Kayaks on Tonga Quarry beach
Image: DOC


Dates for the upcoming season are currently being added. New applicants will be added to a waiting list.


The camp host programme for the Onetahuti Campsite runs from mid-December through to the end of February each year.

Camp hosts are required to host for 8 consecutive days (7 nights) on site.


The Onetahuti Campsite and Tonga Quarry site (closed to camping in 2018) are located between Bark Bay and Awaroa Huts on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a Great Walk within Abel Tasman National Park. This Great Walk is one of the more popular in the South Island and draws large visitor numbers in summer.

DOC resident hut wardens are situated at Anchorage, Bark Bay, Awaroa and Whariwharangi Huts in the summer season and to a lesser extend during winter.

Having a constant presence, such as a volunteer camp host at Onetahuti campsite over the busy summer period will aid DOC staff greatly.

Volunteer camp hosts can act as eyes and ears for staff, check campsite bookings as well as relieve the pressure from the resident hut wardens by maintaining the campsites, cleaning the campsite facilities, collecting rubbish, and supplying information to visitors among other tasks.

This opportunity is suitable for an individual, a couple or two friends. Note DOC can only supply a food allowance for one camp host though.


The main role of a camp host is to help visitors enjoy their stay in the right way. Your tasks will include:

  • Providing a weather forecast and general information to visitors
  • Checking campsite bookings
  • Advising visitors of regulations (no take) in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve
  • Maintaining the facilities at Onetahuti campsite and at Tonga Quarry
  • Rubbish collection in and around the campsites
  • Some minor track maintenance – clearing drains and culverts
  • General campsite maintenance and some weeding
  • Radio schedules with the Nelson Visitor Centre


Onetahuti campsite is situated on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a 'Great Walk' in Abel Tasman National Park in the top of the South Island. The nearest settlements are Marahau in Tasman and Takaka in Golden Bay. Onetahuti campsite is 38.7 km along the track from Marahau, and 14.2 km along the track from Tōtaranui campground. From Tōtaranui campground it is a further 32 km by road to Takaka.

The camp host role is based at Onetahuti campsite and will also service Tonga Quarry which is approximately a 15 minute walk from Onetahuti. The camp host may also be asked to assist the resident hut warden in Bark Bay which is a 2 hour (6.4 km) walk on the high tide track from Onetahuti.


The climate is mild with sea breezes, summer droughts and some winter frosts. Rainfall averages 1800 mm and the sun shines around 2,200 hours per year. During late spring and throughout summer the coast is subject to strong westerly winds, while the autumn and winter months are generally calm. Temperatures in December average around 21 C down to 12 C and in January average 23 C down to 12 C.

What to expect

Age restriction: You must be at least 20 years old.

Police check: Be aware as part of the application for this role you will be required to undertake a police check, we can provide you information on how to go about this process.

Accommodation: Volunteers will need to arrange accommodation before and after their camp host stay in the park. On site DOC will supply a small family sized tent situated at Onetahuti Campsite.

Food: A food allowance of $20 per day will be provided. Volunteers are asked to purchase their own food for their stay on site and provide a GST receipt (a supermarket receipt) is fine for this food. DOC can then reimburse food costs up to $20 per day while in the field.

There is a fridge/freezer at the DOC staff base in Marahau where the camp host can store some of their fresh food, staff can then do a 'food run' for the camp host during their stay in the field.

Transport: Volunteers will need to arrange their own transport to and from Marahau. DOC staff will transport the volunteer and their gear on site and return via boat.

Fitness level required: Low (easily walk up to two hours over flat ground) to medium (comfortably walk with 5 kg pack up to four hours over uneven ground).

Camp hosts will need to be fit enough to be able to carry out maintenance work described above and possibly walk over to Bark Bay to assist the warden there. Onetahuti to Bark Bay (high tide track 2 hours, 6.4 km, low tide track 1 hours 45 mins 4.6 km) The high tide track climbs steeply to a saddle.

Skills required:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Have a practical outlook and able to work alone
  • Mature, sensible, and have a good attitude
  • Able to relate to a range of people in a friendly manner
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Conversant in English
  • Money handling skills an advantage
  • Knowledge of the Abel Tasman Coast Track and surrounds an advantage
  • Compliance with DOC Health and Safety Policy
  • First aid certificate required
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccinations advisable

Walking tramping tracks: The Abel Tasman Coast Track is well marked and signposted, but some sections may be steep and rough and the track can get muddy.

Wasps: Wasps are common in the park as well as sand flies. If you are allergic to these insects consider whether this role is suitable for you.

Safety procedures: Approved volunteers must comply with the DOC health and safety policy and arrive prepared with appropriate amounts of food, clothing, and camping equipment.

What to bring

Volunteers to supply as a minimum:

  • Sleeping bag/ pillow
  • Cooking equipment – pots, pans, plates, cup, cutlery
  • Food
  • Good quality wet weather gear
  • Warm clothing
  • Sun protection – hat, long sleeved light shirt
  • Walking shoes/boots and shoes for around camp
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal medication/toiletries
  • Torch
  • Water purification tablets or water purification system if preferred to boiling water
  • A day bag could be handy for tramps to Tonga Quarry etc.

What will be provided for you


Volunteers will receive a full induction before the start of their camp host stint in the field. The induction will be held at either the DOC Motueka Office or the DOC Marahau field base. It will cover how to carry out the duties assigned to you, a health and safety briefing, how to use a radio etc.

Volunteers based in the Nelson Tasman area can attend a group induction in early December. Volunteers based outside the region will have an individual induction on the morning of their first day.


Volunteers will be issued with:

  • Small family sized tent on site
  • Two mattresses/camp beds
  • Foldable table and camp chairs
  • Gas cooker and some cooking gear.
  • Solar shower
  • Chilly bin/food cooler
  • High-vis vest
  • ID card
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen and hand sanitizer
  • Overalls, leather gloves, rubber gloves

How to apply

To apply fill in the online application form.

Safety checks

Everyone who applies for this position is subject to a DOC safety check and Ministry of Justice criminal record check. Information about these checks will be provided after you apply.

What happens after you apply

  1. We’ll shortlist applicants and email the safety check form for you to complete.
  2. We’ll contact you about an interview time – the interview will be with a DOC staff member and it’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the role.
  3. We’ll talk to your referees.
  4. We’ll request a Ministry of Justice criminal record check – this takes around three days.
  5. DOC staff will assess all the material provided and decide on suitability.
  6. Once approved we will work with you to find dates that suit you and complete your induction.


For more information contact:

Amme Hiser
Nelson Office
Phone: +64 027 365 4519
Email: ahiser@doc.govt.nz

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