Working together for healthy water
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Fresh water = life. There are many different ways we all enjoy our lakes and rivers. What would happen if they were too polluted to be safe? Looking at what seems like pristine waters, it may be hard to imagine. But many rivers and lakes in our beautiful country are under threat right now. Our local waterways are no exception. They are in decline and our delicate ecosystems are under more and more pressure.


Accelerating community action for fresh water

Our Place 2024 slide
On-Farm Environemental Support slide
Biodiversity Strategy

Our Action Plan

We have an action plan for our catchment, the mighty Upper Clutha, covering a total area of 4,600 km2.

The Community Catchment Plan is our shared roadmap to improve and maintain the long-term health of Upper Clutha’s freshwater.

It identifies risks to the health of our waterways, gaps in our understanding and actions we need to take in order to reduce the effects of human activity on our aquatic ecosystems. You can view a summary of the plan here.


Healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for future generations

Healthy Ecosystems

Our work supporting healthy ecosystems includes habitat restoration through native planting, weed control, pest animal and predator control, water monitoring and biodiversity enhancement.

These on the ground actions are based on current science and backed by educational programmes and community outreach. We are also helping businesses, landowners and urban groups to develop and roll out environmental plans.

Community Wellbeing

Research shows that community wellbeing is closely linked to the natural environment, and connectedness to nature can enhance our emotional, physical and mental health, and reduce feelings of social isolation.

We believe that the more people know, the more prepared they are to step up. Each of us – locals and visitors alike – has a part to play in protecting this special place.


Community Collaboration

Community Collaboration

By working together, we empower communities to understand their water, their environment, and their impact.

From WAI Wānaka’s humble beginning, it was clear that none of the work necessary to protect and restore our waterways can be done in isolation.

Education & Outreach

Education Programme

Education is at the heart of local action.

Our education and outreach programmes are building a passionate community of water advocates with the skills and knowledge to be the current and future voices for healthy water.

Action Groups

Catchment Groups

Connecting landowners, local businesses and the community.

Working together to protect our catchment’s ecosystems for years to come. WAI Wānaka helped establish multiple rural and urban catchment groups operating in the Central Lakes District.

Rural Initiatives

Securing healthy ecosystems for future generations requires purposeful action.

WAI Wānaka’s rural initiatives are supported by research, monitoring and data collection to make evidence-based decisions and continually improve our understanding of Te Taiao, the natural world.

Click here to view all of WAI Wānaka’s projects and programmes.

Who are WAI Wānaka?

We’re an organisation made up of passionate individuals with a shared vision of healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for future generations.

WAI Wānaka’s team is on the ground, working with local individuals, catchment groups, landowners, councils, businesses, community groups and schools to improve ecosystem health, reverse biodiversity loss and keep our water healthy.

Our Mission:

By working together, we empower communities to understand their water, their environment, and their impact

WAI team photo 2023
WAI team photo 2023 jumping


The more hands and minds working together towards the same goal, the greater the outcome.

Become part of our team of amazing volunteers. Fill in our questionnaire and let us know how you would like to participate.

As a non-for-profit organisation, we rely on donors and grants to sustain our initiatives. By donating to WAI, you’re supporting a collective mission of healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for future generations.

Get in touch or sign up to our newsletter to have your say and stay in the loop about upcoming events and opportunities.


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