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Adventure in Punakaiki

I spent five weeks in Punakaiki, at the New Zealand Conservation Experience project both as my first experience outside of the United States and as my internship. It was kind of nerve-racking at first because of being somewhere totally new and not knowing exactly what to expect, but in the end, it was totally worth it! I wanted experience doing conservation work since I hope to do that as a job for the future, and this program gave me just that.

Depending on what is needed, you may plant trees in Punakaiki, plant plants such as flax and mingimingi in different Landcorp farms, release plants and weeding in various sites that the volunteers worked in before, or work in the nursery doing different things such as weeding, planting seedlings, or prepping plants for future projects. It can get kind of repetitive sometimes, but it was still fun with the right people around.

For my first week, it was just me and my team leader. Then, for the next three weeks, another volunteer from France came. This not only made time go by faster, but it became much more enjoyable to be able to work with someone else and be a team. When we would be done with work, we would go back to the volunteer house and cook up a meal and spend time with each other that way as well. This became even more true my last week when we had five more people join us. All and all, it was a wonderful experience that I would do again!