WAI history

In 2016 residents, community groups, businesses and landowners were concerned about freshwater.

The Lake Wānaka Trust

The Lake Wānaka Trust was established in September 2016 by the Guardians of Lake Wānaka with the objective to safeguard and enhance the health and water quality of Lake Wānaka and its catchment water sources. As a registered charity, it also acted as an umbrella organisation for community groups.

The Upper Clutha Water Group

Made up of community members and agencies associated with the Upper Clutha region, The Upper Clutha Water Group was established in mid-2016 to facilitate linkages between different groups concerned about water management or carrying out water projects in the region.

Upper Clutha Lakes Trust (UCLT)

In April 2018, the Lake Wānaka Trust merged with the Upper Clutha Water Group to form The Upper Clutha Lakes Trust. The two groups were aligned in their goals to safeguard the long-term water quality and health of our lakes and rivers.

WAI Wānaka

In January 2020, UCLT changed its name to WAI Wānaka. WAI is not only the Māori word for water, it also stands for ‘Water Action Initiative’. Find out more about the current mission and mahi of WAI Wānaka here.


This is WAI 2021

‘This is WAI’ was our first printed document that is all about WAI Wānaka.

It’s a celebration of the people and the progress at WAI Wānaka over the five year period between 2016 – 21. It is also a call to action for those that would like to be more involved.


Celebrating native planting in the Upper Clutha Catchment – a joint effort between the Wānaka Water Project and the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature programme.

Completed in 2023.