If you want to explore the beautiful landscape home to people who affectionately call themselves “Kiwis,” the good news is you can find ways to give back to the islands as you make yourself at home. From conservation efforts to working with non-governmental organizations, volunteer organizations send people to do a variety of work in New Zealand. Here are some things to know as you plan your trip, and the programs that will connect you with meaningful work.
What to Know Before You Volunteer in New Zealand
New Zealand is an incredibly bio-diverse country. From lizards and birds to fish and frogs, there are so many New Zealand animals unique to the island country. Sadly, many of the species that make NZ so vibrant are starting to become vulnerable or go extinct altogether. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as much as 85-90 percent of the wetlands in New Zealand have been degraded through initiatives like land development and irrigation. As species are displaced, they become threatened with extinction and human intervention is often required to save them.
Most volunteer activities in New Zealand are aimed at helping clean up the habitats of the country’s creatures and monitor their migrations and population numbers. During your time volunteering in New Zealand, you will learn about how to help the environment and further efforts to protect some of the most important species currently in decline.
New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are reversed to those in North America and Europe — winter takes place from June to August and summer happens from December to February. The climate there is mostly moderate, though parts of the North Island have some subterranean conditions. You can generally expect warmer temperatures in the north and cooler temperatures in the south. While New Zealand is an English speaking country, you may still find a phrasebook helpful because the vernacular is quite different from other countries.