Conservation Volunteering


Biodiversity project Tui Nature Reserve offers a hands-on experience for everyone with an interest in conservation work and staying at beautiful ‘off the beaten track’ places. This programme offers a look into all the project activities involved, plus it gives you a feel of what it is like to live in a very remote area.


The biodiversity project Tui Nature Reserve was started 17 years ago by Brian and Ellen Plaisier and is run now together with two of their three children, Leona and Liam plus the help of many volunteers.

The 42ha reserve is protected by an Open Space covenant (QE II Trust). We have strong links with the Department of Conservation, the Marlborough District Council and other community projects. Reviews by ecologists and botanists show huge progress in the reserve with an outstanding ecological value. This is supported by winning both the Habitat Enhancement and the overall Supreme Award at the Marlborough Environmental Awards 2009.

No skills are required, the programme focuses on the opportunity to experience aspects of predator and weed control, species monitoring, data collection, etc.

The programme can be affected by weather circumstances. For example, the use of monitor tunnels can only be done on a dry night.

Some of the tasks :

Also part of the programme :

The biodiversity project is located on a peninsula at the Outer Pelorus, Marlborough Sounds (S-I), with boat access only. It is opposite from the national bird reserve, Maud Island.

The volunteers who spend time on the reserve are often aware of environmental threats like global warming, etc, and they want to take positive action against these pressures. We like to offer ways to do that with our project. We feel that we can make a change in the world, if we all work together.

This programme is available for everyone, from the students till the mature. We cover all the subjects in a week but you are welcome to stay longer.

There are limited places available for the conservation week. You will be staying at the Falcon Retreat which has amazing views over the Outer Pelorus. Places can be booked by individuals and/or by groups.

As we work in the hills in a remote area, a general good health and reasonable fitness level is required.

The duration of the programme is for one week, from Friday to Friday. Cost for travel from Havelock to the reserve by mail boat, stay at the accommodation, meals and GST are included. Cost for the full week is $350pp.

As we are in a remote area, we don't have landlines, so no internet broadband, we do have cell-phone coverage (mainly Telecom but in some places Vodafone). The usage of water is limited, as we are 180 metres above sea-level. We depend on rain water combined with spring water pumped from the coastal area. We have solar power and gas water heaters. It is essential to bring good walking shoes, some warm/wet weather gear, sun protection, sleeping bag and a torch.

There will be also time to enjoy the beaches and even go for a paddle, on a calm day, to explore the bay. Good swimming beaches too but can be quite cold outside the summer months, so for the brave ones only. There are also a choice of books available.

With boat access-only, transport is organised by mailboat, that leaves every Friday, at 09.15am. The night before departure from Havelock, accommodation can be booked in the local backpackers or motel.

The programme runs yearly, from the 1st of March, till the 30th of November. Outside that period, there could be occasional opportunities, depending on projects.

Please contact us for any enquiries : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  .

We look forward to working together.