Whalers Bay at Rangatira/South-East Island

Image: Leon Berard | Creative Commons


This programme provides a chance to work with some of New Zealand’s rarest and endemic threatened flora and fauna in a spectacular environment.


Dates for the 2019/20 field season trips will be listed here when they are set.

Get more information about the volunteer opportunites (PDF, 845K)


The Chatham Islands DOC office has opportunities for New Zealand volunteers to participate in threatened species management work undertaken on Mangere and Rangatira (South East Island).

The islands lie 800 km east of New Zealand. Although much of the original vegetation has gone, the remnants of coastal forest and wetlands reveal a rich diversity of endemic flora and fauna.


The fauna work will include monitoring populations of New Zealand shore plover, Chatham petrel, black robin, Forbes' parakeet, Chatham Island oystercatcher and forest birds.

Flora work includes planting, weed control (by hand and/or herbicides), seed collection, track clearance and other flora related work.

Volunteers will also assist with bio-security tasks and maintenance of island facilities.

What to expect

Participants should be prepared to work hard in a remote and demanding environment and live in basic but adequate communal hut conditions.

In return the programme offers participants the opportunity to contribute to and further develop technical and conceptual skills in threatened species management.

Essential skills required

Ideally participants should have:

  • accurate recording skills,
  • a moderate to high standard of fitness
  • an ability to work in all weathers
  • bushcraft skills
  • a high level of motivation
  • an ability to work and live in a close team situation
  • an ability to work independently in an isolated environment
  • have sufficient agility to make bow landings and departures from rocky platforms in rough weather
  • the ability to make 1-2 hour boat trips in fishing vessel in rough seas.

Costs and employment conditions

The Chatham Island District Office will cover the cost of air travel to and from the Chatham Islands from Wellington, Christchurch, or Auckland and will provide food and accommodation while in the Chatham Islands.

Volunteers will be expected to work a six-day (8-10 hour day) working week with a combination of up to 8 hours in the field and 2 hours data entry. There will be the provision for at least one complete day off a week or 2 half days when suitable.

Volunteers will mainly be based on the off shore islands of Mangere and Rangatira with a Department of Conservation Ranger who will lead and supervise the work. The work environment is isolated and the terrain can be rugged. At times volunteers will be required to work alone in wet and cold weather, over steep, muddy, rocky and exposed terrain.

Communication with New Zealand while on the islands is limited to emergency satellite phone calls. A VHF radio provides daily contact with the DOC office in Te One, on Chatham Island.

Transport on and off islands are very weather dependant and travel plans can be delayed for several days. Volunteers will need to be flexible and make the best use of their time in the different locations.

Selection process

Applicants must have the appropriate skills and fitness necessary to carry out the work as described in the trip briefs

Selection will be based on:

  • the application form
  • a telephone interview
  • a referee check
  • a medical questionnaire assessed by a DOC-appointed medical professional.

What to bring

You will be responsible for providing all the personal equipment listed in the participants information brief (PDF, 6341K)

How to apply

Download one of the forms below and send to the Chatham Islands Office.

Applications close 10 August 2018.


Rekohu / Wharekauri / Chatham Island Office
Phone:   +64 3 305 0098
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   chathamislands@doc.govt.nz
Address:   North Rd
Te One
Chatham Island
Postal Address:   PO Box 114
Chathams 8942
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