the town center, station or bus stop if it’s convenient, or you can call a taxi to pick you up from the office.
Incase you are a returning volunteer, you’ll get a $50 discount on the application fee. Also, in case you are coming in a group of 5 or more, you ask for a discount and we’ll surely look into it.
Yes, Volunteering Solutions will provide you a Certificate of Completion, once you finish your work.