FOMI Working Bees
We run several working bee trips each year to Mana Island when volunteers undertake a variety of tasks to help the restoration programme.
We welcome volunteers to help us in our work. The trips are fun, working with like-minded people in a beautiful environment. You will have an opportunity to explore the island while you are there.
Members of FOMI and other volunteers have planted more than 500,000 trees on Mana Island since restoration work began in the 1980s. The main planting programme is now complete and the trees are maturing well.
What do volunteers do on the working bees?
The work programme varies from year to year. It usually includes routine seasonal work such as gecko monitoring, five-minute bird counts, seed collection, nursery work, weed control, clearing culverts, light welling slower growing canopy trees and special projects. In addition, the DOC ranger always has tasks which assist the management of the island and enhance visitors’ experiences.
Watch this video to get a taste of a weekend working bee.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone can! We love meeting new people who are enthusiastic about conservation work.
For the working bees preference is given to Friends of Mana Island members (there is a minimal cost to join).
FOMI members receive an email inviting them to register interest, so those on the membership list get early notice of upcoming dates. We encourage you to become a member so you receive this email.
Volunteers do need to be reasonably fit as the tasks include physical work. All tools are supplied including gloves and overalls if needed.
Where do volunteers stay?
There is comfortable accommodation in a Lockwood house which sleeps 20 persons in two bunk rooms. The house has electricity, a living/dining area, fully equipped kitchen, and a bathroom with showers and hot water. And tuis which feed on the flax near the deck!
Evening meals are generally shared which makes it easier and gives variety. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed as we wind down after a day in the fresh air. In the evenings you can hear the kiwi call.
Volunteers need to bring suitable clothing, strong footwear, all their own food and sleeping bags. There are mattresses and pillows in the bunkrooms.
How do volunteers get to Mana Island?
Free transport to the island is on a boat arranged by FOMI, with departure from Mana Marina. The trip takes about 20 minutes. We disembark via a gangplank directly on to the stony beach, so your feet stay dry!
The boat leaves at 4pm on Friday afternoon and returns to the mainland on Sunday afternoon. Our work is undertaken on Saturday and Sunday.
The boat skipper needs to verify the trip which is sometimes cancelled on the day if the sea conditions will make it difficult to disembark on the island, so check your emails before you go.
Full details for each working bee are emailed to all volunteers before departure including biosecurity information.
You will be emailed biosecurity information before the trip. Please read this carefully and follow the instructions.
DOC has a useful video showing what to do.
Health and Safety plan for working bees
We take the health and safety of our volunteers seriously. FOMI has a Volunteer Safety Plan for working bees on the island. All tasks are assessed for health and safety before work begins each day.
And working bees in August and October 2018 – to get an idea about what is involved.
We are really proud of the work our volunteers do. Listen to this interview with two of them on RNZ National as part of a series on volunteers in January 2019.