Volunteer Information

From time to time throughout the year, we require volunteers to help us with our work.

The opportunities to participate in the Kākāpō Recovery programme are in the following roles:

Supplementary feed-out

Opportunities to volunteer on the islands where kākāpō live occur during the summer months (November to March). This is to assist the staff on the islands to provide supplementary food to kākāpō. It involves preparing food for birds and walking around the island on steep terrain carrying a heavy pack (15 kg for up to 8 hours a day). The Supplementary feed out programme does not occur yearly – only in those years when it may encourage breeding.


Every few years a breeding season occurs in late summer. Nest-minder volunteers assist staff to monitor nests in situ, particularly at night. This work involves a lack of sleep and staying in tents in the bush as well as carrying a heavy pack (up to 10kg including a 6kg battery) up a hill for a couple of hours.


During breeding seasons there are a lot of busy people on the island and having a cook allows everyone to focus on their tasks. Cooks may be cooking for up to 35 people over two meal sittings and will need to be able to cater for special diets (eg vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc).

Volunteering Requirements

All volunteers need to be good team-workers, comfortable living with other volunteers/staff in simple conditions, flexible and hard-working. The feed-out volunteers and nest-minders also need to be extremely fit, able to do hard work in the outdoors and in rough terrain and be happy being out in the field alone (day and night). Volunteers are also expected to lendShane Hamill, NZAS volunteer - Codfish Is Oct07 a hand with other activities and chores around the hut and island. The risk of disease infection to the birds means all people going to the island are subject to stringent quarantine measures.

People must volunteer for two weeks at a time and must be aged over 18. It is important to note that volunteer places, particularly during breeding seasons, are entirely dependent on the birds’ activity. Therefore, trips may have to be cancelled at short notice. This is important to bear in mind if you are based outside of New Zealand. Please also be aware that there is no guarantee that you will actually get to see a kākāpō in the flesh whilst volunteering.

You will need to cover your own transport costs to Invercargill or Te Anau. We organise the transfer to the island, food and accommodation during your stay, and charge $300 to go towards the cost of flights and food (collected on day of travel to the island).

What to do to register your interest

If you have read and understood the above, and if you are prepared to follow the Terms and Conditions, then click here to see what opportunities are available. If volunteers are required, follow the link to register, complete the form, and submit it. One person per registration please.

You will be contacted if there is a place in the roster for you. Please be aware that we do not have places for all those interested.



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