New Zealand Wilderness Conservation
  • Backcountry wildlife & habitat conservation
  • Variety of outdoor activities & skills developed, such as:
    • Hiking wilderness trails
    • Checking and re-baiting trap stations
    • Using GPS for navigation and to record geospatial data
    • Using walkie-talkies for communication in the field
    • Monitoring wildlife and predator populations
    • Re-marking and maintaining trails
    • Building trap stations and other equipment
    • Carrying in and replacing old monitoring tunnels and trap stations
    • Eradicating noxious weeds
    • Planting native trees and plants
  • Temperate climate, southern hemisphere season cycle.
  • No experience necessary - training provided
  • Volunteer for 1 - 6 weeks, year round
  • Meals and shared accommodation included
  • From US $295 per week

More information…

What will I be doing?

You will be helping in the conservation of wildlife habitat in back country New Zealand. Typical activities include:

  • Hiking wilderness trails
  • Checking and re-baiting trap stations
  • Using GPS for navigation and to record geospatial data
  • Using walkie-talkies for communication in the field
  • Monitoring wildlife and predator populations
  • Re-marking and maintaining trails
  • Building trap stations and other equipment
  • Carrying in and replacing old monitoring tunnels and trap stations
  • Eradicating noxious weeds
  • Planting native trees and plants

Specific activities typically vary depending on the season, weather, and project requirements.

What is a typical weekly schedule?

Monday & Tuesday:
Trap stations: After breakfast, you will prepare a packed lunch before being collected from the volunteer accommodation around 8am. You will be briefed on the project for the day, and travel to the site location. On arrival you will coordinate with the other volunteers and team leaders to carry the necessary equipment. You will hike to the first trap station and begin checking the lines you have been assigned. Lunch is eaten in the outdoors as it suits those the team. In the afternoon you will complete the lines and return to the meeting point. Travel back to the volunteer accommodation around 4pm before having a chance to shower and relax before preparing dinner together with other volunteers.

Wednesday:
Trail upkeep: After breakfast, you will prepare a packed lunch before being collected from the volunteer accommodation around 9am. You will be briefed on the project for the day, and travel to the site location. On arrival you will coordinate with the other volunteers and team leaders to carry the necessary equipment. Today you will be maintaining some of the network of project trails in the forest, which includes cutting back the vegetation (using hand and power tools as appropriate), remarking the trails with tracking tape and signage, and levelling the ground (or building steps) if required. Lunch is eaten in the outdoors as it suits those the team. In the afternoon you will complete the trail maintenance and return to the meeting point. Travel back to the volunteer accommodation around 4pm before having a chance to shower and relax before preparing dinner together with other volunteers.

Thursday:
Trap station box installation: After breakfast, you will prepare a packed lunch before being collected from the volunteer accommodation around 8am. You will be briefed on the project for the day, and travel to the site location. On arrival you will be shown how to coordinate with the other volunteers to put together some of the trap station boxes (using hammer and nails or other tools as required). During the morning, you will build boxes, then have lunch at the barn. In the afternoon, you will be carrying some of the station boxes into the forest (using backpacks) and installing them on the lines. You will then hike back to the barn and travel back to the volunteer accommodation around 4pm before having a chance to shower and relax before preparing dinner together with other volunteers.

Friday:
Noxious weed removal and tree planting: After breakfast, you will prepare a packed lunch before being collected from the volunteer accommodation around 9am. You will be briefed on the project for the day, and travel to the site location. On arrival you will be given equipment to carry (weed removal tools, plants, etc) and then hike to the project location (typically a forest or wetland landscape). During the morning you will help to remove weeds (such as wild ginger or wattle), and have lunch in the forest. In the afternoon, you will continue with weed removal or tree planting, before hiking back to the vehicles and and travelling back to the volunteer accommodation around 4pm.

Saturday & Sunday:
Free time to explore the area, swim at the beach (summer months), walking and hiking, kayaking (extra cost), fishing (with own equipment), or relax at the volunteer accommodation. There may be opportunity to coordinate with the locals to travel to the nearest town (Coromandel Town) — a one hour drive — where there are stores, access to tour operators, rental cars, and other attractions.

Please note that the specific activities during your volunteer placement will vary depending on the season, weather, and project requirements. The schedule above gives a general guide as to a typical format of a week with the project.

Where is the project located?

This project is situated on the tranquil Coromandel Peninsula, a short journey from New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. The Coromandel Peninsula is a hub for endangered species restoration and recovery.

How long can I volunteer for?

The minimum placement period for this project is 1 week, although it is recommended that volunteers attend for at least 2 weeks to get a full appreciation of this project and its range of activities. The maximum placement period is 6 weeks.

When can I volunteer / available dates?

This project hosts volunteers at most times of the year. Start dates are flexible, although it is helpful if volunteers can arrive on a weekday (Monday – Friday). Currently available placements are shown below:

KEY:
= No placements available.
= 1 or 2 placements available.
= 3 or more placements available.


April 2017: Placements available.
May 2017: Placements available.
June 2017: Placements available.
July 2017: Placements available.
August 2017: Placements available.
September 2017: Placements available.
October 2017: Placements available.
November 2017: Placements available.
December 2017: Placements available during 1 – 15 December 2017 only.
15 December 2017 – 5 January 2018: No placements available.
January 2018: Placements available after 5 January 2018 only.
February 2018: Placements available.
March 2018: Placements available.
April 2018: Placements available.

Accommodation facilities

Volunteers are accommodated in various locations depending on the project work. Your accommodation will be a mix of homestays with project team members, tenting, or staying in the dedicated volunteer cottage. You will share accommodation with other volunteers and project team members, and you can expect to share meal preparation and housekeeping duties with others in your team. Food for meals is provided. Due to the remote location of this project, some accommodation is ‘off the grid’ sustainable living using solar power, composting toilets, and fruit and vegetable gardens. WiFi is not usually available, although internet access through the mobile phone network is sometimes available depending on location. For accommodation sites that have connections to the electricity grid, power outages are not frequent but should be expected particularly during inclement weather which can bring down power lines. The area is accessible by road, and also covered by a rescue helicopter service and rural fire and rescue force.

What can I do in my free time?

During your free time (typically Saturday and Sunday), you are able to arrange your own leisure activities (these are not scheduled as part of the program). Typical leisure activities to choose from include visiting local beaches, trekking/hiking, bird watching, kayaking (extra cost), fishing (with own equipment), or relaxing at the volunteer accommodation. There may be opportunity to coordinate with the locals to travel to the nearest town (Coromandel Town) — a one hour drive — where there are stores, access to tour operators, rental cars, and other attractions.

Volunteer requirements

To participate in this program, volunteers must:

  • Understand spoken and written English
  • Have a good level of physical fitness
  • Have no major medical conditions that would affect participation in the project
  • Be passionate about helping the natural environment
  • Be willing to participate whatever the weather, rain or shine
  • Be able and willing to live and work together as part of a team
  • Be 18 years of age or older (Applicants under 18 can apply as long as they are 18 on the volunteer start date)
  • Please note that this project is smoke-free, and smoking is not permitted for reasons of fire prevention and health and safety.

Country information

Quick facts:
New Zealand has a population of around 4.5 million. The capital is Wellington. The official languages are English and Maori. The official currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD).

Geography:
New Zealand is a Southeast Oceania nation made up of three main islands: North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island. It has a wide range of landscapes, such as coastal beaches, wetlands, volcanos, alpine areas, agricultural farmland, and forest.

Climate:
New Zealand has a varied climate – generally temperate, but more sub-tropical in the far north and more temperate in the south, with alpine climate conditions in the mountain areas. Temperature variations between winter and summer months are not large (compared to other parts of the world). The warmest months are typically January/February and the coldest are typically July/August. New Zealand experiences very changeable weather due to it’s location and geography – “four seasons is one day” is not unusual.

Culture:
New Zealand has a rich indigenous Maori culture. Examples of this culture you will see are the Maori placenames used throughout New Zealand, Maori heritage sites, and dual use of the English/Maori language for things such as the flora and fauna. Cultural attractions can be seen in towns such as Rotorua and are a popular location for visitors to learn about the culture. In addition to the indigenous culture, there is a strong heritage of largely English, Scottish, and Irish settlement in New Zealand. In recent times, immigration from other parts of the world has grown from places such as Asia, the Pacific islands, and South Africa, making New Zealand a truly multi-cultural place to visit.

What do I need to bring?

When you register, you will receive access to the Volunteer Portal which contains a program guide and information on what to bring. You can expect to take your typical items (clothing suitable for the climate, toiletries, etc) as well as some specific items such as an adapter for your power plugs. A full packing list will be provided to you in the program guide when you register. You are not required to bring any specific items for the project activities, but you are welcome to bring items which you may like to donate to the volunteer accommodation (board games, books, and so on).

What travel visa do I need?

To enter New Zealand and participate on the project, a visitor visa (or visa waiver) is required. Volunteers from many countries, such as the USA, UK, EU, and Australia) are typically eligible for the visa waiver which is obtained on arrival – For more information, and to ensure you meet the requirements, click here.

What are the fees and costs?

Program fee
The Program fee covers accommodation, meals while volunteering, orientation, supervision and training, local support, and local project administration costs. A portion of your program fee also goes into the INV Grant Fund, which supports the project with financial aid for equipment, special projects, or operating costs. Program fees are due to be paid 1 month before the placement start date. Program fees for this project are shown below:

1 week = US $420
2 weeks = US $690
3 weeks = US $960
4 weeks = US $1230
5 weeks = US $1500
6 weeks = US $1770

Registration fee
All placements are subject to a registration fee of US $140 in addition to the program fee (see the FAQs for more information).

Other costs
Other additional costs that you will need to cover include: Return flights to Auckland – New Zealand, travel documents (e.g. passport, and visa if applicable), comprehensive travel insurance (mandatory), personal spending money, transport to and from airport to Coromandel Town (approximately US $40 each way), possibly one night of accommodation in a hotel or hostel in Auckland depending on your flight arrival time.

How do I apply?

Complete the INV application form on the applications page. We will respond to your application within 24 hours.

“It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.”

— David Attenborough

“This project was a wonderful opportunity to experience a fantastic place and do some good work. To anyone considering an INV project, I strongly urge you to participate! It’s definitely worth it.”

Matt (USA)Volunteer Alumni

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