Ātiu Creek, Kaipara Harbour
Summer Volunteering Getaway
Here at Kaipara Harbour – the country’s largest harbour, we’re planting a native forest across the stunning Ātiu Creek Regional Park. Our base is the former farm house - it’s a chance to slow down and connect with the rhythm of the tides and nature, and explore the park’s many headlands and beaches.
At a glance.
5 Days and 4 Nights (Starts Monday 8:30 am and ends Friday 4:30pm)
A farm cottage in Ātiu Creek Regional Park, with bunk beds, full bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities.
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.
Raising seedlings from eco-sourced seeds through to young trees, removing invasive weeds, maintaining tracks and trails and more!
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. During your time here we’ll introduce to all we’re doing to restore the forest here at Atiu Creek, Kaipara Harbour. There's always work to be done in our plant nursery, especially in raising seedlings from eco-sourced seeds through to young trees. There’s also lots of planting to do, as well as time spent preparing the ground and checking tracking tunnels.
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 and food is provided, with everyone joining in at mealtimes. There’s also a small organic veggies garden you can work in, and harvest from for part of your evening meal.
Our guides 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 your guide will introduce you to the project, work with you on your volunteering projects, and share with you their knowledge about conservation and the region.
Your accommodation is at the project site in one of the former farm houses. You’ll stay in a bunkroom with mattress and pillows provided. There’s full shower, bathroom and laundry facilities. It’s a chance to slow down and connect with the rhythms of the tides and nature.
Volunteer activities take place 9.00am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. You can spend your free time connecting with nature and exploring this spectacular regional park, either on your own or with fellow volunteers. Hop on one of our bicycles and ride around the tracks, or head out for a walk out the many headlands and beaches. Parts of the Regional Park are still a working farm so you’ll also can get up close to some of the sheep, and farm animals grazing there. Read about the founder’s vision for the regional park, and download a park map here. You can also follow up your time volunteering with a day or overnight trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island where Tuatara, kōkako and kiwi live in the wild...
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 including:
Comfortable walking or working boots
Wide-brimmed sun hat/beanie
SPF 50 Sunscreen
Long sleeved shirts
Wet weather clothing
Tough work or gardening gloves (Optional)
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. People aged 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
When do projects start?
Our projects start every Monday and end on Friday, with the first few hours on Monday spend introducing you to the project, the activities for the week as well as covering requirements to ensure your health and safety.
How long is each day’s volunteering?
Your guide 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 guide, and we’ve found limiting the group size really helps this.
Can I extend how long I volunteer for once I’ve started?
Absolutely, you can just book online as you go – however places can fill up though...
Your accommodation and food is included. We provide a pantry of vegetarian 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?
The main thing I like about the projects is the variety of places that you get to visit when you are working as they are places that you would never see on a normal tour around New Zealand. I like the variety of work that is available, but sometimes the work can become slightly repetitive - on the farm the only other option available was to help with trapping/shearing the sheep which is not a task I would be interested in.