How to Volunteer in New Zealand

Ask most travellers where the most scenic place in the world they have been to is, a lot will say New Zealand and it's difficult to disagree. If you have every watched the Lord of the Rings films and thought wow I would like to visit New Zealand what are you waiting for? This is a very advanced country with world class education and healthcare systems but there are still ways to help as a volunteer here, most projects centre around conservation and eco-preservation of the spectacular natural environment. 

New Zealand is renowned for its unique, stunning nature, with wildlife coming under that category. As a result, the country offers some of the best volunteer programs for visitors, in order to preserve both the North and South island’s wildlife, rainforests and coastal areas. You can work with animals and plant trees in order to boost ecosystems. 

New Zealand volunteer holidays are popular and a rewarding way to experience the country. Participating will leave a lasting impact on you especially if you throw yourself into the local culture. Applying is also a good way to do something rewarding and be far more than just the average tourist. You will get a different understanding of the communities too working alongside local people who are well known for being extremely friendly. 


Location of Projects

There are programs available in both the North and South islands of the country including: • Auckland • Bay of Plenty • Canterbury • Gisborne • Hawke's Bay • Manawatu-Wanganui • Marlborough • Nelson & Bays • Northland • Otago • Southland • Taranaki • Tasman • Waikato • Wellington • West Coast

A lot of people choose to join projects in well known places like Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland, aka, the City of Sails, located on the stunning Hauraki Gulf! Don't be affraid to go to more remote areas of the country too. You will usually work around 5 hours per day Monday to Friday with nights and weekends off and depending on where you are participating there are so many activities and places you can visit. 

You might also like to combine experiences with nearby countries: (Volunteer in Australia / Volunteer in Fiji).


How You Can Help

Types of programs available include:

Conservation Volunteer Projects in New Zealand

If you enjoy being in the great outdoors there are a range of volunteer environmental projects in New Zealand at National Parks. There are some of the most scenic locations in the world in NZ and on most projects you will get to experience the great outdoors getting amazing photos in the process.  New Zealand has a small population compared to neighbouring Australia, around 4.5 millions people live here but at any time there are around one million tourists visiting. The high levels of tourists can have a neg

Native effect on the local environment especially in the South Island where only about a quarter of the population live. There are huge mountains, rolling hills, spectacular coasts, glaciers, lakes and also an abundance of wildlife which need to be protected. This might sound very simple, but a great way to help can be just picking up any rubbish you see - help keep the landscape clean and pretty for future generations. 


Community Volunteer Programs in New Zealand

There are various placements are hospitals and rehabilitation centres where you can help, placements can be found in physiotherapy. You will get to speak and learn from local staff (all of which are English speaking making placements here a lot easier than other volunteer abroad destinations). You will gain experience and also satisfaction by helping children and adults.



WOOF in New Zealand

A popular option which you might not have heard about is to do some WOOFing in New Zealand - it's a program of volunteering in exchange for accomodation and food. These positions are available in backpackers hostels, hotels and also a lot of farms offer this throughout the country. It is not paid, but you also do not need to pay a fee. It is also a lot of fun and allows you to save money to fund further travels. You still need visa to be able to do WOOFing.



Most Nationalities like UK and USA are not required to get a visa and you can enter and stay for up to 90 days making the process of becoming a volunteer here fairly easy. There are no specific qualifications or requirements needed to take part. Most organisations do however require that all participants have a sense responsibility and most importantly... a sense of fun and adventure! You will usually need to join for a 1 week duration or longer.


How to Apply

Some companies offer structured packages which you can arrange before departing perfect if you are keen to help or take a gap year in New Zealand. You might need to pay a fee for this service but this generally includes:

  • Airport Pickup
  • Accommodation (for duration of volunteering stay)
  • All meals 
  • Training and in-country support
  • Optional excursions

You will usually be responsible for paying for flights, insurance and visas. If you need any help arranging a volunteering placement in New Zealand please get in touch,


Free, Low Cost & Paid Volunteer Opportunities in New Zealand

There is also the option to seek out opportunities locally, in towns, cities and villages throughout the country there are local operations and charities working to help communities and nature. These are usually free to join and a great way to mix and meet locals. A lot of local companies also hire staff throughout the year for paid positions.


New Zealand Volunteer Reviews

If you have ever been to volunteer in New Zealand and would like to add a review or recommend an organisation, write about your experience or share any advice please contact us,


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