Introduction

Get involved with conservation groups working with DOC in Otago.

For more conservation volunteer opportunities in Otago:

Coastal Otago conservation volunteers

There are many active conservation groups in the Coastal Otago area – see the list below, or join our Coastal Otago volunteer community for regular updates.


Aramoana Otago Conservation Charitable Trust 

Aim: Helping to preserve the unique wildlife and flora of the Aramoana area. Workdays first Saturday of each month involve clearing, planting and maintaining public areas around Aramoana including arboretum. Meet at Aramoana Hall at 10 am.

Contact: Bradley Curnow bradleycurnow@yahoo.com.au or +64 3 477 2244.

Colinswood Bush

Aim: Weed control and maintaining tracks at a remnant patch of native forest on the Otago Peninsula. Regular work days on the third Thursday of the month.

Contact: Paul Pope spiralis@xtra.co.nz or +64 27 466 8446.

Forest & Bird – Dunedin Branch

Protecting and restoring New Zealand's natural environment. Various volunteering opportunities around Dunedin including:

Forest & Bird – Waitaki Branch

Aim: Protecting and restoring New Zealand's natural environment. Various volunteering opportunities from enhancing yellow-eyed penguin habitat, restoring riparian vegetation, bird surveys, rare plant protection and plantings.

Contact waitaki.branch@forestandbird.org.nz or Chloe +64 3 437 0127 or Forest & Bird Waitaki.

Green Hut Track Group

Aim: Track clearing and maintenance in the Silver Peaks/Silver Stream area. Working bee every Wednesday.  

Contact: Graeme Elliot ellio@xtra.co.nz or +64 3 454 3350.

Glenore-Manuka Trust

Aim: Restoration of public reserve area on the banks of Tokomairiro River (near Manuka Gorge/Milton). Regular workdays, all welcome.

Contact: Alan Williams +64 3 417 8170.

Herbert Heritage Group

Aim: Enhancing the lower Waianakarua River through habitat restoration and revegetation of native plants. Working bees to plant and release native species.

Contact: Bronwyn +64 3 465 1900 or Margaret +64 3 439 5197.

Healthy Harbour Watchers

Aim: Monitoring the health of the waters of Otago Harbour.

Contact Andrew Innes +64 3 479 5842 or Healthy Harbour Watchers website.

Hawksbury Lagoon Inc

Aim: Planting, clearing and maintaining areas around the lagoon at Waikouaiti (East Otago).

Contact: Shirley McKewen t.mckewen@clear.net.nz or +64 3 465 7499 or Hawksbury Lagoon website

Our Seas Our Future

Aim: Protecting New Zealand’s coastal and marine ecosystems through advocacy, education and environmental stewardship. Volunteer opportunities include Adopt-a-CoastTM, and coastal clean-up events.

Contact: info@osof.org or visit Our Seas Our Future website to view current opportunities.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Aim: Protection of plants and animals from predators within a 307 ha fenced sanctuary. Volunteers are needed for weeding and planting, pest and fence monitoring, track building and maintenance and regular care of habitat areas.

Contact: +64 3 482 1755 or fill in the Orokonui Ecosanctuary website online form.

River-Estuary Care: Waikouaiti-Karitane

Aim: Maintaining a healthy river and estuary ecosystem through community participation – monitoring, revegetation, advocacy, bird-watching. All welcome on workdays and other activities.

Contact: Andy Barratt +64 21 890 048.

Shetland Street Community Gardens

Aim: Regular vegetable gardening, nursery and other volunteer work at the Shetland Street Community Gardens. All welcome Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm.  

Contact: Hendrik Koch +64 3 478 0311 or +64 21 116 832.

Sinclair Wetlands

Aim: Restoration and enhancement of a large wetland south of Dunedin. Volunteers and community groups always welcome.

Contact: Glen glen.c.riley@gmail.com or +64 27 424 0224 or Sinclair Wetlands website

Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua Community 

Aim: Environmental and historic restoration, sustainability and spirituality are at the heart of this island community. Open weekends on the last weekend of each month, volunteers welcome for a day or multiple weeks. Activities include: native tree planting and follow-up, walking trail maintenance, weed and pest control and heritage restoration. 

Contact: quarantineisland@gmail.com +64 478 0874 or +64 20 4079 1587 or Quarantine Island website

Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group

Aim: Eradicating possums from the Otago Peninsula is the primary focus. There are many ways that locals can get involved.

Contact: Project Manager opbg11@gmail.com or Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group website

STOP (Save The Otago Peninsula Inc Society)

Aim: Protecting and enhancing the natural environment of the Otago Peninsula. Current working bees at Smiths Creek planting every Tuesday 9:30–12:30 pm and Sunday 10 am–1 pm. Volunteer tasks for all levels of abilities and skills.

Contact: Lala Frazer lala.frazer@gmail.com or +64 3 478 0339 or STOP website

Taieri Mouth Amenities Society

Aim: Clearing, planting and maintaining public areas around Taieri Mouth. Monthly workdays.

Contact: Marilyn Egerton +64 3 481 7171.

Tomahawk-Smaills Beachcare Trust 

Aim: Coastal ecology, restoration and community education. Weekly volunteer days at Smaills Beach Nursery: Monday morning 9.30 am -12.30 pm, Fridays planting and maintenance in dunes.

Contact: manager-beachcare@hotmail.com or Gaileen Ross +64 21 055 0396 or Facebook page.

Warrington Reserve Group

Aim: Planting and plant maintenance on public reserve area.

Contact: Karen Hobday +64 3 482 2762.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust

Aim: Saving yellow-eyed penguin by restoring coastal forest and controlling predators. Frequent workdays involving clearing, planting and maintaining areas of coastal penguin habitat.

Contact: enquiries@yeptrust.org.nz or +64 3 479 0011 or Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust website.

Wanaka/Hawea conservation volunteers

Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust 

Aim: Supports the work of their community-based native plant nursery, which specialises in propagating plants of local origin for the restoration of habitats in the Upper Clutha Basin. You can volunteer in the nursery and get involved with planting days. 

Contact: tekakanoinfo@gmail.com or Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust website.


Watch a video

Each year thousands of people from the community – be they businesses, iwi, motivated individuals, trusts, landowners, schools – help in conservation efforts around New Zealand.

As part of Conservation Week 2012, Otago decided to recognise many of those individuals by recording their stories on film. This 8.5 minute video highlights the work of groups as diverse as the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Air New Zealand, Ngai Tahu, Mitre 10 Mega, and many more.

We hope that many more people become involved, so that DOC can achieve its vision of doubling conservation efforts in our beautiful country in the next 20 years.

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