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Long-Stay Volunteering Experience

Water is the source of all life and here in Christchurch we’re replanting and restoring important wetlands, to better protect the region’s waterways and its many native birds. 

At a glance.


Book weekly (7 Days and 7 Nights) Starts Friday 11:00am and ends each Friday afternoon. Volunteer for as many weeks as you like, including getting involved at a number of our places.


Paterson House, in Halswell Quarry Park, Halswell. It has bunk beds, full bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities.


11:00am at Paterson House. Here is a Google Maps link for Paterson House, which is close to public bus routes. Get off at stop 33854 on Larsens Rd (near Glovers Rd) then walk 1.0 km to the house.


Food with vegetarian and vegan options is provided, with everyone joining in at mealtimes to prepare and share.


Anyone aged 18 or over can join.


Taking care of habitat, removing invasive weeds, maintaining tracks and trails and more!


Port Hills and its many amazing walksHalswell Quarry Park,  Riccarton Bush, Hagley Park and its Botanical Gardens and the Canterbury Museum.


Programme details.


Volunteering activities

Volunteering takes place Monday to Friday. A trained volunteering guide will work alongside you during the day, with evenings left free to explore the area and catch up with fellow volunteers. Volunteer activities may include planting native species along the banks of streams and around wetlands. As well as restoring native forests to the area we are also improving the health of aquatic species. Other volunteering activities include preparing the ground for planting, releasing plants from weeds in previous plantings and mulching.

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Sharing with others

If you’re interested we’d love to inspire your creativity as well, as we develop resources to encourage people everywhere to get planting our future native forests, and share the Wild Heart Project vision. Video, Instagram feeds, and simple conservation how-to-guides are just the beginning of what’s possible.



In the evening there’s time to relax with your fellow volunteers. Accommodation, wifi and food is included, with everyone joining in preparing meals.


Your Team Leader

Our Team Leaders are people who love to share their passion for nature and conservation. As well as being your guide for the various conservation activities, they’ll take time to tell you more about this special place, its unique nature, and ways we can look after it. During the week they will introduce you to the project, work with you on your volunteering projects, and share with you their knowledge about conservation and the region.


Paterson House is an awesome base for our projects. This fully restored stone lodge is a great base to explore the park and the nearby Port Hills. You’ll stay in a bunkroom with mattress and pillows provided. There are full shower, bathroom and laundry facilities. As well as games and a small library there’s also a BBQ. 

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Volunteer activities take place 8.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Weekends are a chance to explore the area. You can spend your free time exploring the Christchurch area. There are some great walks and mountain bike rides that start in Halswell Quarry Park. Or you can head into the city to the Riccarton Bush and the nearby Farmers Market held there each Saturday. Hagley Park and its Botanical Gardens and the Canterbury Museum in the city and Sumner Beach out on the coast are great places to explore. Also check out this interactive map of other walking and hiking tracks in and around the city.


Getting there

Our meeting point is 11:00am at Paterson House, in Halswell Quarry Park, Halswell. Paterson House is accessed via the Kennedy’s Bush Road Entrance main carpark. Here is a link to a map of the quarry and a Google Maps link for Paterson House Halswell Quarry Park is close to public bus routes. Get off at stop 33854 on Larsens Rd (near Glovers Rd) then walk 1.0 km to Paterson House. Detailed schedules are at Metro Journey Planner.

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Don’t stop!

Volunteers can book multiple weeks in either one project, or get involved in a number of projects around the country.

What to bring

We provide all the tools and equipment needed for each volunteer activity. We’ll also send you a list of things to bring. Things you need to bring include:

  • Long trousers

  • Gardening gloves

  • Comfortable walking or working boots

  • Wide-brimmed sun hat/beanie

  • Sleeping bag

  • SPF 50 Sunscreen

  • Long sleeved shirts

  • Wet weather clothing

  • Tough work or gardening gloves

  • Drink bottle

  • Insect repellent

  • Sunglasses

  • Backpack

  • Personal medications

Ready to make a difference?

Frequently asked questions

Who can volunteer?

Everyone aged 18 and over! We have people from all walks of life, and both kiwis and people from all around the world volunteering. It’s a great opportunity to make a real difference, and get to know others who are also into nature and conservation.

When do projects start?

Our projects start every Friday and end the following Friday afternoon. Volunteering takes place each weekday, with weekends left free for you to relax and explore the area.

How long is each day’s volunteering?

Your team leader will pick you up from your accommodation around 8.30am, and take you to the project site in our minivans. We always stop for a morning tea break as well as lunch around 1pm. We finish up for the day around 4pm, and bring you back to your accommodation. If we’re passing a great spot, we’ll often stop and explore.

How physical are the activities?

This varies, however every activity has a range of tasks, so everyone can find something that suits their level of fitness. We also make sure there’s time every day to connect with nature and listen to the birds!

How many people will be in our group?

The maximum size of our volunteering projects is 10 volunteers. Past volunteers say one of the best parts of the experience was getting to really know each other and their team leader, and we’ve found limiting the group size really helps this.

Can I extend how long I volunteer for once I’ve started?

Many volunteers plan multi-week experiences. This includes spending time being based in one project, and also planning an itinerary that takes you from one project to the next.

What’s included?

Your accommodation and food is included. We provide a pantry of food ingredients. All volunteers are expected to help with cooking and dishes. There are hot showers, and also laundry facilities including a drier and detergent.

Will I have to use sprays and chemicals?

No, volunteers don’t have to use these. Our focus is on planting, restoration and monitoring of native species.

What do other volunteers think?

“Great people and amazing views, what more could you ask for?”


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