For information on upcoming working weekends, please phone or email Sandra Jones (09 817 2788, [email protected]). The Trust typically runs four or five per year, in spring and autumn.

Our Working Weekends run from first thing Saturday morning to late-afternoon on Sunday and combine voluntary work with recreational activities. They are a perfect opportunity for those who are seriously interested in the Island and wish to do some work towards its management.

These weekends are not part of a DOC-funded programme. They are arranged and led by trustees, and provide a rare opportunity to work and stay overnight in the bunkhouse on the island.

The main expense is the boat charter (leaving from Sandspit), plus incidentals and some DOC fees.

Because the Department of Conservation issues permits for a limited number of visitors to Hauturu each year, we are limited to around nine or ten people each weekend (including the leader). The Trust’s policy is to give preference to its Supporters. If there are still vacancies available after selection date, applications from non-supporters may be considered, conditional on their paying a subscription to the Trust to become a recognised Supporter.

All participants need to be reasonably fit and agile and prepared to cope, if necessary, with a wet and difficult landing over large and slippery boulders. We will do a variety of jobs for the rangers and there will be time for walking, swimming and enjoying the island's unique flora and fauna.

flocks of kereru

 Working Weekend march 2019

For the March 2019 Working weekend, trip leader and Trustee David Stone asked all the participants to provide a few reflections.

“The cloud over Hauturu as we approached spoke of the mystery that the island has always held for me. On landing the voluminous bird song was an indicator of who ruled this place. Birds darted everywhere, sometimes so close that we needed to duck or in the case of a certain kaka, have a shoulder ready to be used as a landing pad.

I’m a kiwi who has never seen a kiwi in the wild – until I nearly stepped on one on Saturday night. That was just after coming upon a giant tuatara lazing on the path, and before a rustle in the undergrowth – there was a kakapo. The magic continued throughout the weekend aided by the wonderful ranger Richard, his son Liam and fellow ranger Chippie who so generously shared their knowledge of this treasure of an island.” Kate Browne

“A step back in time that reminds us of New Zealand’s rich ecological history, a living museum of creatures that have existed far longer than the human experience, and a reminder of what New Zealand was and what parts of New Zealand could be through good conservation.” Daniel Bidwell

“I want to say thanks to all the people that are looking after Hauturu – such a special place in New Zealand and with no doubt a unique little treasure island in the world. It has only been one week since we were there and already it feels like it was a dream or being in a fairytale. I was joking with my weekendvolunteering mates saying that we felt like going to the island from Jurassic Park. Maybe it was not too inaccurate once you meet Georgina and Rudolf and their other tuatara friends!

Being able to see places like this remind me why I came to NZ and why I got ‘stuck’ in this amazing country. Thank you to all for giving me the opportunity to share one weekend with you in that awesome place in great company.” Antonio José Vera Palazón

“What a magical weekend! A lot of insight, hard work and love has gone into returning Hauturu to the glorious state that the whole of New Zealand once was. I came away inspired to look at what I can do to help bring the dawn chorus back to our mainland forests.” Anna Radford

“The water was glassy, the sun out, the bird chorus in full force. Being a consultant ecologist on the mainland I see first hand the constant battle our native wildlife is up against with pests, habitat destruction and exotic fauna and flora competition.

A long-tailed bat flying around while we were eating dinner, pacific geckos relaxing on flax leaves, a deafening dawn chorus... I was pinching myself on multiple occasions! I take my hat off to the trustees, DOC and all the supporters of Hauturu. Hauturu shows what is really possible, giving me the inspiration to continue this uphill battle!” Lucy Underwood

“I feel like I have been constantly reflecting on the weekend that was, the island certainly has a way of getting under your skin. Many people have asked us, ‘So how was it?’ And even though I have answered I feel like I have not, and really cannot, do the island justice in words. To convey to others what an amazing and special place Hauturu is difficult. I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew there would be many birds – my family joked about me arriving amongst flocks of kereru – but nothing prepared me for the deafening chorus of birdsong that hits you when you set foot on the island. The whole place was full of ‘wow’ moments.

What the dedicated team of people who look after this amazing place do is incredible, they are preserving and maintaining a small piece of history, our New Zealand history. The jaw-dropping two days I spent at Hauturu has allowed me to speak with passion and enthusiasm about preserving our native wildlife to my colleagues, friends and students. Thank you to all who made this so memorable, and yes, there were flocks of kereru!” Janelle Underwood

“In many ways it was sobering – on the mainland, we are not used to hearing the full scale of native birdsong. To hear the chorus in full flight all day was special. Added to that, the visual feast from the kauri to kiwi, the kereru and kokako – made for spectacular scenery. A surprise sighting of a kakapo was a highlight, and with the wonderful work by DOC in the South Island, hopefully not such a rarity in the future.

The unsung heroes are the rangers, Richard and Chippy (not to mention Liam, who speared our kingfish for the evening dinner) who work tirelessly with the Trust and many volunteers to preserve this paradise and show us what, with a bit of education and hard work, we could one day achieve in parts of the mainland.” Josh Wolfe