Volunteers planting

Introduction

Take a moment to act for nature and volunteer.

Why volunteer?

Our native species are in trouble and need us to act

New Zealand’s native species are in serious trouble – over 4,000 species are threatened or at risk of extinction. This includes unique and iconic New Zealand wildlife like kiwi, kākāpō, takahē, yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho, Hector’s dolphins and bats/pekapeka.

But what we do makes a difference. We’ve proven in many parts of the country that we can reverse this decline. When we manage threats and restore habitats, nature comes back.

Each of us can help nature. If we all play a part, the difference will be even greater. There are volunteering opportunities around the country. These projects are restoring nature and bringing back native species.

Volunteering for nature is not always tree planting

You can take action for nature in a lot of different ways. Common ways to contribute include giving your time to volunteering to plant trees, pull weeds and trap predators.

You do not need to be fit or enjoy working outside to get involved. Community groups often need volunteers to help with many other tasks. Like event organisation, grant writing, social media and project planning.

And volunteering is good for volunteers too

Taking action benefits nature. But it also benefits our own wellbeing too. It can boost your mood, offer enjoyment and satisfaction, and help us to connect with our communities.

Many volunteers enjoy the social aspect of volunteering – you can join with a group of friends or going along by yourself and meet new people.

Volunteering can also be a useful source of work experience. It can be a chance to learn, upskill, gain some practical skills, and develop your leadership abilities.

Volunteer with DOC

There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities with DOC around the country. These vary depending on the time of year, but they include things like:

  • planting trees
  • being a campsite host or hut warden for a few weeks during summer
  • maintaining tracks
  • repairing/maintaining historic sites
  • teaching visitors about local wildlife
  • responding to callouts from the public about distressed seals

Browse DOC’s volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer with your community

There are hundreds of conservation groups around the country. They do vital work, from restoring forests, coastlines and wildlife to managing huts, tracks and historic places.

Many of these groups have large-scale restoration and biodiversity recovery as their aims, while others focus on a particular endangered species.

Find community groups in your region.

Volunteer online

There are several ways you can volunteer online. You can support citizen science, or take action in other ways:

Be a conservation influencer

Use your social media channels to support nature content. You can highlight stories or work other people are doing that inspires you. Or even present some of your own.

Another way you can be an influencer for nature is by helping your local conservation community group. Many groups need help to profile their work online and to set up or manage their website or social media profiles. They are also often in need of help with on and offline promotions.

These groups may also need help with other tasks, such as applying for funding and administration. There are lots of ways to help.

Have your say for nature

Other ways to volunteer your time is to submit feedback on conservation issues locally and nationally.

Get involved by having your say on issues DOC is consulting on. You can also engage with decision-making and campaign for intergenerational climate justice with Generation Zero. 

You can support global conservation issues online in many ways too. You can check out websites like The Nature Conservancy to find out ways to get started.

Join a volunteering event this Conservation Week

People are running volunteer events to celebrate and give back this Conservation Week. It’s the perfect way to try something different and take action for nature for both newbies and seasoned volunteers.

Browse Conservation Week events

More ways to volunteer

Tūpuna Maunga Authority, Auckland

Activity: Planting, mountain/maunga restoration
Description: Tūpuna Maunga Authority organise planting days on the mountain/maunga in mainland Auckland. They also regularly host public events with music and games.

Find out more


Auckland Council, Auckland

Activity: Planting days, restoration, beach clean-ups, guided walks
Description: Auckland Council regularly posts volunteering opportunities and other activities to get involved in.

Find out more


Te Pu-a-nga Maara, Auckland

Activity: Mātauranga Maori events
Description: Te Pu-a-nga Maara is a collective of Rangatahi Innovators from Makaurau, Manurewa and Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae in South Auckland. They draw on Mātauranga Maori, Digi Tech and Science to engage, educate and empower Rangatahi and Kaitiaki.

Find out more


Tiritiri Matangi, Auckland

Activity: Planting and restoration, become a guide
Description: Tiritiri Matangi is an accessible island offering a unique volunteering experience including becoming a guide with full training provided.

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Go Eco, Hamilton

Activity: Urban restoration
Description: Find a conservation project that best suits you in urban restoration, sustainability or conservation.

Find out more


Karioi project, Hamilton

Activity: Restore seabird habitat
Description: Pest trapping, beach clean-ups, seabird nest monitoring or helping with community events in Raglan.

Find out more


Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, Tauranga

Activity: Forest Restoration, trapping, education, administration
Description: Protect and grow kiwi and kōkako populations on monthly workdays every second Sunday.

Find out more


Ruahine Whio Protectors, Palmerston North

Activity: Trapping day, Sunday 18 September 2022
Description: Ruahine Whio Protectors have been rebuilding the threatened Ruahine population since 2007. Learn more about the project and how you can help by trapping.

Find out more


Green Corridors, Palmerston North

Activity: Planting
Description: Multiple volunteering opportunities to bring back biodiversity from the Tararua Ranges to the Manawatū River.

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Island Bay Marine Education Centre, Wellington

Activity: Volunteer marine educator or guide
Description: Deliver hands-on marine education experiences to people of all ages.

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DOC, Nelson Lakes

Activity: Volunteer Biodiversity Ranger
Description: Support DOC's Nelson Lakes biodiversity team for a month.

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DOC, Nelson Lakes

Activity: Nelson Lakes Hut Warden
Description: Help visitors enjoy their stay at Nelson Lakes huts.

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DOC, Marlborough Sounds

Activity: Camp Host
Description: Help visitors enjoy their stay at Whatamango Bay campsite.

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Friends of Ōtukaikino, Christchurch

Activity: Planting, plant care
Description: Support one of the last remaining wetlands in Christchurch the first Saturday of every month, 9 am - 12 pm. Followed by a BBQ lunch.

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Christchurch City Council , Christchurch

Activity: Planting days and more
Description: Christchurch City Council holds regular planting days and working bees for the city’s beautiful green spaces.

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Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust , Christchurch

Activity: Trapping, predator control
Description: Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust are working towards a vision of a Pest Free Banks Peninsula. Sign up through the BPCT website to hear about upcoming events to help.

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Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust , Christchurch

Activity: Planting, weeding, track maintenance
Description: Volunteer to Two Sundays a month on Ōtamahua Quail Island with time to explore the island.

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Mt Cargill Community, Dunedin

Activity: Planting
Description: The Mt Cargill Community is putting 1200 plants in the ground to benefit wildlife, minimise wasteland and help to manage weeds.

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Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, National

Activity: Multiple opportunities
Description: Conservation Volunteers New Zealand is connecting people who love nature and want to make a difference

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Seek Volunteer, National

Activity: Multiple opportunities
Description: Seek Volunteer offers environmental and conservation volunteer opportunities across New Zealand

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Predator Free NZ, National

Activity: Trapping, predator control
Description: Join an existing group or develop a group with your neighbours to work together on predator free neighbourhoods

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Student Volunteer Army, National

Activity: Planting, trapping and more
Description: The Student Volunteer Army is a charitable trust and operates throughout New Zealand, and often is involved in conservation activities.

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Sustainable Coastlines, National

Activity: Beach clean-up
Description: Get a free kit to run a clean-up with your family, school or community group or a team from work

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Marine Metre Squared, National

Activity: Survey the seashore
Description: Get involved in this exciting nationwide Citizen Science project, start surveying your local seashore, and find out where plants and animals that live between the tides are found around New Zealand.

Find out more


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