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Source: Auckland Council

More and more people are looking for ways to make a difference and care for our planet, and Auckland’s community groups and volunteers play an important role in protecting and preserving our environment and leading initiatives to help reduce our carbon footprint. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, add to your resume and have fun.

Auckland Council partners with many groups and organisations across Tāmaki Makaurau that offer volunteer opportunities to support climate change action. Here’s some ideas from the Auckland Council Live Lightly team on how you can get involved:

EcoMatters offers regular volunteering opportunities across Auckland; help grow thousands of native plants for local restoration and community projects, join their zero waste team initiatives, link up with an enthusiastic team keeping our local streams beautiful or assist with local organic gardening projects. Subscribe to their newsletter or follow them on Facebook group for details on upcoming volunteer sessions.

Tāmaki WRAP educates local communities on how to reduce waste and support other groups and organisations’ waste reduction kaupapa. Tāmaki WRAP’s United Sustainable Sisters project aims to create awareness and increase access to sustainable menstrual products to reduce barriers and the amount of waste sent to landfill. Submit your interest in joining their projects here.

The Kaipātiki Project offers volunteering opportunities to restore native plants, birds, insects and fish in our urban environment. From bush restoration, weeding and trapping to growing and planting, they offer the chance to get involved in both community projects and regular volunteering sessions. Keep an eye out for the latest opportunities via the Kaipātiki Project Facebook page. This is a great opportunity to get outdoors, give back to your community and ignite a love for nature in your whānau.

Become a volunteer for Friends of the Whau Inc. to support the ecological restoration of the Whau River catchment. They offer opportunities to assist with improving the health of the Whau River and its tributaries through weed eradication and replacement with natives plus on-going maintenance.

Friends of Oakley Creek Te Auaunga offers a range of volunteer opportunities to support their work ensuring the stream and its surrounds are protected for future generations and restored to their full ecological potential. Take part in community tree planting, working bees, the annual garden bird survey and more.  

Conservation Volunteers NZ welcomes people with a love of the outdoors and an interest in the environment to get involved. They run single and multiple day volunteering sessions in a range of activities that include tree planting (winter only in most locations), constructing walking trails, seed collection, weed control, conservation fencing and predator control.

Volunteer at the Organic Market Garden (OMG) on Symonds Street and learn about regenerative farming through a working urban farm. Or if you’d like to help out in your local community garden, check out this list from Gardens4Health to find the one closest to you.

You can also find fun volunteering opportunities at your local Bike Hub, community recycling centre or second-hand store. Repairing and reusing rather than buying new can have a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint.

Auckland Council also offers a wide range of environmental volunteering opportunities. With planting season coming up, it’s a great time of year to volunteer for Auckland Parks planting events or take part in other activities, such as ranger-guided walks. Or you may like to learn more about composting and gardening or apply for a gardening plot.  Find out about upcoming volunteering opportunities near you by following Auckland Parks and Live Lightly on Facebook. 

If you live in the Hibiscus and Bays, Albert-Eden or Puketāpapa local board areas you could join an EcoNeighbourhood group to help make a difference with like-minded neighbours (or create your own group). It’s an opportunity to learn new ways to live, grow food, improve your home’s energy efficiency, set up pest control, minimise waste, harvest rainwater or compost. To find out more about community groups in your local area or how to get funding to support a community initiative check out Live Lightly online.

So, grab your friends or whānau and get involved in a local climate action volunteering project. As projects are starting up again, now is a great time to contact an organisation and let them know you’re interested. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, protect and preserve your local environment and build a more resilient future.