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


The roaster for the Tableland Hut warden programme runs from mid-December through to mid-February each year with 2 trips over the Easter break and school holiday period in April.

Volunteers are asked to commit to a 7-night trip, dates for trips will be emailed to you.


Once rostered on, volunteers can choose which tracks they will take to check all the huts from Flora to Balloon Hut. There's no set way to do this, which gives some flexibility to your time in the field. Volunteers can base themselves at a staff hut situated in the Tablelands.

We also support the idea of a fellow tramper accompanying the hut warden if desired.


The prime role of a hut warden is to help visitors enjoy their stay in the right way. Your tasks will include:

  • ensuring the hut, toilet and surrounds are clean and tidy
  • providing information
  • passing on maintenance requirements to DOC staff
  • checking hut tickets/passes
  • undertaking minor maintenance tasks.

Huts to be checked by the warden can include:

  • Mt Arthur Hut
  • Flora Hut
  • Upper Gridiron Hut
  • Salisbury Lodge
  • Balloon Hut
  • Gridiron Shelter
  • Growler Day Shelter
  • Dry Rock Shelter


Mt Arthur Tableland is a distinctive area between the Cobb, Karamea and Baton Valleys to the north-west of the Motueka Valley, and covers an area of roughly 6,000 ha. The rolling tussock grassland and mixed beech forest offers a mixture of open grassland and beech forest.


Winter will see severe frosts and snow fall in the coldest months from June to August. In the summer, temperatures are milder but winter conditions can arrive unexpectedly. Rainfall is around 2500 mm per year and falls throughout the year.

What to expect

Accommodation: Salisbury staff hut sleeps 4 and contains a gas cooker, cooking utensils, heating and running water fed from a nearby stream. You will have to make your own arrangements for accommodation before and after your warden duties in the field.

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

Fitness level required: Fit and experienced back country tramper, capable of walking 4 to 6 hours per day with a heavy pack.

Skills required: You will need to have experience tramping in the New Zealand back country and staying in DOC huts. You will also need to have a good comprehension of English, enjoy relating to others and have a practical outlook. A knowledge of the Tableland area and Kahurangi National Park is an advantage, and a current first aid certificate is preferable.

Walking tramping tracks: Track categories include a mixture of short walks to walking, tramping and some routes. See Walking and tramping in Kahurangi National Park for more details.

Wasps: Wasps are a known hazard and are particularly common from December until April, mostly in beech forest environments.

Safety procedures: Approved volunteers must comply with DOC health and safety policy and arrive prepared with appropriate amounts of food and warm/ water proof clothing and sturdy tramping boots.

What to bring

You'll receive information about what to bring if your application is successful.

What will be provided for you

Training: Volunteer hut wardens will be taken through an induction before the start of the hut warden stint in the field. The induction will cover how to carry out the duties assigned to them, a health and safety briefing, how to use a radio etc. You will need to be available to attend a group induction which usually takes about 2 hours and is carried out at the DOC Motueka Office.

There will be one group induction in late November for wardens booked in for trips in December through to mid January. There will be another group induction in mid January for wardens booked in for trips in mid January through to the end of February.


Volunteers will be issued with:

  • First aid kit
  • Handheld radio
  • Personal locator beacon
  • DOC volunteer ID badge
  • Hut warden manual and associated documents

How to apply

Complete the 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. All applications will be shortlisted by matching to role availability.
  2. We’ll send the shortlisted applicants the safety check form for you to complete.
  3. 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.
  4. We’ll talk to your referees.
  5. We’ll request a Ministry of Justice criminal record check – this takes around three days.
  6. DOC staff will assess all the material provided and decide on suitability.
  7. Once approved we will work with you to find dates that suit you and complete your induction.


Amme Hiser
Nelson Office
Phone: +64 027 365 4519

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