There are several things that New Zealand does really well: playing rugby, making movies about hobbits, and providing sweet as volunteer opportunities. If you have been dreaming of traveling to Aotearoa, but want to go beyond the well-traveled tourist route, then volunteer programs in Auckland will be the perfect fit for you. It is the ideal location for volunteering, being well-connected to the rest of the country as well as the rest of the world. It is a vibrant, exciting city, combining the best of New Zealand’s urban and rural life: all it’s missing is you.
Volunteer Work in Auckland
Choosing the right volunteer work in Auckland comes down to your personal interests, and potentially your career goals. While you should definitely choose something you think you will enjoy, keep in mind as well what kind of experience you will gain and how this will benefit you in future endeavors.
Conservation is the name of the game in Auckland. Being outdoorsy types, Aucklanders take the preservation of their native flora and fauna seriously. There is always a demand for volunteers willing to muck in and get their gumboots dirty in conservation projects. Whether it’s trying to keep pests under control, planting native kauri trees, or surveying birdlife, your efforts will be appreciated.
Eco-Tourism is another field that continues to flourish. Tourism is a huge industry in New Zealand, and trying to manage the tourist industry while upholding eco-friendly values is an area of constant development.
Youth Development is a highly rewarding area to get involved in for socially-minded volunteers. Working with youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who who suffer disabilities, is hugely rewarding for volunteers looking at pursuing social work. In Auckland’s urban environment, there are several great programs aiding vulnerable youth.
Sports volunteering is another type of placement that is unique and fun. Sports play a big role in Auckland, with most children and teens practicing at least one sport. Volunteering to assist in teaching a sport can be great practice for anyone aspiring to teach or work with children.
Life in Auckland
There are plenty of ways for you to balance out their hard volunteer work in Auckland with play. As an international city, there are people from all around the world who call this city their home. Along with restaurants boasting an impressive array of international cuisines, there is a thriving cafe culture in Auckland. Kiwis take their flat whites seriously, and if you’re not careful you’ll pick up a caffeine habit as well.
On the weekends there are boutique food markets, lively sports matches, and plenty of day trips available. Kitesurf, bungy jump, jet ski, mountain climb: there are endless ways to entertain yourself in the great outdoors in Auckland. Getting involved in a sport is a great way to get to know the local community better: sport is a universal language and one Kiwis are fluent in. Bonus points if you can hold a conversation about the latest All Blacks match.
Each neighborhood of Auckland has something that makes it unique. Ponsonby is where the rich kids come to play after dark, and where yoga mums eat vegan cheesecake during the day. K road is where you can find vintage clothing stores and gay bars in equal numbers, Browns Bay is a laid-back beach getaway, and Mount Eden is all about hipster cool where you can sip tea in bookshops before hiking up the mini-mountain for panoramic views of the city.
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodation is typically included in the program fees for volunteer programs in Auckland. The most likely scenario is you plus a bunch of other awesome like-minded world travelers living together in dormitories or shared housing. Some programs will offer a homestay option for volunteers, which will be the best way for you to get a crash course in Kiwi culture and slang.
While doing volunteer work in Auckland, you have several options when it comes to visas. Option one is to enter the country on a visitor visa. All you need to apply for this visa is proof of enough funds to support you throughout the duration of your stay, and a return flight ticket. Depending on your country of origin, you can stay for up to nine months on a visitor visa, which is usually enough time to complete your volunteer placement. If you plan on turning your volunteering into something a little more permanent, nationals from certain countries can also apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which grants you 12 months in New Zealand. With this visa you will have the right to look for paid work after your volunteer program, or even enrol in a course of study for up to six months. To find out more, and decide which option is best for you, check out the GoAbroad Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
As a volunteer in Auckland you will get to see and do some inspiring stuff. Volunteering is an opportunity to get involved in the good work individuals are doing in the world, and to effect change. On top of that, it’s a great chance to actually get to know some locals. Any seasoned traveler will tell you that the human connections you make, and experiences you share with new friends, are just as memorable as those breath-taking landscapes in the South Island.
You will also get to enjoy a high quality of life. As the largest city in the country, Auckland has everything you will need for a comfortable stay. Plus it is exceptionally safe, as New Zealand is one of the most peaceful and least corrupt nations in the world. Before or after your volunteer stint, you can travel around both the North and South Islands securely and happily (and your mom won’t have to worry about you at all).
It’s not all beers and bros though. Kiwis are known for their work hard play hard approach to life, so they will expect volunteers to maintain a respectable work ethic as well. Put your best foot forward and give it your all.
There’s no I in team but there is a U in volunteer! Follow your feet to the land down under (nope, not Australia, the other one) and take up a life-changing experience while volunteering in Auckland.