Volunteer Abroad in New Zealand

38 Volunteer Abroad Programs in New Zealand

Global Volunteer Network

Our vision is to support the work of local community organizations in developing countries through the placement of international volunteers. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.

Global Volunteer Network
Pacific Discovery-Summer & Semester Programs Abroad

Pacific Discovery offers inspiring educational travel programs to the most amazing places on earth. Our summer, semester and gap year programs combine cultural immersion, volunteer projects in conservation and community development, sustainable adventure travel, personal and leadership development, and tons of fun. Join us on a life-changing adventure!

GoEco

GoEco features ecologically sensitive volunteering vacations in New Zealand. They are carefully prepared and designed based on years of in-depth reports and real-life practice. Volunteers get the chance to travel while making enormous contributions to the environment, wildlife, and community they visit.

Kaya Responsible Travel

Get involved in vital Environmental Conservation Projects in New Zealand with Kaya Responsible Travel. Placements focus on Environmental Conservation, Natural Habitat Restoration, and Endangered Species Protection. Programs are held in locations such as Auckland, Christchurch, and Punakaiki, lasting two to four weeks. Participants must be over the age of 18.

United Planet

Witness the natural beauty of New Zealand and get involved in volunteer opportunities with United Planet. Available placement areas include agriculture, social work, and environmental projects. Participation is restricted to American and Canadian citizens. Programs last for seven months to a year.

Environment and Conservation Programs in New Zealand

Join GeoVisions as a volunteer focusing on environmental protection in New Zealand. Volunteers have the chance to participate in a wide range of projects and activities, including tree planting, seed collection, and habitat restoration. The program includes meals and accommodation, along with project-related travel. Project durations range from two weeks to eight weeks.

Horse Ranch New Zealand!

Always wanted to know what it would be like to live and work at ranch in New Zealand and horse riding through it's rugged landscape? This is your chance! Fronteering is working together with many horse ranches scattered through scenic New Zealand. Our Ranch programs specialize to integrate our volunteers in to the family. This is means besides helping out on ranch you will take part in thei...

Volunteer in New Zealand with Travellers Worldwide

Travellers Worldwide offers various volunteering programs in New Zealand. Participants can have an unforgettable adventure in the country while engaging in meaningful endeavors. The program helps them gain invaluable professional and personal development.

Travel For Teens

We have crafted our unique programs to engender love for travel, hunger for learning, curiosity about differences, appreciation of similarities across cultures, and an understanding of what it means to be a global citizen. We look forward to traveling with you!

Volunteer Abroad with an i-to-i TEFL Certificate

We provide industry leading TEFL qualifications which are globally recognized. We offer a number of TEFL courses to suit your needs, a classroom TEFL course will qualify you with all the essential skills you need to teach a class overseas!

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WWOOFing on an organic blueberry farm in New Zealand.

How to Volunteer Abroad in New Zealand

Volunteer in New Zealand’s Exquisite Environs

Sir Peter Jackson did not choose to film the Lord of the Rings films in New Zealand simply because it was his homeland. Nowhere else in the world do vertical peaks, lazy sand beaches, temperate rain forests and kelly-green farmland compete for a few square miles of space. Known as a playground for adults, New Zealand is a mecca for outdoor adventure, unique ecosystems, and is known for being one of the world’s friendliest countries. Aotearoa, the native Maori people call it, “land of the long white cloud,” is heaven — or “Godzone” — to citizens and visitors alike. For volunteering abroad, New Zealand can be nothing short of a fantasy land.

Geography & Demographics

With only 4 million inhabitants spread over two islands (the third, Stewart Island, is mostly national park), the inner-city problems that plague many a big metropolis are limited to Auckland and the capital, Wellington. Crime rates are relatively low, and the country’s social welfare system strives to take care of all its citizens, both indigenous and immigrant.

Unlike its neighbor across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s Maori population has acclimated and been accepted into colonial society to a level far surpassing that of the Aboriginals in Australia. While some Maori communities struggle with issues of domestic abuse and violence, substance addiction and cultural identity, most Kiwis (as New Zealanders call themselves) are proud of this indigenous culture. The Maori language is taught in public schools, and their artwork and images are plastered over souvenirs and travel sites.

Volunteering in New Zealand

Though opportunities for volunteering abroad in New Zealand are more limited due to the general prosperity of the country, you can still get involved through:

The nearest landmass is nearly a three-hour flight away, leaving New Zealand in one of the farthest corners of the globe. Its isolation resulted in a highly specified and irreplaceable ecosystem of native plants and birds. No large mammals or predators ever threatened this fragile environment until humans arrived. Now, the country has some of the strongest and most progressive conservation policies, with national laws promoting recycling, composting and wildlife protection. Due to government example, most Kiwis are eco-role models.  

Programs tend to be short term (one day-four weeks), and many incorporate outdoor adventure activities, such as rafting and hiking, into the itinerary. Programs often charge a fee, most of which goes towards the project itself. Accommodation and some meals are typically provided. Volunteers may also contact the national Department of Conservation for free volunteer opportunities in New Zealand through government conservation programs.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a global collective of registered organic farmers seeking volunteers interested in the all-natural farming process. In New Zealand, many small organic farms grow fruit, vegetables and wine grapes. Community support for local produce makes this an experience in both agriculture and rural life. Workers are called WWOOFers, and the work is — you guessed it — WWOOFing. Volunteers are encouraged to apply directly through the WWOOF organization; some organizations (such as unregistered farms, hostels and small businesses) have been known to recruit farm volunteers in New Zealand without meeting the standards set by WWOOF.

Opportunities can be set for preferred lengths of time, with one week being the typical minimum. WWOOFers can stay as long as the agreed-upon arrangement between volunteer and farmer. Accommodation, some meals, and cooking ingredients are provided in exchange for a limited amount of manual labor.

Most of New Zealand’s immigrants arrive from Asia and the island countries of Polynesia, such as Tonga and Samoa. Especially in Auckland, which holds over one-fourth of New Zealand’s population, these minority populations face larger challenges of cultural adjustment, poverty, and substance abuse. International volunteers are also able, in limited capacity, to work with rural Maori communities, persons with disabilities, and troubled youths. Several programs offer teaching and leadership opportunities with minority populations. These tend to be short term (1-3 weeks) and charge a fee, most of which goes towards the project itself. Accommodation and some meals may be provided.

Most international programs do not place volunteers in this field; interested candidates can research available programs in advance of traveling to the city. Opportunities arranged directly through local organizations are typically free, but may require an international volunteer to live in the city, at their own expense.

While the country has some of the toughest border protection policies — guarding it from invasive species, plants, and other biological concerns — most people wishing to volunteer abroad in New Zealand may enter and stay for a limited period of time without a visa. If you plan to stay for a longer term, your volunteer program may arrange the appropriate visa for you. Or, if you are not volunteering in New Zealand through a pre-arranged international program, contact Immigration New Zealand for visa information relevant to your plans.

Kelli Mutchler

Kelli Mutchler left a small, Midwestern American town to prove that Yanks can, and do, chose alternative lifestyles. On the road for six years now, Kelli has tried news reporting and waitressing, bungee jumping, and English teaching. After working with Burmese female refugees in Thailand, she decided to pursue a MA in Global Development and is, naturally, getting distracted along the road. Opportunities and scenes for international travel are encouraged on Kelli’s blog.