Matiu/Somes Volunteers

A massive amount of work is needed to maintain Matiu/Somes Island as an inhabitable island for fauna, its historic facilities, and as a place the thousands of visitors each year can enjoy. The amount of work required to ensure a reasonable level of maintenance is huge, as well as being expensive because of the restricted access by sea.

The two Matiu/Somes DOC Rangers resident on Matiu/Somes do a wonderful job overseeing the constant maintenance programme, as well as making time to carry out more difficult and less obvious and unattractive maintenance activities like cleaning out composting toilets, lifting and moving heavy material, digging trenches, laying track materials, repairing damaged items, mowing the grass – the list is long!

On top of that wide-ranging commitment there is the need to meet EVERY boat that arrives and departs each day plus conduct biosecurity checks with arriving visitors and brief them on the island and its history.

As the daily workload on Matiu/Somes in particular varies from day to day it’s generally more than full-on for the DOC Rangers. They cope with their massive workload through a series of VOLUNTEER activities.


Summer Volunteers

From October to March each year we offer a volunteer the opportunity to assist DOC over the busy summer period. You must be able to commit to a minimum one month stay. On the island you will be involved in many tasks, including welcoming of visitors, undertaking biosecurity checks and helping out with our regular work program.  Before applying, please consider how you will manage with the isolation of island living. This is a Monday to Friday position working 8 hours a day.  Volunteer applicants must be fit, have an interest in natural and/or historic heritage, and be confident dealing with members of the public.

Contact: Matiu/Somes DOC Rangers


Volunteer Rangers

Each weekend and on public holidays, volunteer rangers from the Eastbourne Forest Rangers (EFR) will assist DOC staff with managing visitors to the island. EFRs also take on a guiding role for visitors who have paid for a guided walk around the island during the week and on weekends.

Volunteer tasks include:

  • Meeting the ferries and supervising the biosecurity checks.
  • Briefing visitors on the rules and outlining the history and wildlife of the island.
  • Between ferry arrivals and departures, the volunteer rangers roam the island, helping visitors and enhancing the enjoyment of their visit.
  • Running guided tours for pre-booked and casual groups.

Volunteers must be reasonably fit and should have an interest in natural and/or historic heritage. They must be confident dealing with members of the public.

Contact: Eastbourne Forest Rangers
Email: matiuguiding@gmail.com

Booking an EFR Guide: DOC Wellington Visitor Centre


Lending a Hand

We are always looking for people who can get a group of 2 to 15 people together and book a day for volunteer work on the island. The work usually involves track maintenance, weeding, painting and beach cleaning, but could be just about anything that needs to be done!

Dates and duration are flexible to suit the group - from 2 hours to a whole weekend of lending a hand. The only requirement is enthusiasm!

Contact: DOC Volunteer Form for Matiu/Somes


Historic Heroes

Matiu/Somes Island has a diverse history and a number of historic buildings. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who have an interest in historic heritage to join this group. People with trade skills and general labourers are needed.

Historic Hero volunteers can choose to:

  • Make a long-term commitment to adopting and caring for one of our historic buildings.
  • Commit to 2 or 3 day/weekend trips a year for annual checks, minor maintenance, and generally help with larger projects managed by DOC.

Put your name down and we will call you if we need extra hands for our historic projects.

Contact: DOC Volunteer Form for Matiu/Somes

Water Rangers

Regular recreational users of Wellington Harbour help us protect the three Harbour Islands - Matiu/Somes, Makaro/Ward, and Mokopuna.  These volunteers help us by spreading the word on where visitors can land on these islands. They also pitch in and help with beach clean-ups and other costal activities.

Become an extra set of eyes for the Rangers and know who to contact when needed.

Contact: DOC Volunteer Form for Matiu/Somes


Groups of up to 10 people come to the island 5 weekends a year to remove Karo and other weeds. This is a social group that enjoys their Saturday night BBQ on the island. You can come to as many or as few of the weekends that suit you. Volunteers must be very fit and able to work on steep slippery terrain. 

Contact: Dave Cox
Email: dave08.cox@gmail.com


Plant Nursery Work

The Lower Hutt branch of Forest & Bird New Zealand (F&B) has a long history with replanting native vegetation on the island. Today they manage the islands plant nursery and help with planting when the need arises. F&B volunteers make regular trips on Mondays.

Contact: F&B Lower Hutt
Email: lowerhutt.branch@forestandbird.org.nz  


Tree Releasing

Volunteers take on a small area of the island and care for special trees and other plants in that area. This is a long term commitment requiring 2 or 3 day-trips to the island each year at times that suit the volunteer.

Volunteers must be fit and able to work on rough terrain in the bush. Some plant identification skills are required.

Contact: DOC Volunteer Form for Matiu/Somes

Annual June Planting

For 5 consecutive days in June each year, volunteers help with supplementary planting of native vegetation in specific locations around the island. Great care needs to be taken with each plant to ensure the highest survival rates.

We accept up to 10 people for this volunteer opportunity. They must be very fit and able to work on steep and sometimes slippery terrain.

Contact: DOC Volunteer Form for Matiu/Somes


If you would like more information about these valuable volunteer activities, please contact the Matiu/Somes DOC Rangers:

Phone: +64 4 568 6555
Email: matiusomes@doc.govt.nz

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