Finding a suitable activity
When considering our volunteer activities, take into account the skills or fitness level required, your availability, the work conditions, and personal commitments that may impact your choice.
Our activities vary depending on the location and nature of the work, so make sure you have read the description and know what to expect. There are several things you need to consider before submitting an application.
Generally our volunteer activities do not ask for specialist skills or experience. We suggest that you consider your level of fitness for the tasks required, and that you be flexible enough to enjoy the challenges presented by New Zealand's fickle weather conditions.
Refer to the activities description to check whether any specific skills or experience are required. Some may provide full training at the outset.
If an activity requires you to use particular tools and equipment, you will be briefed about how to do so safely before you start. There will be a DOC staff member or nominated person on hand to keep you and fellow participants safe while you work.
Depending on the work you’ll be doing, such as at a hut, camp or other locations around children, we will conduct a safety check before you start. This is to comply with New Zealand law and can include police vetting. We'll advise you on what you’ll need to do if you're selected.
If you're volunteering for DOC at multiple sites that require a safety check and police vetting, we will only need to do this once. Or, if you've been checked by another New Zealand agency within the last 12 months, you might not need to be vetted again during this time.
If you have specific skills and qualifications, let us know as there may be activities where your specialist skills could be used.
Fitness and health
Our volunteer activities are held mainly outdoors and require a moderate level of fitness to get the most out of the opportunity.
There are a range of opportunities, so look for something to suit your own level of fitness. If high levels of fitness are required, this will be highlighted in the activity description.
We ask all prospective volunteers to declare any medical condition, allergies, disabilities or existing injuries that may affect participation. DOC staff will discuss these with you in a confidential manner. If you have concerns about your fitness level and ability to undertake the task, discuss them with the volunteer coordinator.
Generally we don’t have an age limit for volunteering with DOC, although there may be exceptions with some activities (for safety reasons). Children under 14 years of age will require parental or other appropriate adult supervision.
Length of activities
There are a range of different activities to meet your availability – some requiring a day, a week or a longer period of time. The description on the volunteer listing will include details of the time duration required of volunteers.
There is generally no charge to participate in our volunteer activities. Some projects however may request a contribution to transport, food or other costs. See the activity description for details.
If you are visiting New Zealand and would like to volunteer, DOC welcomes you to get involved. All overseas visitors are eligible to volunteer on entry into New Zealand.
Go to the Immigration New Zealand website to check visitor visa and entry requirements into New Zealand. Once you have been granted entry permission, you are ready to start volunteering with DOC.
Depending on the work you are doing for us, we may ask for you to be police vetted. Go to the Immigration New Zealand website or CV check website to check how you can obtain a police vetting prior to coming into New Zealand. Or you can go to these websites to obtain your check after you have arrived in New Zealand.
International students: As DOC doesn’t offer internships to students who study at overseas universities or other overseas education providers, volunteering with us is another option to gain valuable experience.
The Accident Compensation Act 2001 provides a no fault personal accident cover for both New Zealanders and visitors to New Zealand. DOC does not accept any responsibility for any personal accident, loss or damage to personal items or equipment of volunteers.
As accident and rescue compensation through the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is limited, personal insurance is recommended when travelling to or staying in remote areas.
Submitting your application
If you see an activity that you think will suit you, we welcome you to apply. Details about how to apply are on the individual volunteer activity pages. You may have to fill out an application form, or contact the person listed directly.
If you're unable to find a suitable activity, get in touch with the DOC office closest to your preferred location to talk through your interests, skills, experience and availability to discuss what may be possible.
When to apply
Most of our activities run throughout the year with some that are seasonal or weather dependent. Check the dates posted on each activity description.
We suggest you apply as early as you can. Some volunteer activities are very popular and have limited places. Due to their popularity, we are unable to guarantee that all applicants will be accepted on registration.
Wait lists on full projects
If an activity you are interested in is full, you can still register your interest. We keep a waiting list and will contact you in the event that someone is unable to participate.
Preparing for your activity
Preparation for each volunteer activity will vary depending on the work involved and location. For some activities, it will just be a matter of showing up on the day, while others may require more preparation. If it's necessary, you will receive an information pack before you start.
Things you may need to organise
Accommodation: Volunteers are usually expected to provide their own accommodation. Often a sleeping bag is required.
Sometimes, a help with local accommodation may be provided due to the location, work and time required of volunteers. You should check the activity description for more detail.
Equipment and tools: Equipment and tools are usually provided unless otherwise stated. If necessary, a full equipment list will be provided before you start.
Food: You will usually be asked to bring your own, or you'll be provided support depending on the nature of the activity and location. Details will be provided before you start.
If your plans change and you need to cancel your application, get in touch with the volunteer coordinator as soon as possible. This will enable your place to be offered to someone else. Last minute cancellations may impact the operation of the activity.
If the activity itself needs to be cancelled for any reason, the coordinators will contact you as soon as they can. Some activities are weather dependent, so extreme weather conditions may make them impractical to carry out.