Volunteer Sarah Congdon inside the aviary carrying out observation of the whio
Image: | DOC


Applications have closed for the 2017/18 season.


All positions have been filled for the 2017/18 season.


Take your learning to the next level through hands on experience with one of New Zealand’s endangered species - the whio. 

The whio crèche, which opened December 2014, is a hardening facility or “bootcamp” for young whio bred in captivity. Before they are released into the wild they spend time in the purpose built rapids of the aviary, learning to feed and swim in fast flowing water.

The whio are the latest addition to the Tongariro National Trout Centre, joining the freshwater aquarium, hatchery, museum and education centre in celebrating our clean freshwater and its values.

“Working with a native and endangered species is so special, let alone being alongside the Tongariro River, educating the public and even having the chance to work in the field – what’s not to love!”

— Sarah Congdon


As a volunteer at the crèche, you'll usually work five days a week for a minimum of four hours a day.

Your duties will include:

  • cleaning out the enclosure daily
  • monitoring bird health
  • liaison with volunteers and staff in the visitor centre
  • engaging with visitors to the crèche

You will also have the opportunity to work with whio in the wild, gaining important field skills and seeing firsthand the importance of the hardening facility to the recovery of the species.

This volunteer position would be ideal for candidates who are seeking opportunities to gain experience in conservation, threatened species management and/or captive management, especially new graduates.  However, no previous experience is required to undertake this work.

You will need a current New Zealand driving licence.


The crèche is at the Tongariro National Trout Centre, 4 km south of the township of Turangi, on State Highway 1, on the banks of the Tongariro River.

What we'll provide

  • Training: DOC will provide one week training and orientation prior to starting.
  • Accommodation: Basic, shared accommodation in the Turangi township or on-site for New Zealand residents or those with a valid New Zealand work visa.
  • Food: DOC will offer a food allowance for work days for New Zealand residents or those with a valid New Zealand work visa.
  • Clothing: DOC and the Trout Centre will provide uniform shirts and wet weather gear.

What to bring

  • Sturdy working clothes.
  • Consider tramping gear for hot and cold conditions if you also want to get out into the Tongariro National Park while you're here.

How to apply

Applications have closed for the 2017/18 season.

Overseas applicants

No special visa is needed for overseas applicants to volunteer for the Department of Conservation, however to receive accommodation and food allowances you must have a valid work visa. A high level of English is needed as much of the role requires talking to members of the public.


Rebecca O’Sullivan, Ranger (Community), Turangi
Phone: +64 27 542 8509
Email: rosullivan@doc.govt.nz

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