Renfrew roadend to Table Flat roadend

Image: Christie Mashall | ©


Ongoing/dates vary: The Manawatu volunteer programme offers a small selection of projects for people looking to get involved with conservation work in their community.


Volunteer activities in Manawatu include long-term projects, as well as one-off events such as annual planting days.

Current activities include Ruahine Forest Park volunteer hut wardens, and coastal reserve pest control roster.

Ruahine Forest Park hut warden

Volunteer at Sunrise Hut and Rangiwahia Hut during weekends and public holidays. Hut wardens help visitors enjoy their stay.


Weekends and public holidays during peak season (Labour weekend – April).


Hut wardens help ensure visitors to our serviced backcountry huts enjoy their stay in the right way.

Tasks include:

  • provide information to visitors
  • hut pass/ticket compliance and recording
  • cleaning and minor hut maintenance
  • visitor satisfaction surveys.

What to expect

You need to be a reasonably fit and experienced tramper with a practical outlook, able to carry out hut wardening duties on your own and be familiar with the outdoor environment and ideally the Ruahine Forest Park area.

Fitness, skills and experience required:

  • current New Zealand first aid certificate
  • background check (police vetting)
  • fit and healthy (able to carry own personal gear and tramp up to 4 hours)
  • New Zealand backcountry experience
  • fluent in English
  • comfortable relating to range of people in a friendly manner.

Orientation: Volunteers who are accepted will be required to attend an orientation briefing prior to the work starting.

Accommodation: Sunrise Hut has separate warden's quarters (a key is required). Rangiwahia Hut does not have separate warden's quarters, so there is only space for one warden at a time at Rangiwahia. However, two people may warden together at Sunrise Hut if desired.

Safety procedures: Approved volunteers must comply with the Department of Conservation Health and Safety Policy and arrive prepared with appropriate amounts of food and warm/water proof clothing and sturdy walking boots. A mobile phone must be carried by the volunteer as a key source of communication.

Food and clothing: Hut wardens need to provide their own food, pack, personal gear/clothing and sleeping bag.

What will be provided for you:

  • free accommodation in the huts
  • a hut warden kit and DOC volunteer identification
  • petrol vouchers to help cover transport costs.

Transport: Hut wardens need to find their own way to and from the appropriate Park entrance.

How to apply

If you are interested in volunteering as a Ruahine Forest Park hut warden, complete the online application form.


Email for more information.

Coastal reserve pest control roster

We have a team of volunteers working to control pests at three important coastal forest remnants. Kill traps are the best method for controlling mustelids such as stoats and weasels, but they require regular monitoring.

The roster is currently full, with a waiting list.

There may be opportunities to join the roster later in the year. Fill in this application form if you would like to put your name on the waiting list.

What to expect

Volunteers are rostered to check traplines in Omarupapako (Roundbush) Scenic Reserve and Himatangi Scientific Reserve on a monthly rotation.

Tasks include:

  • locate, check, clear, rebait and reset DOC 200 and DOC 250 kill traps
  • data collection.

Duration of work: Checks are made one day per month on an on-going basis.

Fitness level: Medium - must be capable of walking with a pack for 4–8 hours.

Skills required:

Field work experience is required. The following skills and experience would be beneficial but on-site training will be provided.

  • trapping and baiting
  • bush navigation
  • pest identification
  • data recording.

What to bring: Sturdy footwear, day pack, lunch and plenty to drink.

Health and safety

A full health and safety briefing will be given to volunteers, but the key hazards associated with this project are:

  • rough terrain
  • pollen from flowering trees/shubs
  • injuries and/or infection from traps.

What DOC will provide:

  • transport – either petrol vouchers for use of your own vehicle or a DOC vehicle (conditions apply)
  • on-site training
  • field equipment (bait, trap tools, map, GPS, notebook, PPE and first aid equipment).

Future volunteer activities

If you're interested in volunteering in the Manawatu region but there are currently no activities listed that are suitable for you, fill in this registration of interest form.

DOC will use the information you provide to identify future volunteer activities that match your skills, experience, availability and preferred location.


For further information contact:

Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: +64 6 350 9700 

Te Papaioea / Palmerston North Office
Phone:   +64 6 350 9700
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   28 North Street
Palmerston North 4410
Postal Address:   Private Bag 11010
Manawatu Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4442
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