Department of Conservation - Wanaka & Alexandra

Environmental Improvement - Department of Conservation Volunteer

Organisation Summary:

Our vision is:

New Zealand is the greatest living space on Earth
Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao

By "living space" we’re talking about our physical environment and the people, plants and animals that it supports.

By "greatest" we mean New Zealand being the best it can be—a country that prospers socially, economically and environmentally.

Our vision is bigger than DOC and bigger even than conservation. We want it to be a stretch and to be something everyone wants to sign up to, so we can all work together to achieve it.

The Department of Conservation is the government department tasked with conserving New Zealand's natural and historical heritage for all to enjoy now and in the future. DOC manages Crown land that include National Parks, reserves and conservation areas. DOC has two main branches: SERVICES who carry out biodiversity and recreation work, and PARTNERSHIPS who work with business, community and iwi.

We’re doing our part to make New Zealand the greatest living space on Earth by looking after our environment so all of us can enjoy it and get the benefits from it that we need for our health and well-being and our wealth. This includes things like: clean air to breathe; fresh water to drink and to run our industries; healthy soils to grow our food; places where we can find adventure and solitude, and much more

The services we provide (e.g. clean water, open spaces etc.) are used by various sections of the community.


Tasks are varied and may include track maintenance, trap monitoring, planting, bird counts or administration. 

DOC are currently taking expressions of interest from volunteers keen to be kept informed of volunteer opportunities as they arise.  

It is unusual for opportunities working directly with DOC to become available within a short timeframe.  If you are wanting to do conservation work in the near future then we suggest you contact some of the following like-minded organisations who do amazing work locally.

  • Clyde Community Nursery - undertake native seed collection, plant propagation, community planting and weeding in the Alexandra Basin.  For further information please contact Bill Nagle or find them on Facebook: Clyde Railhead Community Nursery.
  • Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group - an initiative working throughout Central Otago to remove introduced pine trees from our landscape.  Based out of Alexandra but working throughout the district.  For more information contact or check out the role description here.
  • Diamond Lake Restoration Trust - A group running a predator control programme trapping introduced mammals at Diamond Lake near Wanaka.  Contact Jim Miller
  • Enviroschools - Have a range of initiatives getting school children involved in Environmental Projects.  For more information please contact Anna Robinson
  • Keep Alexandra/Clyde Beautiful - Undertake enhancement and planting projects in the Alexandra basin.  For more information contact or check out the role description here.
  • Lindis Pass Conservation Group - A group undertaking, weed control and restoration initiatives adjoining the Lindis Pass State Highway near Tarras.  Monthly working bees during warmer months with car-pooling transport often available from Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra.  Contact or check out the role description here.
  • Mokihi Trust - undertake community planting and restoration in Cromwell.  For further information please contact Mike Barra or check out the role description here.
  • Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust- an initiative working throughout Central Otago to develop, represent and promote the historical sites, trails and events of Otago. For more information check out the role description here.
  • Te Kakano  - undertake plant propagation, community planting and weeding in Wanaka and throughout the Upper Clutha.  For more information check out the role description here or email

Time Commitment:

Varies depending on task. Many of the opportunties above can be undertaken repeatedly over time or as a one off for a working bee.  Most of the groups are also run by volunteer committees.

Tasks are managed from the Wanaka office but can take place around the wider Central Otago area including Cromwell and Alexandra.

Skills Required:

Skills required depends on the role but clearly a belief in the conservation of New Zealand's natural places is required. First Aid training would be useful and the majority of roles require volunteers to be physically fit and able and to have a good understanding of English.

Skills Gained:

Volunteers gain satisfaction from being involved in conservation in New Zealand as well as having the opportunity to meet people from a range of backgrounds and experiences. There is the opportunity to gain skills and experience in conserving our ecosystems and pest control through volunteering opportunities.  Relevant free online courses are available here.  

Schedule Summary

This activity generally occurs on

  • Monday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Tuesday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Wednesday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Thursday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Friday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Saturday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening
  • Sunday - Morning, Afternoon, Evening