A jumping dolphin. Here are the best wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities

Ways You Can Volunteer as a Wildlife Wise Warrior


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The month of June is filled with commemoration days dedicated to saving our beautiful planet. There’s World Ocean Day on 8 June, World Sand Dune Day on 25 June, and National Volunteer Week 18-24 June. This makes it the perfect month to be a “Wildlife Warrior” and find out the best wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities in NZ.

Whether you want to dedicate your time to a particular organisation, or simply want tips on how you help the planet every day as a pet parent, we’ve rounded up the ultimate guide to volunteering for our precious animals. Check it out below.

The New Zealand Red Admiral is a butterfly endemic to New Zealand. Its Māori name is Kahukura, which means "red cloak".

What Is National Volunteer Week?

National Volunteer Week in New Zealand is a week to celebrate the efforts of volunteers who selflessly donate their time, skills, and energy to make a positive difference in their communities. New Zealand has 1 million people that volunteer for different causes annually – what an achievement!

This year’s National Volunteer Week theme is #TheBigShoutOut. The public is urged to post a star or a picture of themselves holding a star on their social media with the hashtags #NVW2023 and #timetoshine. It’s all about giving a shout-out to your volunteer stars and showing them they’re appreciated.

If you’d like to become a volunteer star yourself, here are some of the best wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities in NZ:

Department of Conservation (DOC)

We’d be remiss in not mentioning the hardworking DOC (also a PD partner) first and foremost. DOC manages New Zealand’s national parks and protected areas, and offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. This includes wildlife monitoring, habitat restoration, pest control, and visitor management.

To see how you can help, visit the volunteer section of the DOC website to explore programmes specific to your region.

Here are some awesome DOC volunteers in action:


Located in Wellington, Zealandia is a world-renowned ecosanctuary dedicated to the preservation of native wildlife. They offer volunteer roles in pest control, bird monitoring, habitat restoration, and visitor engagement.

As a wildlife volunteer, you can help look after the infrastructure and facilities that keep Zealandia running, doing seasonal work like bird feeding and monitoring, and learning about NZ flora and fauna to assists Zealandia visitors.

You can also volunteer as a corporate group – a great team building experience and reason to get out the office!

Project Island Song

Based in the Bay of Islands, Project Island Song aims to restore native wildlife to the islands of Ipipiri. They welcome volunteers to assist with habitat restoration, bird monitoring, and pest control.

Penguin Rescue

Penguin Rescue in North Otago is an organisation focused on the conservation and rehabilitation of penguins in New Zealand. They provide opportunities for wildlife volunteers to do beach walks to search for penguins in distress and participate in beach clean-ups and educational programmes.

You can be a wildlife volunteer to conserve the rare Yellow-eyed Penguin

NZ Whale & Dolphin Trust

The NZ Whale & Dolphin Trust conducts research and conservation efforts for whales and dolphins in New Zealand waters. They identify as a leading authority on Maui’s and Hector’s Dolphin in particular. The Trust offers volunteer opportunities for data collection, research assistance, and educational outreach.

Otago Peninsula Trust

Located near Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula Trust is involved in the conservation of endangered species such as the yellow-eyed penguin and the New Zealand sea lion. They offer volunteer positions for habitat restoration, predator control, and wildlife monitoring.

Kiwi Conservation Club

The Kiwi Conservation Club, which is operated by independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird, focuses on engaging children in conservation activities. They have volunteer opportunities for assisting with educational programmes, field trips, and events.

You can be a wildlife volunteer for the endangered Kiwi

Wildlife volunteering for the everyday

There are plenty of ways you as a pet parents can do your part, every day. Our partnership with DOC on the Auckland Lead the Way programme, has produced many useful articles on the important role dog and cat parents play in protecting the environment.

Here are some wildlife warrior pet parent must dos:

Be a responsible owner

From using a lead to responsible toileting, our articles on How to be a Responsible Dog Parent and Conservation Week NZ: How Dog Parents Can Help round up the dos and don’ts of pet parenting.

Become wildlife wise

Educating yourself is one of the biggest ways you can be a wildlife warrior. Inform yourself on wildlife conservation with a quiz and some of the best tips.

yes dogs can get sunburn - and badly - keep them out the noonday su this is responsible dog ownership when taking dog on holiday

Know where you can (and can’t go)

It’s wildlife rule number one! Make sure you’re not taking your pets into restricted wildlife areas. Read: Why You Can’t Take Your Dog or Cat into NZ National Parks.

Stop your pets from roaming

Wandering cats and dogs – usually unintentionally, we know – inflict far more harm on wildlife than those kept safely within bounds. Find out how to keep cats and dogs from wandering.

Be aware of pinnipeds and other sea life

Seals and sea lions need our protecting, so read: How to Play Your Part for Our Pinnipeds. Apply the same rules to our precious dolphins, turtles and other sea creatures.

Insure your precious pet

Now you know a little more about the best wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities this National Volunteer Week. Here’s another way you can show your love for animals – by getting a pet insurance plan for your dog or cat.

You never know when your pup or puss will get into an accident or come down with an illness. Having to choose between your pocket and their medical care is something no pet parent wants to do. PD Insurance is an award-winning brand that offers value rich, month to month dog insurance and cat insurance.

Why not get a quote today?

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