Archives For volunteers

17-23 June is Volunteer Awareness Week, so it’s a great time to acknowledge the invaluable contribution volunteers make to conservation in New Zealand.

Today we profile an amazing young volunteer, Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz), who has been helping out with conservation since he was “knee high to a grass hopper”…

Volunteer Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz)

Youth Week was launched in Gisborne on 19 May with the 2012 Youth Awards for Volunteering.

Tributes were paid to 24 young leaders who give their time and energy freely. Gisborne Volunteer Centre manager Jenny Greaves said the teenagers, through volunteering, displayed values that contributed to the well-being of the community.

Antz (far left) with Youth Volunteer Award 2012 recipients

Young-at-heart television personality Te Hamua Nikora presented the awards with Mayor Meng Foon to deserving recipients at the “well to do” Quality Hotel Emerald.

Acknowledged within this prestigious group was DOC and Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust (WECT) volunteer Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz).

Antz has been helping out with conservation since he was “knee high to a grass hopper!” says nominator and Community Relations Ranger Trudi Ngawhare.

A handful of weka

Antz has assisted many times with kiwi and weka listening and kiwi monitoring which occur usually during late hours. He has traversed steep, rocky and damp terrain to check stoat trap lines, transmit and process weka, place out Sentinel possum traps, monitor residual trap catch possum lines, and service cat and stoat traps.

Kiwi monitoring

He has helped with feeding kiwi chicks and has attended tree plantings with the Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust (WECT) in the Motu Kiwi Enclosure. He has spent time with DOC scrub barring at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, and has helped with track maintenance at Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve, as well as giving up a week during the Christmas holidays to help with track maintenance on Moutohora (Whale Island) in Whakatane. 

Trapping ferrets

Even though Antz is only 16, acknowledgement for this long time volunteer is long overdue.

Antz with Mayor Meng Foon

Nga mihi kia a koe Antz!

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Volunteer, join or start a project

17-23 June is Volunteer Awareness Week

This has got to be the best office in the world!!!!

The sunrise view of South East Bay from my bunk

I’ve just spent a week with 14 other staff, four volunteers and two owners on Tuhua (Mayor) Island.  Whilst the view of the sunrise from my bunk each morning was a great way to start each day, it was certainly no holiday. 

Each day we loaded our gear and set off on a range of tasks all over the island, returning at the end of day to eat and fall into bed, exhausted but excited to have made a dent in the long list of jobs we had to complete.

Our hard work was rewarded by regular sightings of rare birds, plants, lizards and marine mammals.  Here are just a few of the locals that we saw.

We’ve been working in partnership with the owners (Tuhua Trust Board) for many years to restore the pest-free island and now we’re helping them to make it more accessible for people to enjoy.

I spent three days with our botanist and weed specialists spraying and searching for weeds all over the island, including one day of wading through a wetland, pushing through head-high walls of vegetation in search of the invasive royal fern.  

Spray unit loaded and off to spray weeds

The wetland we waded through










My last day was spent helping to fix the floor of the caretakers cottage and shifting firewood.

Eveyone’s skills and expertise were used around the island – upgrading buildings, tracks, water supply, removing massive fallen pohutukawa logs from where they had fallen on top of buildings, cleaning up the ammentity areas, killing weeds, patrolling the Marine Reserve, searching for springs in preparation for our orange-front parakeet transfer coming up in December and checking on the pateke (brown teal) and kiwi that have been released on the island.

Rope & chainsaw skills got put to the test

Dave checked out a cliffside kiwi nest

Chris and John fixed the floor

Tawara cleared the track

Dean & Alastair built a huge firewood pile

As inviting as the water looked, I only managed one swim – the cool water and 2m shark we saw swimming in the bay on our first evening were a little off-putting.  But when I did get wet, I took mask & snorkel with me and got to see some beautiful kelp beds, big angel fish and incredibly glossy obsidian.

Click here to find out how you could visit Tuhua – Tauranga’s piece of paradise.