Our Haast kiwi team are looking for two volunteer interns to assist them with the 2016/17 field season.


Interns will be based in Haast and much of the work will be in the Haast kiwi sanctuary situated 45 min drive from the DOC office.

The work also takes the team to Fiordland, Southland and Otago.


October 2016 to April 2017

About the role

The Haast tokoeka is a critically endangered kiwi with approximately 300 individuals living in the Haast range between the Waiatoto and Arawhata rivers in South Westland New Zealand. The key threat to this species is predation of kiwi chicks by stoats, an introduced mustelid predator.

This season as part of Battle for Our Birds, we are monitoring kiwi chicks in-situ. This involves applying transmitters to newly hatched chicks and monitoring them weekly until they are a weight safe from predators. We will continue to monitor adult kiwi as well as undertake predator control in the Haast Sanctuary.

The long-term goal for the recovery of Haast tokoeka is: to restore and enhance the abundance and genetic diversity of Haast tokoeka within its historic range and to secure a meta-population of 100 breeding pairs in predator free sites.

Other biodiversity work undertaken by the Haast Tokoeka team include projects protecting mohua in the Landsborough Valley.

We have a great team here and a very interesting work program that see us working near Haast, Franz Josef and at times on kiwi islands from the Marlborough Sounds to Fiordland.

Purpose of the role

Haast tokoeka are an intensively managed species, and as such the fieldwork season is very busy with a high level of reactionary work. An extra set of capable hands is often vital and will allow us to fulfil the work program to a high standard.

The interns will gain a sound repertoire of wildlife management skills on this very progressive program, and will travel to work on foot, helicopter, 4WD and jet boat into the stunningly beautiful Haast range.

Interns will receive a full induction on arrival and initially will work alongside staff, receiving on the job training and developing wildlife management skills. As confidence and skills increase interns will undertake tasks they are competent at by themselves. By the end of the summer interns will be fully trained kiwi rangers.

Key tasks

Kiwi monitoring and management tasks include:

  • radio telemetry
  • kiwi transmitter changes
  • egg lifts
  • chick management
  • small mammal indexing
  • predator trapping
  • penguin monitoring
  • fur seal pup monitoring.

Skills required

  • A high level of fitness – need to be able spend 8 hours carrying a 15 kg pack in rough country.
  • A keen/positive attitude is essential.
  • Backcountry travel and navigation experience – need to be able to read a map and compass, and GPS experience preferred.
  • Able to travel alone in bush.
  • Able to live in a small, remote town. 
  • An interest in conservation.
  • Good communication skills.
  • A sense of humour .
  • Able to live without mobile reception .
  • A good range of practical skills. 
  • Interest and skills in research.
  • Animal handling experience.

Work environment

The Haast range is very steep and rugged. The job requires a very high level of fitness and will not suit anyone who suffers from vertigo. The candidate must be experienced at walking on consecutive days with a 15kg pack over steep, rough terrain.

Haast is a small community surrounded by spectacular mountains, bush and beaches. People come here for the rugged outdoor lifestyle – hunting, fishing, kayaking, tramping. There is no cell phone coverage in Haast or for 1.5hrs drive in any direction. Internet is slow and expensive. Although there are several shops and good places to eat, Haast will not suit anyone with city tastes.

What DOC provides

  • Accommodation in Haast in a comfortable furnished 3 bedroom house shared with others.
  • Local phone, power and firewood.  
  • $200 per week for food (after a successful 2 week trial period).
  • All personal protective gear, gaiters, packs and camping gear. 

What you need to bring

Field clothing including raincoat, thermal base layers and footwear for bushwalking. DOC will pay for these to be replaced as they are worn out.

Required personal gear list:

  • 2 sets of tramping clothes including:
    • thermal top (polypro or wool)
    • thermal leggings (polypro or wool)
    • at least 2 fleece or woollen layers
    • woollen hat and gloves
    • sun hat
    • woollen socks
    • waterproof coat, trousers and gloves
  • there is some bedding in the Haast accommodation but interns may want to bring their own sleeping bag
  • food for first 2 weeks.

DOC vehicles are used for transport for work purposes. We advise interns to have their own vehicle as public transport to Haast is limited, and non-existent locally.

How to apply

Applications for these positions will close midday on 14 September 2015.

Send a CV and letter outlining your skills and interest in the positions to Paul Gasson – see contact details below. 


For further information about these positions contact:

Jacinda Amey

Paul Gasson
Phone: +64 3 750 0183

Awarua / Haast Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 750 0809
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
South Westland
Postal Address:   PO Box 50
Haast 7844
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