Ongoing/dates vary: Volunteer and help with conservation on Kapiti Island, one of New Zealand’s most significant nature reserves.


Kapiti Island is situated 5 km off the west coast of the southern North Island, the island is home to native species that are either very rare or entirely absent from the mainland. Volunteers can work amongst these threatened species and see them thriving in a spectacular location.

Volunteering on Kapiti Island.
Volunteers weeding on Kapiti Island

The volunteer programmes are very popular, with more volunteers applying than the island can accommodate, but applications of interest are welcomed at any time.

We have two ongoing Kapiti Island volunteer programmes:


Volunteering on Kapiti Island

Occasionally other activities are available outside of these programmes.

  • Track maintenance
  • Weeding pest plants
  • Beach cleanups
  • Cleaning
  • Historic Whare and other building maintenance
  • Gardening and housework
  • Painting
  • Administration and other office tasks
  • Hihi/stitchbird supplementary feeding preparation and cleaning

There is very little species work is available, but there are many opportunities to see the island's wildlife.

What to expect

We are looking for volunteers with enthusiasm and an interest in natural and/or historic heritage and recreation. You must be over the age of 18.

Fitness required: Moderate to high level of fitness, must be able to walk uphill across uneven terrain with a moderate (5kg) day pack

Skills required: Volunteers must be confident interacting with members of the public, and have the ability to work independently or within a group.

If on the summer season programme, must be able to cope with the isolation of living on an island (leaving the island is weather dependent).

Transport and biosecurity: Transport is to be arranged by the volunteer at the volunteer's expense, using one of the commercial operators. As Kapiti Island is a Nature Reserve there are strict biosecurity protocols in place. Details will be provided to all successful volunteer applicants at the planning stage of their trip. 

Training: Any necessary training will be provided, if you have specific skills please list them in your application.

Accommodation: If your volunteering involves an overnight stay, we provide well equipped bunkroom accommodation in a shared living space with a well equipped kitchen.

What to bring

Food - Volunteers are to provide their own food. No food supplies are available on the island. Pack all food in rodent and insect proof sealed containers.

Gear - Find out what to bring. A full gear list will be provided when your volunteering opportunity is confirmed. Any personal protective equipment and all tools will be supplied.

Volunteer day trip for groups

Between September and May you can get a group together and take a day-trip to volunteer helping DOC on Kapiti Island Nature Reserve. We accept a minimum of 10 and maximum of 25 people for day trips and the work is very often related to track maintenance.

This is a day-trip opportunity, arriving to the island approximately 9.30 am and departing approximately 3 pm same day. Dates will be organised to suit island staff and volunteer groups but weekdays are preferred.

Dates available - 2017/18 summer season

  • Day trip during the week of 7 - 11 August 2017 - FULL
  • Day trip during the week of 2 - 6 October 2017 - FULL
  • Day trip during the week of 18 - 27 December 2017
  • Day trip during the week of 23 - 27 April 2018

Summer season volunteer programme

Each summer we offer selected volunteers the opportunity to live and work on Kapiti Island over the busy summer season. On the island you will be interacting with the public on behalf of DOC.

What to expect

You'll be working 8 hours a day and must be able to commit to a one month minimum stay (usually two 10 day blocks, with 4 days off the island in the middle). Note: Volunteers will not be expected to work 10 days in a row.

Before applying, consider how you will manage with the isolation of island living.

There is no cost for staying on the island during the summer season programme.

Dates available - 2017/18 summer season

Month long stints (two 10 day shifts) available in:

  • September 2017 - FULL
  • October 2017 - FULL
  • December 2017 - FULL
  • January 2018 - FULL
  • March 2018 - FULL

How to apply

To register your interest in any of these activities fill in the online application form.

What happens next?

Our volunteer programmes often have many more applications than positions available. You will be contacted within two weeks of your application if there is a position available for you. If you have not had a reply by then, unfortunately this means your application has not been successful.


Kapiti Wellington Office
Phone:   +64 4 470 8412
Address:   13b Wall Place
Porirua 5022
Full office details
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