Mahi hei kaitiaki kararehe

Becoming a zookeeper

Zookeepers must be physically fit, be willing to work outdoors in all types of weather, be willing to work weekends and holidays and be dedicated with a passion for animals.

Keeper staff must also have good communication skills, good observation skills, be team players and personable (dealing with the public as well as animals is a big part of a keeper’s job) along with a good understanding and knowledge of the animals they work with.

Opportunities for employment at zoos are slim and having a good education with as much experience with animals is beneficial if you want to enter the zoological field.

One course that is recommended in New Zealand is the Unitec New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management Captive Wild Animals. Other useful qualifications include varying science degrees and veterinary qualifications. Gaining animal related work experience overseas or experience with conservation based programs or projects is often useful as well.

Any of our zoo keeping positions are listed in the jobs section of our website.

If you are interested in becoming a zookeeper – one of the best ways to find out what zoo keeping is about is to volunteer at a zoo. All volunteers must be over 16 years old and be able to work independently. 

Keeper Jo with three cotton top tamarins

Volunteering at Brooklands Zoo

We are always looking for keen and reliable volunteers to help out with the many jobs involved with the day-to-day running of the zoo. Although volunteers do not work directly with many of the animals, all of the activities they are involved in do contribute directly to the zoo and the care of the animals.

Find out more and apply online