What’s up DOC? June 2020

Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai

Mountain biker, Heaphy Track.

Image: Jono Baddiley | Creative Commons

Alert Level 1 and the great outdoors

New Zealand at Alert Level 1 means you can now freely head out on your next outdoors adventure. Our DOC facilities are fully open – including visitor centres, huts, campgrounds and toilets.

But we need to do it safely and follow the Government’s “Golden Rules for Everyone at Alert Level 1” to keep ourselves and communities healthy and safe. If you’re sick, stay home. We encourage you to keep a record of where you’re visiting for contact tracing if there are future COVID-19 cases.

We’re also moving into the winter season so it’s important to plan, prepare and follow safety advice.

Find out more

Budget 2020 overview

Budget 2020 provides funding to DOC in three parts: nature based jobs as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Economic Reset and Recovery package, operating funding to invest in staff and Treaty Partner engagement and investment in Fiordland infrastructure.

Read an overview of the budget

People planting.

Image: Richard Rossiter | DOC

New Sounds of Science podcast episode

Kelly Frogley ‘Plant Pro’ talks to Erica Wilkinson, DOC Threatened Species Ambassador, about the weird and wonderful world of non-vascular plants. These are plants without a vein system for moving nutrients and water.

Learn about her work with non-vascular plants, green-blindness and the importance of looking down

Kelly Frogley in Fiordland.

Image: DOC


Great Walks 2020/21 season bookings opening

This summer presents a great opportunity for New Zealanders to get out into nature with bookings on Great Walks opening 9-11 June.

Minister Eugenie Sage shares opening details and differential pricing trial results

Te Pukatea Bay.

Image: Image: Darryl Wilson | ©

How to: backyard camping edition

Backyard camping is another of our favourite ways to enjoy nature at home. It’s good for wellbeing, for adventure, and for a bit of a laugh as well.

So dig out that camping gear and go on a little at-home adventure

Backyard campsite.

Image: Ruth McKie | DOC

Nature backgrounds for your virtual calls

Let nature in with a set of backgrounds for your virtual calls. Who doesn’t want a kākāpō joining their online meetings and why not bring the Milford into your Zoom calls?

Choose from a variety of native species or Great Walk backgrounds to bring into this week’s calls.


Image: Jake Osborne | DOC 

Get involved

Ways to help make NZ Predator Free from your backyard

Contributing to a predator free New Zealand from home means working together with your community to welcome our native wildlife.

Predator Free 2050 is a huge ambitious goal, but with a few simple actions, you can bring nature back to your backyard

Two kākā resting on a branch.

Image: Russell Street

Conservation with iNaturalist

Fiona, Suliana and Clayton introduce us to iNaturalist as a way to let nature in and learn what those critters, plants, weeds or organisms are around you.

This data can be used by scientists to understand where our conservation threats or taonga species are in NZ

Bug spotting.

Image: Clayson Howell | DOC

The hihi volunteer’s guide to Tiritiri Matangi Island

So you want to be a hihi volunteer on Tiritiri Matangi Island? Well you’ve come to the right place – volunteer Leani shares her guide on all you need to know

Grab your sunscreen, hiking boots and binoculars, and let’s get going.


Image: Janice McKenna | ©

Our work

Orange-fronted parakeet/ kākāriki karaka release

Recently 18 of Aotearoa’s rarest forest bird, the orange-fronted parakeet/kākāriki karaka, were flown from Christchurch for release into the Canterbury high country as part of the species recovery programme. 

Sam Rowland from the Threatened Species Ambassador Team shares her experience with us

Orange-fronted parakeet/ kākāriki karaka.

Image: Andrew Legault

New brooder helping boost kakī numbers

The latest kakī count is in and it shows a 31% increase in kakī numbers with 169 of these endangered black stilt now in the wild. Many organisations are working together to boost their numbers.

Watch this video showing the mahi happening to look after chicks in the brooder

kakī brooder video.

Video: ©

Lockdown on the islands

When you consider that living on an island is a form of isolation from the mainland, did lockdown look and feel any different to normal life?

We asked our dedicated rangers that live on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park/Ko te Pātaka kai o Tīkapa Moana to share their experiences during Alert Levels 3 & 4

Family walks.

Image: Sarah Dwyer


Life of Py

My name is Py and I’m a Pycroft’s petrel, a small seabird. I live on pest-free Motuora Island, in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. 

I’m pretty lucky to be able to share my short life-story with you, as I’ve only been around since early December 2019 (I was a bit of an egg back then!). 

Baby Py.

Image: Vonny Sprey

Lizards in the heartland

New Zealand has more than 110 species of lizard, both geckos and skinks, and none of them are found anywhere else in the world.

It’s no wonder Otago-based lizard enthusiasts Grant Norbury and Carey Knox have dedicated their lives to saving our dryland species

Jewelled gecko.

Image: Carey Knox

Kororā getting a helping hand with GIS

Recently we talked to volunteer Serge Peeters who is putting his professional skills and time to good use protecting one of New Zealand’s most iconic bird species, the little blue penguin/kororā.

Learn more about the work of volunteers at New Zealand GIS in Conservation

Male kororā (little blue penguin) fledgling.

Image: Mike Rumble


Image: Ian Sara

Photo of the month

Spotted recently – a pod of 60 dolphins swimming upstream in the Piako River. Dolphins entering rivers in this way isn’t common but the river flows into the Firth of Thames so it’s thought that they were chasing fish.

Ian Sara from Waikato Regional Council was lucky enough to capture this beautiful scene on the Hauraki Plains.

The pod was estimated to be made up of 60 common or bottlenose dolphins swimming upstream “at great pace”.

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