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Community Projects

Being part of the community

All our YHA-managed hostels have incorporated a community project as part of their annual business plans. At least one day a year is spent on community projects and many of our hostels do a lot more.

YHA Members and guests can also get involved in community environmental projects around New Zealand. You’ll gain local knowledge, immerse yourself in a unique environment and enjoy meeting volunteers from around the world.

Here’s a taste of just some of our community projects (past and present):

Ben Lomond Track

Our YHA hostels in Queenstown have adopted a plot of land on the Ben Lomond Track just above Skyline Gondola. Staff will help to remove wilding pines from this plot on a regular basis to stop them from destroying native vegetation and impacting local birdlife.

Pictured: staff member Jordan in action!

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington plays an important role in protecting several of New Zealand’s most endangered species. YHA New Zealand supports this special place through sponsorship and encouraging members to learn more.

Tekapo Regional Parks

YHA Lake Tekapo’s Hostel Manager is a member of the local Regional Park committee. Billy planted up to 80 trees and worked with the local school to encourage visitors to help with the watering of the trees. He is currently working on providing the park with BBQ areas.

Clean Up NZ week

The international “Clean Up the World” campaign involves 40 million people and takes the form of an annual Clean Up Week in New Zealand each September. Each year a number of our hostels participate in this activity in their local area.

Pictured: Staff members Sacha, Sue, and furry assistant clean up the beachfront in Queenstown

Green Footprint Project

With the increase of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions through increased travel and energy usage, the Green Footprint Project has been established to help you reduce some of the impacts you are making on your travels. Learn more

Matakohe-Limestone Island

Matakohe-Limestone Island, situated in Whangarei Harbour, comprises 37 hectares and is home to both kiwi and tuatara. YHA staff and members have assisted in the regeneration of the island by taking part in activities such as planting native trees and removing introduced species.

Pigeon Island

Located at the top end of Lake Wakatipu, Pigeon Island is home to many of New Zealand’s native species and one of the region’s few podocarp-hardwood forests. It is also in close proximity to some of the country’s great walks. To protect this special forest, the Wakatipu Island Reforestation Trust has involved both community members and YHA Queenstown staff and guests in planting more native species on the island.

Motutapu Island

YHA Auckland completed volunteer days on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf during 2017 involving weeding, nursery work, and path clearing for the annual island marathon run. Staff also volunteer in their own time each week for organisations such as the SPCA and the National Maritime Museum.

Pictured: staff participating in path-clearing on Motutapu Island and collecting litter on Motuihe.


YHA Glenorchy, Kinloch Lodge’s John Glover has chaired a community visioning task force for the last 18 months to produce a long term future vision for Glenorchy, focusing on sustainability, managing growth and the community’s effects on the environment. The hostel has an organic veggie garden to supplement the on-site restaurant, makes its own compost, and offers carbon-free transport for hikers to local tracks in their electric hybrid vehicle.

Beach Cleans

YHA Bay of Islands, The Rock Adventure Cruise participate in the beach clean ups around the local bays. Staff and guests undertake about 120 beach cleans every year on the islands while out on The Rock, which helps to stop any items washing from the beaches to the mainland. Owners Jonny and Sarah, along with their five year old, Scarlett, also participate in a project run by Bay Bush Action and monitor a number of pest traps that back onto the Opua State Forest.

Other projects for 2016/17 included:
  • YHA Christchurch fundraised to help protect New Zealand Maui dolphins
  • YHA Rotorua participated in Clean Up New Zealand week by picking up litter in neighbouring Kuirau Park
  • The YHA Aoraki Mt Cook hostel management team volunteered on the local Fire and Emergency crew and St John Ambulance
  • YHA Hokitika supported the local Art club, and the Driftwood and Sand Festival
  • YHA Waitomo helped to fence off a local river and planted trees to improve water quality in the upper Waipa River catchment
Franz Josef solar installation Learn more

Toitū carbonzero

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YHA Rotorua front entrance area Learn more

Renewable energy

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YHA team member enjoys Planting Day

Green Footprint Project