Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project - volunteer ranger

Monitoring kiwi locations from Lake Rotoiti. Photo Gareth Rapley.
Monitoring kiwi locations from Lake Rotoiti

You can help as  a volunteer ranger in the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project (RNRP), a long term ecosystem restoration project based in 5000 hectares of alpine beech forest alongside Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

With its strong focus on ecological science, and in sharing lessons learnt, this volunteer opportunity allows a direct insight into current best-practice species work and an experience working with innovative landscape-scale pest control techniques.

Apply now

We are currently taking applications for January - April 2014.


From 2 September 2013 to 11 April 2014, for a minimum period of two weeks and a maximum of six weeks.

South Island Robin being fitted with bands.
South Island robins are fitted with bands for monitoring 

About the volunteer ranger opportunity

Volunteers with good fitness and backcountry tramping skills are needed to work with DOC rangers. The work is varied and could include everything from predator trapping (for stoats, cats and possums), native species monitoring (kea, robins, whio), wasp and rat poisoning to kiwi health checks. 

Most work is undertaken during regular working hours though there is a possibility of overnight trips outside the RNRP area in some periods.  Volunteers need to be comfortable and experienced with navigating off-track through the forest. The work involves both working with rangers and alone, handling dead animals and putting toxins into bait stations.

See the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project pages for detail on all the work that you might be involved in.


Shared bach-type accommodation is provided free in St Arnaud. You will need to supply your own food.

Gear required

Tramping boots, warm tramping clothing including wet weather gear, personal overnight gear for accommodation (including sleeping bag, pillow). A full gear list is supplied with information pack on acceptance. All safety equipment and any transport required on the job is supplied. 

Fitness/skill level required

Lake Rotoiti from St Arnaud Range.
Lake Rotoiti from St Arnaud Range

'High fitness. You need to be experienced at navigating in the bush, off track, with a map and compass and to have completed multi-day trips in the backcountry or have done similar work.

Please note: This is a limited opportunity and preference is given to those who are studying in the field of ecological science, or who have undertaken other species and trapping work.

What others have said about being a RNRP volunteer ranger

"I had a really fantastic time. I felt useful, included and found it well run. I was really pleased with the amount and variety of work I was able to partake in, and with the level of independence I was given to complete it. I was really pleased with the staff's thoughtfulness and help in enabling me to do some of the 'most wanted' jobs." Emma Bardsley (NZ) RNRP volunteer ranger 2012/13.

"This project was wonderful. I enjoyed the jobs, the work load wasn't too much and everyone was so kind and helpful. I wish that I could have done it for longer." Matt Edwards (USA) RNRP volunteer ranger 2013.

How to register

Fill out the online application form.

The season has been split into two halves for the purposes of the application process.

  • For 2 September – 20 December 2013, applications need to be in by 2 August 2013.
  • For 6 January - 11 April 2014, applications need to be in by 11 October 2013.

View the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project volunteer ranger information sheet (PDF, 150K).


St Arnaud Base
Phone:      +64 3 521 1806
Full office details

Related link

Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project

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Find out more

Learn more


For general volunteering information email or contact your local DOC office