Motivations and Attitudes of New Zealand Conservation Volunteers

Author: Heimann, Aaron Michael

Date: 2019

Publisher: University of Otago

Type: Thesis

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University of Otago


Conservation in New Zealand is a massive enterprise, combining government, public, and private efforts. Volunteers work across these sectors to restore the unique flora and fauna of this island archipelago. In light of ambitious conservation goals, such as Predator Free 2050, it is important to take stock of the attitudes and motivations of volunteers. They are the ‘boots on the ground’ engaged in conservation activities such as habitat restoration. These volunteers are also direct links to the communities in which they live, and can be conduits through which to engage more New Zealanders. New Zealand conservation volunteers were surveyed in 2018 to gauge their motivations to volunteer, their attitudes toward conservation, and to gather demographic information to get a snapshot of who is volunteering. New Zealand conservation volunteers were found to have similar demographic characteristics and motivations to volunteer as volunteers in other parts of the world. Volunteers who engaged in mammalian predator control were just as concerned with the welfare of the target species as those who did not participate in predator control. Time was found to be the most important factor for whether existing volunteers chose to volunteer more, making volunteer role identity a more likely motivator to begin volunteering for conservation than environmental values. Conservation volunteers overwhelmingly agree with the stated goals of Predator Free 2050 and are in favour of current and potential future methods of pest control. They are, however, significantly less confident in achieving the goals laid out by Predator Free 2050. I hope that the results of this exploratory research are useful in better understanding the volunteers engaged in New Zealand’s conservation.

Subjects: Conservation, New Zealand, Volunteer, Motivation, Attitude, Predator Free 2050

Citation: ["Heimann, A. M. (2019). Motivations and Attitudes of New Zealand Conservation Volunteers (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from"]

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