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Volunteer in New Zealand

Volunteer in New Zealand and discover some of the most peculiar wildlife, charming cities, endless nature and very open-minded locals...

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Volunteer work in New Zealand

Where help is needed most

New Zealand has a unique ecosystem boasting with some of the rarest plants and animals this planet has to offer. Without active conservation efforts, we are sure to lose these natural treasures over time which is why we rely on conservation volunteers like yourself to contribute to protecting this natural beauty.


Contribute as an eco-conservation volunteer in New Zealand and help to save endangered species like country’s national symbol, the kiwi along with other less renown species like the giant kauri snail. With numerous conservation projects scattered over New Zealand, the opportunities are endless for volunteers to join the much-needed preservation efforts. If you have always wanted your own 'into the wild' experience, feel the need to go back to basics or simply connect with nature, this is your chance to help out and experience all of the above in a safe and responsible setting.

You will not only learn about native species but work towards actively protecting them while gaining knowledge about sustainable living. These projects are supported by the department of conservation and will involve the following activities:

  • Cutting and marking trails
  • Installing, refilling and monitoring bait stations
  • Installing and monitoring traps
  • Monitoring of endangered species
  • Weed control
  • Data collection and entry

Enjoy the unique environment of this developed yet seemingly untouched natural treasure and help maintain it for the years to come! You will be sharing this experience with other like-minded individuals in a local community which will undoubtedly lead to a meaningful shared experience abroad during your volunteer work in New Zealand.

Cost of living abroad

The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in New Zealand is between US$ 36 and US$75. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.

Additional costs you should consider will be:

An exemplary overview of living costs for your volunteer work in New Zealand (in US$, for one person) is:

Good to know before you volunteer abroad in New Zealand

Before starting to volunteer in New Zealand, there are a few things you should think about first. That being said, New Zealand is generally a safe place to travel with a low crime rate, few endemic diseases, and a great healthcare system. The following points might help you with your planning and also whilst you are on site:

Safety & precautions for volunteers

Before embarking on this once and a lifetime trip, there are a few items you may want to take into account. Traveling always holds some adventure but your safety is imperative to enjoy it to the fullest:

  • Make sure you have travel insurance for the time you are away. This is easy to come by and will ensure you are covered when anything happens to you.
  • Take copies of your passport and credit cards and store them separately just in case.
  • You can always call 111 if you feel unsafe or threatened, so always carry your phone with you.
  • Avoid hitchhiking and accepting rides from strangers.
  • Carry a basic first aid kit in case of emergencies.
  • While traveling in a camper van, park it in the designated areas whenever possible.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
  • Don't leave your luggage or other personal belongings unattended.
  • The weather can be extreme so be sure to pack the right gear for all weather types. Sunblock for sunny weather but proper rain gear and shoes in case you will be out hiking.
  • When you go hiking, always inform someone about your whereabouts before leaving.
  • When swimming, stick to the flagged zones supervised by lifeguards.

Health advice

New Zealand is a developed country with excellent facilities, so health is less of a concern here than when traveling to developing countries. Nevertheless, to make your stay as a volunteer in New Zealand completely enjoyable take into account the following:

  • There are no necessary immunizations for New Zealand before entering but it would be advised to check with your doctor before heading off.
  • Definitely protect yourself against the strong sun when you go, as most of your volunteer work in New Zealand will be outdoors! Heat stroke and sunburn can cause some severely uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Make sure you bring suitable rain gear and a windproof jacket because the weather can change rapidly.
  • If you have any health problems or take medication, be sure to bring the medication along with the prescription with you. The prescription can be important when passing through customs.

Packing essentials

After reading all of the above, we're sure you're ready to pack your bags to volunteer abroad in New Zealand. Before you stuff your backpack with swimwear, shorts and sunglasses, we'd like to help you by giving you some useful things you may not have thought of!

  • Travel Insurance
  • Money, cards, credit cards
  • Passport
  • Power adapter suitable for New Zealand (perhaps more than 1 if you're heavy on electronics)
  • Waterproof phone case to protect against dust, scratches and water
  • Water shoes for spending time at or around the beach
  • Personal medication, first-aid kit
  • Sun hat
  • Raincoat
  • Scarf
  • Quick-dry towels
  • Suitable footwear for hiking etc

Requirements & qualifications

As you will have noticed by now, there are many different projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their program page, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects to volunteer abroad in New Zealand:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old.
  • You need to have basic English skills to do volunteer work in New Zealand.
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

Visa regulations to volunteer in New Zealand

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for New Zealand.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That's why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person at Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the New Zealand embassy or consulate in your country .

General immigration information

Customs are very strict in New Zealand. Everyone entering the country will be checked for the following:

  • Hold a valid passport and visa in the passport you are using to travel.
  • Have a return flight to a country you can travel to at the end of your stay.
  • Be able to prove you have enough money in your bank account to finance your stay.
  • Meet the health and character requirements.
  • Answer the questions asked, truthfully.

Best practice for short-term volunteers

People from visa waiver countries that want to volunteer abroad in New Zealand can visit the country for periods up till 3 months without applying for a visa beforehand. You will need to prove you are visitor by having a return ticket and also prove that you have sufficient money for your stay.

Citizens from countries that are not on the visa waiver list can apply for a visitor visa and will need to arrange this before leaving for New Zealand. You can easily check if you come from a visa waiver country on New Zealand's immigration website .

Best practice for long-term volunteers

If you have plans to stay longer than 3 months, you will need to apply for a visitor visa beforehand. A visitor visa will allow you to stay for up to 9 months. Please contact your nearest New Zealand embassy or consulate to find out how to obtain a visitor visa.