Native Forest Volunteer Project, New Zealand

Volunteer to work to preserve the native forest and birds on the Kauri Coast, New Zealand and get to explore an undiscovered forest while learning about conservation and wilderness skills.

Join this project and help preserve the native forest and birds in a Nature Sanctuary located in an unexplored forest on the beautiful Kauri Coast, New Zealand.

Background

This Nature Sanctuary is a privately owned native forest that is managed in cooperation with the New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) and the local regional council. The sanctuary consists of protected podocarpus forest that lies in a greater kiwi zone. The kiwi is an endangered native bird and protecting its habitat is quite important for its survival. The nature sanctuary is located away from the beaten path and it is suited for those interested to work in a remote, wilderness setting.

Native Forest Volunteering

You will be working in teams of up to six volunteers with qualified and experienced leaders carrying out a variety of conservation related tasks.

Work will focus on the completion of a grid network of forest trails that will be used for the control and the monitoring of the pests that harm the kiwis and the other native birds. The trails will be built according to the best practices published by the Department of Conservation and DOC advisers will work alongside the volunteers.

Work tasks will include:

• establishing the grid pattern • marking the trails • clearing and widening of the trails • bait station installation and monitoring • GPS trail mapping

The Nature Sanctuary is an unexplored forest and the volunteers will have the opportunity to be the first people in more than a generation to discover the plants and trees that have been growing in the last hundred of years.

This volunteer programme includes wilderness training and the possibility to spend a few nights in the middle of the forest. Participants will also have the opportunity to go on night safaris looking for kiwis and glow worms.

No previous experience of this work is necessary, as training will be provided by experienced leaders. The working day normally runs from 10am to 4pm with breaks for lunch and listening to the nature around. However, please be prepared for some flexibility due to the changeable weather. Most of the workday will be spent outside walking in the forest, so a reasonable fitness level is required. Please note that the facilities at the Sanctuary are basic. They do, however, include dry cabin accommodation and comfortable hot showers.

About the region

The project is located in the Northland region of New Zealand, amongst the Native Kauri forests.

Northland’s many nature reserves shelter the most spectacular remnants of the ancient kauri forests that once blanketed the top of the country. The remaining giant trees are an awe-inspiring sight and one of the nation’s treasures.

It’s not just natural attractions that are on offer: history hangs heavily here as well. The country was colonised from the top down by successive migrations from Polynesia and a strong Maori presence remains to this day, adding an extra dimension to any visit. The Bay of Islands was also the site of the first permanent European settlement, as well as the signing of the Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand by local chiefs in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi five years later. Northland is unquestionably the birthplace of the nation.

Qualifications

You should be between 18 to 50 years old, fit, healthy, capable of carrying out work in all conditions in a cold and wet climate. In addition, you need to be prepared to do a lot of walking and hiking on uneven ground every day, and to be comfortable living in a rustic conditions for two weeks. The Nature Sanctuary is one hour away from the nearest town and there might be no opportunities to go into town. This is not the programme for you if you find it difficult to be out in remote areas and cannot hike at least 4 hours every day on uneven terrain. No specific skills are needed, but those with previous experience of conservation work, wilderness travel, botany, etc. would be particularly useful, as well as those who are self-motivated as you will get more of the project if you are. The project will especially appeal to those with an interest in conservation, restoration, wilderness, exploration, and off the grid living.