Volunteering for Spirit is an awesome way to be involved in helping shape positive change in the lives of young Kiwis. Sailing over 25 ten day voyages every year along with a few shorter trips, we rely on our amazing volunteers to help make this possible.

If you have sailed with us as a trainee, it’s a fantastic way to stay connected and be part of the Spirit family.  If you haven’t sailed with us before, but have a passion to help young people, then we would love to hear from you.

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We employ a permanent crew, consisting of a master (captain), mates, engineer and cook on every voyage and in addition to our permanent crew positions, there are six volunteers per voyage, filling the positions of Watch Assistants and Leading Hands.


Leading Hands (ages 17-22 years)

Leading hands must have completed our 10 Day voyage before becoming crew. They bring their voyage experiences aboard and assist the crew with day-to-day running of the ship's routines, programme and maintenance. Leading Hands help trainees to familiarise themselves with the vessel and the possibly new experience for some of working in teams.


Watch Assistant (ages 20 years and up)

We are always looking for strong candidates for the Watch Assistant role. Watch assistants are valued for their contribution to a voyage as motivators, wholly involved at all levels. They work alongside the mates, ensuring the programme is running smoothly and that all trainees are fully engaged and having a good time.




Full-time positions on board Spirit of New Zealand do come up from time-to-time, and are always looking for qualified crew to join our relief crew network. If you have the right credentials (maritime and other relevant qualifications) and are interested in being part of the team, we would love to hear from you.













  • Leading Hands (aged 17-22 years)

  • All other positions over 20 years of age

  • Enjoy working with young people

  • Preferably have some experience with water-based activities, outdoor education, teaching or coaching roles

  • Have a positive attitude, a friendly manner and heaps of enthusiasm

  • Be physically fit


Phoebe is one of our amazing volunteers who came on a 10 day voyage as a participant at the start of 2020 and said “it was the best 10 days of my life!” 
Here's what she has to say about her volunteer role with Spirit.

Why did you want to volunteer? 
I would've come back straight away if I could, but it being 2020 things ended up getting a bit delayed. I had been inspired by the crew on my voyage and was really keen to get to experience the magic of the Spirit again. I also wanted to give back to the Trust so that other young people could have the same experience as I did. I eventually made it back onboard later in the year and although I was a bit nervous at the start - I had an amazing time and was so glad I had been able to come back! 

What do you love most about volunteering? 
I think what I love most is the people. As a participant, I came back for the experience (sailing on a pirate ship is pretty cool) but as a volunteer, I come back for the people - the crew are some of the best people you'll ever meet, and you also get to meet so many different young people from all over the country and watch them grow and tell their story so having a part in that is really special. I also love that the development didn't stop after my first voyage - even as part of the crew, I learn a little bit more about myself and what I'm capable of each time I come back. 

What would you say to someone considering volunteering for us? 
Go for it!!! It's one of the best things I have ever done in my life, and you will get so much out of it. It’s rewarding, exciting, and gives you so much confidence and fulfilment, not to mention I’ve met some of my best friends through my time as a volunteer! 



  • Do I need to know how to sail to come onboard?

    No sailing experience is required. Sailing is just one part of the voyage. Each sailing has a team of experienced sailors. Be prepared to help!

  • Do I have to live in Auckland to get on an Auckland sailing?

    No we have people from all over New Zealand join the ship. You just have to get to wherever we are in port.

  • How many people does the ship sleep?

    The ship typically has the capacity to house 40 participants and 13 crew overnight.

  • Is food included?

    Yes food is included - We have a full time cook on board producing exceptional meals to keep your tummy full!

    However, Unfortunately due to the size of the galley onboard the ship, we cannot cater for young people with coeliac disease or those who are likely to have an anaphylactic reaction eg. Food, Stings, Medicines. We can cater for vegetarians and for gluten or dairy free diets.

  • Where does the ship go?

    Every voyage is different and it will often depend on weather. We have a live ship tracker on the home page of our website.