What did you love about the Tuatara Club, and how did you move onto being a Zoo volunteer?
When you join the Tuatara Club, which is for 15-17-year-olds, you get to learn so much about all the animals at the Zoo. You’re doing study and then going out in the Zoo. With other club members you do lots of different activities –like animal quiz boards with visitors, cleaning windows and signage, talking to visitors so they can learn more about the animals, and learning about animal watches. Because you’re with people your own age, you also get to make really good friends. There were four others in my group and lots of us have continued volunteering. Once you’ve completed being a Tuatara Club member, you have the opportunity to apply to be a visitor assistant volunteer, as part of the Zoo’s main volunteer programme, as I’ve done. Otherwise, you have to be 18 years old.
What do you love about volunteering now?
I work every second Sunday because I’m still at school, in my final year at Westlake Girls. I’m now a visitor assistant and training to be a guide. As a trainee guide, I love that I get to roam in specific areas, like in the Africa Safari Track, for example, where I get to feel at home and see my favourite African animals – giraffe! I’m continuing to learn so much, and get to teach other people, and I love seeing little kids’ faces light up when they see the animals.
While in the Tuatara Club, we got to learn a lot about New Zealand native animals, spending time in Te Wao Nui, and I’m still learning about New Zealand animals. Here in New Zealand, you learn so much about conservation, and what the Zoo does. New Zealand is a small country that has a lot of endangered wildlife, and many people don’t know what species are endangered and most of them are quite unique – like the Archey’s frog that doesn’t even make a sound!
I love how Auckland Zoo is a very open zoo with the way the habitats are designed, and that people also get to learn about animals in the wild, and how Auckland Zoo is helping them, like the Nepalese red panda.