A salary of NZ$90,000, a helicopter ride and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as your playground. This sounds like a dream job. But despite the significant benefits, the New Zealand Department of Conservation is struggling to attract candidates to the new biodiversity supervisor in Haast on the wild, remote coast of the South Island. Now the search is going on all over the world.

The work is located in Te Wahipunamu, an area covering 26,000 square kilometers of mountain ranges, isolated beaches and native forests, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Its mountain ranges formed the backdrop for the White Mountains/Ered Nimrais in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptation.

The successful applicant will work to protect newly discovered Haast tokoeka kiwi populations, as well as monitor local seal and lizard populations, control predators and monitor native songbirds. They will work in remote, rugged areas, many of which are only accessible by helicopter or jet boat.

The job ad describes the region as “an exceptional place to live, surrounded by mountains and ocean, with endless outdoor activities for outdoor enthusiasts” and a salary of NZ$72,610 to NZ$92,780. On Monday, however, This is reported by the New Zealand Herald that the department’s call for applicants has not generated much interest: so far only three people have made inquiries.

Mount Aspiring National Park, part of Te Wahipunamu Photo: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Wayne Costello, DOC Operations Manager at South Westlandsaid that the job is suitable for people who like to spend time in nature and feel comfortable in a certain degree of isolation.

“He’s working in one of the most amazing natural environments the country has to offer,” he said told Stuff. “It’s just exciting. But it is not for everyone. You must be independent and able to work outdoors. If you are interested in opera and theater, this is probably not for you.’

The Department of Conservation is not alone in its struggle to attract workers to the wild beauty of the area. This month, the West Coast Regional Development Agency released a new campaign announcing that it is “hunting around the world for new ‘coasters.’

“We’re looking for people who are tired of the crowds, cars and commercialism of the city and would prefer a little more space,” Development West Coast executive director Heath Milne said in a release.

Many businesses and organizations on the West Coast were in need of staff, Milne said — and the region was particularly hoping to attract healthcare workers, with 50 vacancies in aged care, primary care, emergency care, mental health and inpatient services. Transverse New Zealand, many sectors are reporting chronic labor and skills shortages as more New Zealanders head overseas after the pandemic and immigration gradually recovers. Job listings site SEEK reported a 27% increase in job listings on the West Coast over the past year.

“The coast is a special place that attracts special people,” Milne said. “We’re looking for a few more of them.”