DOC’s (Department of Conservation) vision is for New Zealand to be the greatest living space on Earth – Kāore he wāhi i tua atu i a Aotearoa, hei wahi noho i te ao. This vision means ensuring that New Zealanders gain a wide range of benefits from healthy functioning ecosystems, recreation opportunities, and through living DOC’s history.

To do this, DOC organise their work around five outcomes:

  • the diversity of our natural heritage is maintained and restored
  • our history is protected and brought to life
  • more people participate in recreation
  • more people engage with conservation and value its benefits
  • conservation gains from more business partnerships

The BLAKE DOC Ambassador programme started in January 2015 and provides an annual opportunity for young scientists and conservationists to work on conservation projects in New Zealand.

DOC partners with other organisations to manage New Zealand’s conservation through habitat protection and restoration programmes, biodiversity inventory and monitoring research projects.

The 2023/24 programme allows four young New Zealanders to be part of two BLAKE DOC Ambassador conservation programmes: The Takahē Feedout Project in Burwood, and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust in Dunedin and the Catlins.

Further information about the 2022/23 programmes are oulined below.

BLAKE DOC Ambassador Programmes – 2023/2024

2BLAKE DOC Ambassador – Takahē winter trap re-bait, Burwood
2 positions available
15 – 26 April 2024 – (2 weeks)

The Burwood Takahē Breeding Centre was purpose built in 1985 as an incubation and hand rearing facility and is famous for historically using puppets and models to rear takahē chicks. An 80-hectare predator-free enclosure was built in the adjacent Burwood Bush (Red Tussock) Scientific Reserve to house juvenile birds as well as a few resident breeding pairs.

In the wild takahē territories can vary from 5 to 60 hectares dependent on the quality of the habitat and the time of year. To protect the vegetation in the pens and to ensure sufficient nutritious food is available, takahē are fed special takahē pellets.

The BLAKE Ambassadors will spend a week focused on assisting DOC’s supplementary feeding programme, rebaiting traps, and infrastructure work such as track cutting or marking.

Watch a video of 2019 BLAKE NIWA Ambassadors, Lachie Scarsbrook and Anna Clark HERE.

BLAKE DOC Ambassador – Marine Species
1 positions available
4 – 29 March 2024, Dunedin and the Catlins

The role will work alongside Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers with a focus on hoiho/ yellow-eyed penguin monitoring and management. There may be opportunities to work alongside other organisations to deliver hoiho conservation or to contribute to other species programmes including pakake/ NZ Sea lions.

The focus of the hoiho program throughout March is to monitor and protect moulting penguins. You will require a high level of fitness and a willingness to roll your sleeves up and search penguins in difficult coastal terrain amongst thick vegetation. There is an expectation to work in all weather conditions. Other tasks will include predator control, habitat management and advocacy at wildlife hotspots and within the community.

The role will be based in Dunedin with most work taking place on the Otago Peninsula. However, there will be a chance to experience the same work in the Catlins as daytrips or overnight trips.