Our Mission

WAI is the Māori word for water. It also stands for Water Action Initiative.
WAI Wānaka’s vision is to safeguard and enhance water quality, ecosystem function and biodiversity within the Upper Clutha basin.

Moving at pace, WAI Wānaka aims to connect the many individuals, community groups, iwi, landowners and businesses undertaking positive work towards building healthy ecosystems and supporting community wellbeing in our region.

Taking a whole-of-basin approach, we encourage and facilitate science (including planning, research and monitoring), community action and educational projects and programmes relating to these purposes.

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.


Thought Leadership in action

WAI Wānaka is action-focussed. We take a whole-of-basin approach to everything we do, working collaboratively with local businesses, experts, council and iwi to help our community look after the long-term health of the Upper Clutha’s waterways, biodiversity and the natural environment.

Science informs future planning, helping our community to make better decisions. Most of our noise comes from our projects, where there’s lots going on.

The Wānaka Water Project is a five year project, kick-started by the community in 2018 to develop a catchment plan, carry out riparian planting and undertake research.

We help to connect landowners and businesses into Action Groups supported by facilitators and experts, to harness the knowledge and experience within each group.

Jobs for Nature funding is delivering measurable benefits for the environment while providing much-needed employment for locals on farm properties.

we do what we do, because we want our work to be effective and enduring. we want for the people involved with our projects to look back with pride at what our community achieves by working together.

We believe the more hands and minds are working together towards the same goal, the greater the outcome.
Click here to meet the WAI team.