For 5 days the week before I left, I volunteered on an open bird sanctuary island called Tiritiri Matangi. It was a really fun experience with friendly people and I am really glad I did it! The volunteering aspect was quite easy – cleaning and refilling water troughs, cleaning out culverts and drains, washing the automobiles, picking up garbage, cleaning, digging fence holes and washing things. I was expecting to do a lot of tedious work, so the variety was nice.
The island is a maximum of 1 km across and 3 km long, and for 3 days, there were only 8 people on the whole island (1 ranger, 5 researchers, and 2 volunteers). That was really cool and the ranger and other researchers were really nice and friendly. We had meals together, drank wine and had a lot of laughs.
The beach was really nice and I managed to convince myself to swim 2 of the days. It was really cold, but beautiful.
One night I went out on a night walk and I saw 2 teeny blue penguins by the water (1 got scared and jumped into the ocean while the other one tried to camouflage into the hill) and a big fat kiwi ran across the road I was walking on and gave me a kiwi-in-the-headlights stare. One of the researchers, Donar, took us around and showed us some of the work he does with the hihis (stitchbird) and I got to see some chicks that had just been born within 24 hours! They were so small. He also showed us a tuatara (giant lizard), a baby tuatara, a morepork chick and we saw some kokakos. Other birds I saw were fantails, tuis, robins, parakeets, pukekos, takahes.. and so many more, but I can’t remember!
I wouldn’t mind working as a ranger for a while. I would definitely be keen to take a co-op job out of Vancouver. Vancouver is really nice to be a nice city with everything close to mountains and the ocean, but I’d love to live farther out of the city.
Here are some photos that I haven’t posted yet.
– Lauren and me paragliding: