New Zealand fur seal/kekeno
Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


Seal Observation Squad volunteers will support DOC rangers by responding to call-outs from the public about distressed seals during seal haul out season.

Application dates

2023 applications

Applications for 2023 have closed for the year. Applications for 2024 will open again mid-2024.  


Volunteers will check on reports of injured or distressed seals and report back to DOC if action is required. They will be equipped with signage to place at sites where seals or dead seals have been reported by the public.

The role will involve talking to members of the public about seal behaviour and site management if called to where seal is located. Volunteers will record and report on behaviour.

Volunteers are not expected to handle or re-locate any seals, just report on their behaviour. As a result, DOC staff will be able to better manage resources to respond only as needed to seal call outs.

It is anticipated that volunteers may spend 1-3 hours per week responding to calls throughout the winter/seal haul out season.


  • Respond to calls from DOC rangers about reported seal sightings around Auckland.
  • Take pictures and put up signage on site.
  • Keep a log of seal activity in their area.
  • Provide seal advocacy and information to members of the public in line with DOC’s seal management policies.
  • Participate in seal observation training with DOC rangers.


Multiple locations around Auckland including but not limited to:

  • Cornwallis
  • Huia
  • Titirangi-Hillsborough
  • Piha
  • Te Henga / Bethells Beach
  • Muriwai
  • Mangere Bridge
  • Manurewa
  • Karaka and Clarks Beach
  • Awhitu
  • Karioitahi and Waiuku
  • Pakuranga to Cockle Bay (East Auckland)
  • Beachlands to Maraetai
  • St Helliers to Mission Bay
  • Browns Bay to Long Bay
  • Whangaparaoa
  • Mahurangi to Te Arai

What to expect

Fitness/skills required

A low level of fitness is required, as well as the following skills:


  • Communication skills: You will communicate important information to DOC rangers and members of the public.
  • Driving: You will need to have a New Zealand drivers' licence.
  • Ability to respond at short notice: We don’t know where or when a seal call will come in.


  • Marine mammal identification: Training can be provided.

Work environment

  • Coastal environments, potentially remote areas.

Equipment and other resources provided

  • A training session which will include:
    • health and safety
    • how to understand seal behaviour
    • public messaging in line with DOC’s seal
    • policies
  • High vis jackets and seal signage.

What to bring

  • Suitable footwear and wet weather gear.
  • Your own transport.

How to apply

Applications for the 2023 are closed.

Lili Finlay

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