Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner says Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate the fact that people at all stages of their life are stepping up to volunteer their time to preserve New Zealand’s natural heritage.

“More than 15,000 people participated in DOC volunteer programmes last year, working an estimated 35,149 work days. On top of this DOC ran more than 600 partnerships last year with community conservation groups,” Ms Wagner says. 

“These numbers have been building steadily over the past few years, and it’s pleasing to see such a wide range of people get out and do their bit.

“It is important to take the opportunity to thank people who have generously given their time to volunteer in the conservation sector. No matter how young or old you are, there’s a place for you to volunteer for conservation.

“For example, octogenarians have helped make an enclosure at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre more comfortable for kākā chicks, while at the other end of the spectrum primary school children are lending their time and effort.

“Children from Tauranga’s Waldorf School recently arranged a bake sale to raise money for DOC’s work with Māui dolphins, while further south children are engaged with DOC’s partner Fiordland Conservation Trust as part of the award winning Kids Restore the Kepler project.

Students from Tauranga’s Waldorf School hosting a bake sale to raise funds for Māui dolphins.
Students from Tauranga’s Waldorf School hosting a bake sale to raise funds for Māui dolphins 

“Protecting our nature is everyone’s responsibility, not just DOC’s, which is why it’s great to see young people getting out and volunteering and learning about what it takes to conserve our wildlife and special places.

“Volunteering with DOC can involve anything from repairing tracks, planting trees and trapping pests, to doing data entry from home computers or babysitting seal pups.

“One of our volunteers from Taupo even makes fly fishing flies from stoat tails and sells them to fund local conservation projects.

“The work is varied and rewarding, and I encourage New Zealanders who are conservation-minded to think about how they can get involved,” Ms Wagner says.

DOC volunteers Kathleen and Peter helping pad out kaka enclosure at Te Anau Wildlife Centre.
DOC volunteers Kathleen and Peter helping pad out kākā enclosure at Te Anau Wildlife Centre 

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