About the Kiwi Conservation Project
This Nature Sanctuary is a privately owned native forest that is managed in cooperation with the New Zealand 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 very important for its survival. The nature sanctuary is located away from the beaten path and it is suited for those interested in carrying out native forest volunteering in a remote, wilderness setting.
The sanctuary’s goal is to enable the creation of the right environment to sustain the ten pairs of kiwi currently living in the forest. The volunteer programme covers a range of conservation activities within the forest. The only way of maintaining this number of kiwi in the forest is by keeping predators at low levels, through extensive monitoring, and through forest protection.
Kiwi Conservation and Native Forest Volunteering in New Zealand
Kiwi conservation volunteers will be working in teams of up to eight volunteers with qualified and experienced leaders carrying out a variety of conservation-related tasks.
Work will focus on the completion of various conservation techniques that will be employed for the control and the monitoring of the pests that harm the kiwi and other native birds. These conservation techniques follow the best practices published by the Department of Conservation and will be employed within the sanctuary as well as in three other forests that are managed by the Department of Conservation.
Volunteer tasks will include:
- Track maintenance – clearing and widening of the trails
- Bait station filling and monitoring
- GPS trail mapping
- Small mammal monitoring
- Kiwi monitoring
- Kokako monitoring
- Bat monitoring
- Seedfall collection
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 hundreds of years.
This conservation 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 10 am to 4 pm with breaks for lunch and listening to 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.
“Our volunteers work in forests that cover an area of 2000 hectares and they contribute to the protection of a habitat that is home to more than 150 kiwi birds and to 100 kokako birds. These numbers start having a meaning when realizing that in New Zealand the total kiwi numbers decrease at 2% per year and that there are only 1600 kokako left in the world. Without the help provided by our volunteers, the extinction of these special birds would be even more rapid.” – Quote from Project Manager
Internship Positions in New Zealand
In addition to the main volunteer programme, we are also offering internship positions as follows:
Forest Conservation Internship
This internship builds upon the volunteering program and aims to provide the participants with a complete understanding of all the conservation techniques employed at the sanctuary. Participants will be trained and mentored such that they will be able to take charge of one area of activity (i.e. pest monitoring, track design and completion) or of all activities in one of the four forests in which we are operating. Ideally, the intern will become the leader of a volunteer team in charge of planning, preparation, health and safety, and training. To be able to reach that level of competence a minimum stay of 10 weeks is required. The minimum age is 20 and participants will be interviewed via Skype before being accepted into the programme.
As an intern, you will start by joining the kiwi conservation volunteers carrying out a variety of conservation-related tasks. You will receive extra training and you will have the opportunity to be involved in all conservation activities, all areas of the forest, and all other activities around the sanctuary. After about two weeks you will be able to start leading small teams of volunteers and start being involved in the planning and preparation activities of your team. After one month you will take charge of one conservation activity or one forest area and e responsible for the planning and completion of the required activities. Previous experience in a leadership role, be it at school or on a sports team will be beneficial to this role. Training will be provided by experienced leaders.