As a volunteer in New Zealand, you will act as an advocate for the indigenous endangered animals and help protect the unique flora. For this purpose, there are numerous year-round nature conservation projects on both main islands in New Zealand. In groups of six to ten volunteers, you will carry out small projects in various regions. You'll plant trees in nature reserves and thus help to preserve the habitat of the endangered kiwi or help to maintain hiking trails. In addition, you may be taking part in conducting field studies for projects dedicated to researching endangered species. Cleaning up beaches and taking care of cultural heritage sites in New Zealand may also be part of your responsibilities. You will work in regions that remain hidden to most tourists and therefore experience a completely different and exciting side of New Zealand.
Dive into a fascinating world full of spectacular landscapes, a unique natural environment, and kind-hearted people. Experience the biodiversity of New Zealand's flora and fauna, which has evolved in a completely unique way due to the remoteness of the island. From the flightless kiwi and curious kea to huge elephant seals and cranky penguins, the fascinating wildlife has fascinated visitors and residents alike. Primal fern forests and mighty kauri trees, which can be up to 2000 years old, will carry you away into a strange world.
The goal of the program's conservation projects is to this preserve this natural beauty and the unique habitats. Become a part of the project and make an active contribution to protecting the biodiversity of New Zealand.
To participate in the project, you are required to fill out our NATUCATE application form. All participants must be at least 18 years old and be able to converse in English with their team. It is also important that you are physically fit so that you will be able to handle working daily outdoors. Depending on the time of year, the work may be harder due to intense heat, rain, or freezing temperatures. You will also be hiking for longer periods on rough trails to get to the place where you will be working. Other than that, no special skills or knowledge is required.
Your start your volunteer work in New Zealand with an information event that takes place Friday at 11 AM in the corresponding office of our partners in Auckland, Wellington, or Punakaiki (via Christchurch). The volunteers are assigned to various projects depending on the current needs. In the seminar, you will learn everything you need to know about the project such as what to expect when you are there, what security precautions need to be taken, and how to behave appropriately at the site. You should make sure to arrive early so that you do not miss this seminar. Afterwards, you can enjoy your first weekend in New Zealand, explore the city, and shake off your jet lag. On Monday morning, you will meet the other members of your group and head off with them to the project site. During the project, you will generally work Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM. In general, the projects run for one to two weeks, but if the project site is more remote, then you may be staying there for ten days. In this case, you will have several extra days off. The projects end on a Friday afternoon so that you can spend the following weekend any way you want. If you want to take part in another project after that in a different region, then you will need to organize your transfer to the new location on that weekend.
The projects in New Zealand always start on a Friday morning at 11 AM and end on Fridays around noon. They generally run for one to two weeks, and you start from Auckland, Wellington, or Punakaiki. You can choose to stay for a time of two or twelve weeks. The program closes every year on Dec. 23, which is why the last start date is one week before Christmas.
As a German tourist, you can stay for up to three months in New Zealand without a visa. Upon your arrival, you will be issued an entry permit for a specific purpose. To receive an entry permit, you must prove you have adequate financial resources and a return or onward air ticket to confirm you will be leaving the country before your three months have expired.
Where you will be accommodated depends on the particular project and its location. You may have a bed in a shared room in a hostel, in a hut, or in a caravan, and in some cases you may be sleeping in a tent. The accommodations in which you will be living with your international team are located in most cases directly on the project site. During your working hours and on the weekends, you will be provided three daily meals that will be prepared by you and the members of your team. The entire group is also responsible for keeping your accommodations clean. You will be offered muesli, toast, or bread for breakfast as well as coffee and tea. At lunchtime, you can make sandwiches, and there will be a selection of local fruits available. In the evening, the group cooks a warm meal together.
Everybody interested in volunteering abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
If you should take an extended time off between two projects, then we recommend you take a tour around to fully enjoy the fascinating beauty of the country. You can visit some of the countless number of protected natural environments in the national parks and see hot springs, geysers, and glaciers or explore the fjords on the South Island.
The way the kiwis, who are true outdoor enthusiasts, spend their leisure time is just as interesting as the variety of landscapes in New Zealand. When most people think about leisure time and New Zealand, they usually think of the highly popular sports of rugby and sailing. However, there are many other ways to spend your free time on land and in water: in addition to diving, kayaking, and surfing, the more adventurous can also try rafting or zorbing. The biggest thrill of all is bungee jumping from the Sky Tower in Auckland or on Lake Taupo, where you even plunge into the Waikato River at the bottom. There are also various opportunities for skydiving, and even the ski areas will entice you with great offers. Instead of such risky recreational activities, you can also simply relax on one of the numerous picturesque beaches on the islands and let your spirits flow.
New Zealand’s natural environment is one of the most unusual on the planet. Due to its isolated position, a large number of endemic (i.e. species which only exist in one region) animal and plant species have developed on the island nation over millions of years. Because New Zealand has no native land mammals, birds have taken up a number of their ecological niches. Flightless birds such as the kakapo parrot or the well-known Kiwi play a particularly important role in the ecosystem. A number of unique bird species are now seriously under threat, particularly since humans brought land mammals like cats, dogs and rats with them when they settled in New Zealand. Anthropogenic (human) pollution, habitat devastation, intensive agriculture and climate change are posing more and more of a risk for sensitive ecosystems. Wide-ranging environmental monitoring and nature and species conservation measures are therefore essential in order to maintain the natural biodiversity of New Zealand.