Volunteer in New Zealand with IVHQ

Volunteer in New Zealand

Volunteer in New Zealand with International Volunteer HQ, the world's most affordable and trusted volunteer organization. IVHQ has a wide range of volunteer abroad projects available in New Zealand, including NGO Support, Coastline Conservation and Education and Freshwater Restoration and Education.
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At a glance…

  • Available year-round
  • 3 meaningful project options
  • Projects based throughout the wider area of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland
  • Accommodation in a dormitory style hostel
  • Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in New Zealand each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, breakfasts and lunches during volunteer the program period and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
  • Program fees from $885 for 2 weeks
  • Endless weekend activities and opportunities to travel
It was great learning about the Maori culture and history. I really liked working in nature! I will recommend my younger sister to volunteer here in the future. Everything was great, keep up the good work!
Lingyan Hu
Nationality: American
Project: Native Forest and Waterway Restoration
Age: 22
Country: New Zealand
  • Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in New Zealand to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
  • Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in New Zealand will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
  • Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
  • Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
  • Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
  • New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
  • Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore New Zealand with your new-found friends.

The IVHQ New Zealand Program is located in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, which holds roughly one quarter of the country’s population on the North Island. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Auckland.

The program begins on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Extensions beyond 12 weeks can be arranged through our local team directly.

NGO Support

On the NGO Support project, highly motivated volunteers can gain experience working with an NGO abroad while assisting Auckland-based NGOs with a range of administrative tasks and activities. NGOs in New Zealand generally have very limited resources and they rely heavily on volunteer support to run their various initiatives. Volunteers may help with organizing community events such as beach clean ups and tree plantings, education campaigns, networking and communication, organizational development and research. The tasks each volunteer will do will depend on their skills and experience in addition to the needs of the various placements at the time, so volunteers are required to be open-minded, flexible and self-driven. Examples of tasks volunteers may be asked to do include working at an education center greeting guests and answering their questions, conducting and compiling research, mapping projects, monitoring and evaluating events, maintaining small-scale vegetable gardens, meal preparation, data entry and basic administration tasks. Please note, this project requires a minimum duration commitment of 6 weeks.

Native Forest and Waterway Restoration

Volunteers on the Native Forest and Waterway Restoration project work predominantly on whenua rangatira (traditional Māori land) where they will engage in a wide range of activities in effort to restore the health of native forests, fresh waterways and surrounding land. Four to five days per week, volunteers work on the land, gaining cultural insight and traditional knowledge on organic and spray-free techniques for restoring the land and water. The work is seasonal and volunteers can expect to do a range of noninvasive activities in sync with the natural cycles of the plants, animals and waterways at the time of year they volunteer. This may include collecting seeds, planting native plants, weeding, removing invasive species, organic small-scale farming, mulching and composting. Additionally, there may be opportunities for volunteers to be involved in various monitoring programs, such as for birds, insects, invertebrates, plants and fish. This project is an amazing opportunity to get close to Māori culture and customs and we strongly advise volunteers ask many questions of their hosts.

Coastline Conservation and Education

The Coastline Conservation and Education project aims to address the challenge of litter in the marine environment, with a long-term goal of working towards Sustainable Coastlines’ vision of inspiring people to keep New Zealand beaches beautiful. Involvement in this project will see volunteers engaged in coastal clean-up activities, educational presentations and hands-on workshops and training. Volunteers will spend their time on a purpose-built rubbish collection vessel to collect litter from coastlines around area harbours, as well as work on key scouting and assessment activities. On days when the sea is too rough for boating, volunteers will be transported by vehicle to land-accessed areas of coastline to conduct clean-up, scouting and assessment activities. Volunteers with a good base level of public speaking and presentation skills may have opportunities to strengthen their techniques by attending training and participating in (or delivering) “Love Your Coast” litter awareness presentations to local schools, businesses, volunteer or – optionally – offenders. Sustainable Coastline’s “Love Your Coast” brand and educational resources are all ‘open sourced’ and freely available for volunteers to use once they return home or continue their travels.

Orientation is hosted by our New Zealand team in Auckland. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in New Zealand – Introduction to New Zealand, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 4 to 6 hours per day.

An example schedule is as follows:

7:30 AM Breakfast and a packed lunch provided by a local cafe near the accommodation.

8.30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on - some placements begin earlier in the morning and others in the afternoon.

12.00 PM Eat a packed lunch at your placement and then resume your volunteer work.

2:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends.Plan for the following day’s activities or use your free time as you wish. This could include sightseeing and exploring Auckland’s beautiful surroundings.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory style hostel in Britomart, a trendy, centrally-located area of Auckland. The offices of the local team are a 20 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride from the hostel. You should expect to share a room with one to nine other volunteers of both genders. All rooms have a communal, co-ed bathrooms equipped with western style toilets and hot showers. Bedding is provided but volunteers must bring their own towels. Accommodation upgrades to private, matrimonial or same-gender rooms and bathrooms can be arranged at an additional cost after registering for the program but must be done at least 2 weeks prior to your start date. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. The travel and tours office on the ground floor of the accommodation is equipped with one hour of free Wi-Fi each day. Wi-Fi access in specific rooms can also be purchased for less than US$10 per week. Lockers are available but volunteers must bring their own locks.

Weekday breakfasts are served at a local cafe near the hostel, which typically include breads, spreads, eggs and fruit salad or other daily specials. Placements which begin very early in the morning may require volunteers to pick up a packed breakfast on the way to their placement, to eat during their commute. Packed lunches are also provided to volunteers on weekdays, which volunteers eat during their lunch break at their placement. These are commonly salads, soups and/or sandwiches. It’s important to note that New Zealand portion sizes may be smaller than what you are used to at home, so we recommend bringing some extra money with you for purchasing your own snacks. Volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own dinners, either taking advantage of the nearby restaurants or purchasing groceries to prepare themselves in the hostel’s communal kitchen. On weekends, volunteers are provided with vouchers to use at a local grocer for preparing their own meals. Tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink in most areas and we strongly recommend bringing a reusable water bottle with you.

“It was great learning about the Maori culture and history. I really liked working in nature! I will recommend my younger sister to volunteer here in the future. Everything was great, keep up the good work!” – Lingyan Hu (Native Forest and Waterway Restoration Volunteer in New Zealand)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in New Zealand here

Volunteers have their weekends free in New Zealand, which is universally renowned for breath-taking scenery, cultural diversity, unique wildlife, adventure sports and relaxed lifestyle. There is enough to do in New Zealand to fill a year’s worth of weekends and still have a lot left undone and Auckland is an extremely advantageous base for travel further afield within New Zealand. Known for its wealth of geographic features crammed into a small country, volunteers can use their weekends to explore glaciers, rainforests, mountains, coastlines, fjords, waterfalls and rolling hills on New Zealand’s Great Walks, or even take easier day hikes.

Beach and marine lovers have an extensive selection of coastline and beaches to enjoy and the opportunity to dive, surf, kayak, swim and snorkel in some of the most beautiful spots in the world. Adrenaline junkies can enjoy surfing, bungee jumping, gorge swinging, white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding, parasailing and mountain biking. Just a short ferry ride away from Auckland, volunteers can spend their day in wineries on Waiheke Island or tramping up an extinct volcano on Rangitoto Island.

The IVHQ local team in New Zealand has a broad range of relationships with tourism operators and volunteers will enjoy the ability to have discounted activities and/or accommodation at such locations as the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve (one of the top ten dive/snorkel sites in the world), the surfing mecca of Raglan or the beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

See our New Zealand Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in New Zealand!

Map of New Zealand

Capital Wellington
Population 4.5 million
Languages English, Māori
Currency New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Time zone UTC+12:00

Weather and climate: As a whole, the climate is considered to be maritime temperate, but New Zealand’s climate is quite varied due to its diversity in geographic features and the severity of weather patterns coming off the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea. The North Island’s northern region is subtropical, the west and southernmost regions tend to be windy and rainy, and the east tends to be warm and sunny. The South Island has a sunny, mild northeastern region, a windy and wet southwestern region, and a semi-arid central region. Weather in Auckland, where the IVHQ volunteer program is based, has a breezy, mild and humid temperate climate with warm summers and no dry season. Winter temperatures in Auckland (June through August) range between 8°C and 16°C (46°F and 60°F). Summer temperatures in Auckland (December through February) range between 15°C and 24°C (59°F and 75°F). Clouds and rain are relatively common in Auckland and New Zealand as a whole, with moderate to light rain being the common form of precipitation occurring at some point in the day roughly 50% of the days each year.

Volunteers must be over 18 years of age at the beginning of the program unless volunteering with a guardian who is 18 or older. Volunteers must speak fluent English. Volunteers must present a recent criminal background check to IVHQ’s partner organization staff upon arrival in New Zealand. Volunteers must have adequate travel insurance. Volunteers who are taking part in the NGO Support project must bring their own laptop to take part in presentations and administrative tasks as part of their project.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

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