A group of volunteers working together on the island

Image: DOC


Help protect and grow an important sanctuary for our native species and volunteer on an attempt to eradicate Argentine ants from Great Mercury Island/Ahuahu.


Great Mercury Island/Ahuahu is an internationally recognised hotspot for conservation. 

Pest free since 2014, it's home to native birds, geckos, tuatura and weta - and it could become home to many more.

But, without the removal of Argentine ants, this would never be possible. The ants decimate food sources and eat endangered insects, lizards and bird eggs.

We need volunteers to help us protect the island and try to create a sanctuary for our native species to thrive. 

Map of Argentine ant nests on Great Mercury Island | See larger (PNG, 3,583K)


  • 29 February - March 2020
  • 7 - 15 March 2020


Each volunteer team will work two shifts for 8 days:

  • Shift 1 - 7:00 - 11:00 am
  • Shift 2 - 3:00 - 7:00 pm

Teams will either lay monitoring grids with non-toxic bait or paste-bait (Vanquish Argentine ant bait) in targeted areas. The grids will measure last year’s work, while the paste-bait will help to eradicate the ant.

A Project Manager and Assistant, and a ranger who lives on the island will guide you to follow the eradication strategy, developed via the DOC and Great Mercury Island feasibility study in 2017.

When not on shift, volunteers are free to visit the beaches, swim or explore the island in pairs or groups.

What to expect

Experience required: None, but an interest in conservation, ecological management or natural sciences will be beneficial.

Fitness/skills required: Medium fitness and good social skills. You must be able to:

  • walk up and down hills in warm conditions
  • share quarters with up to 20 people
  • be around dogs (who may assist)

Accommodation: You will stay in bunk-style accommodation with either two or four bunks per room. This includes:

  • communal showers and toilets
  • all meals but volunteers must assist with preparation and clean up
  • internet access for basic uses (i.e. no gaming or video streaming).

Transport: Volunteers will need to get to Whitianga. From there, we will transport you to the island following a quarantine check of your food, gear and clothing.

Where there are multiple volunteers from one area, we'll check if you'd like us to connect you with others to car-pool. 

How to apply


For any initial queries, contact:

Ellen Jose
Email: ellen.j.kiwi@gmail.com

Back to top