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Volunteering in Auckland

Updated: May 29, 2020

Volunteering is a great way to assist with the conservation of New Zealand species and ecosystems, while also exploring new and unique areas. Here are some great opportunities in the Auckland area for when we’re out of self-isolation.

Self-isolation has been tough for us individuals who love getting out into nature and exploring what New Zealand has to offer. Beaches, islands, forests, wetlands and the ocean are begging for us to come play. Many of these places run rewarding and fun volunteer programs. So, get planning your much-needed outdoor day post self-isolation, while making a positive difference to our environment! You can even get ahead by sending in an email now just to register your interest.

1. Conservation Volunteers

Conservation Volunteers are an international organisation that runs many volunteering days throughout Auckland and around the country. In New Zealand, they have supported over 100,000 hours of volunteering and planted over 150,000 native trees. If you’re interested in volunteering, signing up to their emailing list is a great way to hear about what projects are happening near you, and you might even discover local areas you didn’t know exist!

2. The Hauraki Gulf Islands

We have many beautiful islands throughout the Hauraki Gulf, and volunteering is a great (and often cheaper!) way to explore these unique areas.

  • Tiritiri Matangi

Tiritiri Matangi, Auckland’s native bird sanctuary, runs a 7-day volunteering programme where you stay at the island's bunkhouse and assist the rangers with whatever they need. This could be anything from weeding, to track maintenance to maintaining bird feeding stations. You can also register to be a regular tour guide on Tiritiri, which includes free transport to and from the island on the ferry and is a great way to explore and learn about the island.

  • Rotoroa Island

Rotoroa Island, formerly the Salvation Army’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, is a great place to casually volunteer. Register on their website to help with visitor experience, track maintenance or biosecurity. In exchange, you get free ferries, quality time with the takahē and can actively help with conservation.

  • Motuihe Island

Motuihe island runs regular volunteering days throughout the year. Get involved with weeding, planting or other crucial island work and be a part of restoring one of our beautiful Hauraki Gulf treasures.

  • Rangitoto and Motutapu islands

Rangitoto and Motutapu islands also run regular volunteer days, that you can sign onto when you feel like it, requiring no ongoing commitment. Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust has some interesting roles that differ from your normal conservation volunteer jobs. Motutapu Restoration Trust advertises a day out of the city, usually on a Sunday, encouraging you to get your hands dirty with tree planting, weed control and nursery work.

3. Ark in the Park

Ark in the Park is a collaboration between Forest and Bird and Auckland Council that monitors and controls non-native pests and predators to help restore the ecology of New Zealand. One current project they have running is based in the Waitakere Ranges. Volunteers are a key component of the Ark and can be involved in many aspects from research to management. It’s also a great way to learn about our native pests and how to control them.

4. Sea Cleaners

Sea Cleaners work to remove floating marine litter from our oceans and plastics from our beaches. Since 2002, they have removed 8.8 million litres of plastic waste from our waterways. That equates to 285 shipping containers filled with litter! Marine litter is a major issue and threatens not only our marine species, but also our health. They do daily trips, and are happy to accommodate school or community groups. Get involved in making a difference to our oceans and coastal areas by calling, sending them an email or contacting them via their website.

5. Sustainable Coastlines

Sustainable Coastlines is another great organisation that aims to look after the oceans and waterways we love. They work with volunteers to run coastal clean-up events and riparian planting projects. They can also help you run your own event if you have an idea in mind! Jump onto their website to see what they do if you’re interested in making a difference to our majestic beaches.

6. Great Mercury Island

Volunteering on Great Mercury Island/ Ahuahu is a little different to your typical one day stint. GMI takes groups of volunteers for 8 days to help monitor and eradicate Argentine ants: a pest species that destroys native wildlife and ecosystems. It is a truly rewarding experience, with all costs covered, so if you can free up a week over summer, this experience is strongly recommended and a chance to see one of the many unique places New Zealand has to offer. Check out our gallery and Instagram for first-hand pictures!

2. Whau River Conservation

The Whau River Catchment Trust strives to maintain and conserve the Whau River that backs onto the western Auckland suburbs of Te Atatu, Kelston and New Lynn. This Trust works with the community to increase the health of the Whau River and its surrounding catchment but relies on community participation. This is a great organisation to contribute to in your local area so get involved with weeding, mulching and planting to stabilise runoff and protect the Whau River!

Volunteering is a great way to enjoy a Saturday, explore a new place in Auckland and do some good for conservation. As an added bonus, it helps cure your climate anxiety as you are rewarded with the fulfilment of making a small, hands-on difference. Anyone, young or old, fit or not, can get involved - we need volunteers to restore many of our natural ecosystems and improve the quality of our waterways. Conservation groups such as Conservation Volunteers run programmes all around the country, so jump online to find the volunteering opportunities in your area.

Lena is studying an honours degree at AUT. Her research is comparing behavioural differences of Nemo fish in captivity and the wild. As a part time job, she teaches at the university. One of her favourite pastimes is to banter about current environmental issues. However, this tends to be only with people who agree, so it’s generally one-sided.

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