7 last minute Christmas gift ideas to help nature these holidays

Department of Conservation —  23/12/2022

Need some last minute inspiration for a gift idea this Christmas?

Why not tap into your conservation values and gift something that will also benefit our beautiful natural world this year. Here’s 7 meaningful gift ideas for that fellow nature lover…

Pōhutukawa is New Zealand’s Christmas tree. Photo: Tahu Taylor-Koolen ©

1. E-gift a native tree – or pick one up from the garden store

You can keep the spade and garden gloves in the shed this year. Trees That Count have made it as easy as possible to plant a native tree with just a few clicks on their website AND for just $10 a tree!

Send the gift that counts this Christmas: treesthatcount.co.nz

Plant a native tree at Whareroa Farm. Photo: DOC │ Crown Copyright

Of course if you want to get your hands dirty and attract birds to your own garden or backyard, check out this helpful list of native plants on our website – most of them can be picked up from your local garden store. Remember to check if they’re native to your local area by using a regional planting guide.

2. Sponsor a trap – or get one for the family backyard

This is the ultimate gift for those wanting to protect our native species in their garden this Christmas. Whether they’re new to backyard trapping or a veteran, there’s something for everyone. You can find a range of traps on the Predator Free Trust website: shop.predatorfreenz.org

If you think they’d prefer to avoid the task of handling dead rodents, you can always sponsor a trap as part of a community or conservation project.

Trap along the Motu Trails, Ōpōtiki. Photo: James Stanbridge │ Crown Copyright

3. Buy an annual pass to a wildlife sanctuary

If you live close to a mainland island, nature sanctuary or wildlife park you could purchase an annual pass to support their conservation work. Sanctuaries and mainland islands provide valuable, predator-free spaces for our native species to survive and thrive.

Lots of their work is done by volunteers so supporting them with a donation or buying an annual pass is a great way to give back. It also provides a great way to reconnect with nature.

Tuatara at Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne Sanctuary. Photo: Bon Scott │ Crown Copyright

4. Plan a trip with a campsite or hut pass

DOC’s Campsite Pass gives you access to our conservation campsites around New Zealand, including bookable and non-bookable campsites (note that some exclusions apply). The pass offers excellent value for your camping adventures. Purchase online or at a DOC visitor centre when planning your next holiday. You can choose a 30-night or 365-night Campsite Pass.

Kohaihai campsite. Photo: Laura Honey │ Crown Copyright

If your gift-ee prefers a more rugged outdoors trip, the Backcountry Hut Pass is a great gift idea. The pass gives access to most serviced and standard huts around Aotearoa with a few exceptions. If they are likely to have multiple hut stays within a 6 or 12 month period, a Backcountry Hut Pass is a great cost-saver.

John Reid Hut at sunset looking out over the ridge. Photo: Janette Asche ©

5. Pick up a beautifully illustrated poster

Check out this beautifully illustrated poster showcasing 29 of New Zealand’s most precious manu/birds. Each species is labelled with its scientific (Latin), te reo Māori and English name, as well as their conservation status, to remind us how precious they are. This poster will helps foster conversations around New Zealand’s native wildlife.

Put one in your shopping cart on the Predator Free Trust website: shop.predatorfreenz.org

6. Make a donation in their name

Why not make a donation in their name to one of their favourite conservation projects or programmes. DOC manages a vast range of conservation programmes, but much of our work is done in partnership with communities and groups who work with us. We have information on how you can donate to them on our website: www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/volunteer/make-a-donation

Sirocco the kākāpō. Photo: Sabine Bernert ©

7. DIY project – make a wētā hotel or lizard shelter

There’s nothing quite like the sense of completion after knocking off a DIY project over summer. So how about choosing an activity that will provides hours of entertainment and will benefit nature. You can download the instructions for building a wētā hotel or lizard shelter on our website. Then simply head to the hardware store to pick up the necessary bits and you’re on your way.

Building a wētā hotel. Photo: DOC │ Crown Copyright

We hope this has provided some inspiration for those last minute Christmas gifts for the nature-nerds in your life. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, happy holiday season and marvellous New Year.