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Multicultural visit to Brook Sanctuary to celebrate National Conservation Week

The visit forms part of Volunteer Nelson’s Migrant Volunteering Programme in conjunction with Multicultural Nelson Tasman.

Twenty NMIT English Language students representing Colombia, Myanmar, South Korea, Tonga and Japan, led by their tutors headed up to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary with Volunteer Nelson this week to find out more about New Zealand natural heritage and what a huge number of kiwi and migrant volunteers are doing to protect our indigenous species.

The visit coincides with New Zealand Conservation Week which sees the Sanctuary open to visitors for the entire week providing a wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by native bush and bird song, right here on our Nelson doorstep!

Nick Robson, Operations Manager for the Sanctuary introduced the group to the history of the sanctuary, the work the team and its groups of volunteers do to protect our local heritage and to the indigenous fauna and flora. He also spoke about some of the pests the teams work to eradicate to ensure the longevity of our animal and bird kingdom especially. Naturally, eyes enlarged with the mention of mice and bugs. So, when our group came across a Weta Hotel on their walk through the Sanctuary, Nick had some explaining to do.

“The Weta is a native insect to New Zealand,” he told the group of newcomers. “The ‘Weta hotel’ is a wooden box with grooves behind Perspex windows. It rests against some of the Sanctuary trees and encourages the Wetas to take safe covering from predators.”

Danielle Robson who works at Volunteer Nelson and also volunteers at the Brook, led part of the group and expounded upon the honeydew in the crevices of the native Beech Trees, which some were brave enough to taste. Some of the group also discussed the medicinal qualities of the native plants compared to those in their countries.

The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is highly accessible to visiting groups or anyone wanting to give of their time to help clear tracks, monitor native fauna foot traffic, check pest control traps or help mend fences. It is only a 5-minute walk from a bus stop at the top of Brook Street, Nelson, adjacent to the Brook Valley Holiday Park.

Calling all volunteers

Whether you are young or a vintage 60+, speak English or are still learning, or experience physical challenges, volunteering can bring so many rewards to both you and the organisations, people, and nature you support. To find out more about Volunteer Nelson’s migrant volunteering programme or any of its wider programmes, visit or call 03 546 7681.  To speak to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary about their volunteering opportunities, contact Sabrina Malcolm at [email protected]

Did you know?

  • The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is a 715 hectare mainland “ecological island” located in Nelson. A sanctuary Trust was established in 2004 with the intent of restoring the local populations of pre-European flora and fauna which have been ravaged by introduced mammalian predators.
  • Over 30,000 volunteer hours per year contribute to the erecting and maintaining of fences to protect NZ animal and birdlife, and native bush. Since completion of the fence at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, numbers of native birds and other wildlife have increased markedly, both inside the fence and in surrounding areas. The next stage includes re-introduction of rare species including kiwi, kaka, kakariki, tuatara and saddlebacks. 
  • Volunteers are still needed to continue this work.
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