Careers in conservation & the environment

New Zealand Sea Lion Field Team (Contractors) – Department of Conservation – Subantarctic Islands

  • Fixed Term
  • Invercargill
  • Applications have closed.

Website Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation’s Mountains to Sea team, as a part of fulfilling its commitments under the New Zealand sea lion Threat Management Plan, is seeking enthusiastic, fit and skilled team members to undertake fieldwork at the subantarctic islands this summer.

We are looking for two to three teams (approximately 11 people in total) to carry out the annual program of sea lion fieldwork (predominantly sea lion tagging and surveying) at the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island. Travel to the Auckland Islands is by boat and is approximately a 36-hour passage often by expedition yacht Evohe (Campbell Island is an additional 12-30 hours passage). The attached documents detail the required skill sets, competencies and training requirements for the positions.

In general, we are looking for people with high standards of health & safety, proven ability living in remote locations, excellent communication skills and experience getting on well with others in a small team in cold, wet, muddy conditions. Previous experience handling large animals is a plus, but a calm and confident demeanour is essential. A team leader with a high level of leadership and emotional intelligence will be appointed to lead operations on each island. As sea lions are a taonga species, all team members will be required to follow tikanga Māori when handling these animals.

Timeframe for trip: approximately early December 2020 to early March 2021*, although there may be an opportunity for a shorter commitment, depending on the applicant pool.

Note that this timeframe is approximate and may shift due to boat availability. The timeframe also includes time in Invercargill prior to departure, for organising and quarantining gear for biosecurity checks, and post-trip for gear cleaning, organising and inventorying.

All team members must also attend the training in Dunedin between the 7th and 11th of September 2020*.

The teams will be required to enter sea lion tagging and re-sight data into a spreadsheet while in the field, and to perform error-checks on the data upon returning from the trip. At least one team member from each location will be required to submit a brief report describing processes and initial conclusions. Team members will also participate in a debrief at the end of the trip.

The subantarctic islands are smoke-free, and smokers will not be recruited for these positions.
* Dates are still tentative and likely to change; flexibility is required

To register your interest in a position, we require the following:

  • CV – detailing the relevant skill sets (esp. small boat handling, shore transfers, wildlifehandling, leadership), prior remote island experience and current training certificates (e.g. outdoor first aid, PHEC, wildlife veterinarian) and referees, including current manager
  • Questionnaire of relevant skills & experience
  • Cover letter – maximum 1 page

Applications will not be accepted after 10 July 2020 at 5pm

Please send expressions of interest to Once shortlisting has been completed,
individuals will be contacted for an interview, and referee checks will follow. We expect to contact all
applicants within two weeks of the closing date.

If you have any questions regarding these roles, please contact