New Zealand Certificate in Conservation (Operations) (Level 4)

The West Coast is home to the largest proportion of conservation land in the country, making it an excellent place to learn about conservation.

Environmental conservation in New Zealand involves a range of activities and initiatives aimed at protecting the country’s unique flora, fauna and ecosystems. 

The West Coast is home to the largest proportion of conservation land in the country, making it an excellent place to learn about conservation.

Our New Zealand Certificate in Conservation (Operations) will equip you to care for the land, work safely and work well with others. It will prepare you for a wide range of conservation activities, from pest control and habitat restoration to the development and maintenance of facilities within New Zealand’s stunning national parks. It also provides a foundation for further study into broader areas of conservation such as sustainable resource management, education, research and policy development.

Some of the areas covered by the programme include: ecological systems, heritage principles, asset management, plant identification, track design and maintenance, the use of equipment (eg small machinery, chainsaws and agrichemicals) and technology (such as GPS, GIS, tablets and radio telephones).

Communication, relationship building and administration are also covered. This ranges from interacting with colleagues, work planning and report writing to stakeholder engagement, customer service and conflict management.

A significant amount of the programme involves undertaking practical tasks and projects in the field, and problem solving and collaborating with your classmates.


Core elements

This programme will provide you with the skills and experience to work in the conservation sector under guidance.

You’ll be able to:

  • Safely undertake a range of conservation activities
  • Communicate well with team members and stakeholders
  • Operate in a manner consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi while carrying out conservation work
  • Use technology and systems to complete conservation work
  • Work within the legislative and organisation requirements while carrying out operational conservation work
  • Understand, apply and assess ecological systems in a conservation context
  • Develop an understanding of environmental stewardship

Further study options

This qualification may lead on to the New Zealand Diploma in Environmental Management with strands in Marine, Terrestrial and Conservation (Operations) (Level 5). It may also lead to further higher level study in leadership and management, such as the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 5) or higher-level study in conservation or environmental science.

Career opportunities

Upon successful completion of this qualification you may be employed or volunteer in conservation, environmental and parks and recreation sectors as a park ranger, maintenance manager, pest plant officer, pest animal manager, community ranger or recreation ranger.

You will be offered a place subject to meeting the entry and selection requirements and the availability of places on the programme. The Polytechnic reserves the right to not accept late applications, i.e., after the programme has started. The Polytechnic reserves the right to cancel, prior to commencement, any programme which does not attract a minimum number of students. The fees shown are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change. For further information visit here.