December Newsletter

Collaboration & Partnership

Community Catchment Plan

Community Wellbeing



Healthy Ecosystems

Take Action

Te Taiao

Urban Development

WAI Action Groups

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Photo by: Victoria Caffrey

We welcome you to our last newsletter of 2023, your portal into some of the most memorable moments and highlights that shaped our journey this year. But that’s not all, get ready for some ‘water fun’ ideas for summer, job opportunities here at WAI, rural news, our ‘Santa’s Wishlist’ and more!

Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Our ‘2023 highlights’ include:

  • Organise 32 community events that reached over 1,100 participants
  • Provide nature-based education sessions to 870 tamariki and rangatahi 
  • Form 3 working urban catchment groups
  • Launch ‘A Teeny Tiny Truth‘, the first freshwater microplastics research project on the South Island / Te Waipounamu alongside PhD student Veronica Rotman (University of Auckland, University of Otago)
  • The success of Natur-ED, an education collective alongside Enviroschools, ORC, Te Kākano Aotearoa, Grow Wānaka and Wao Aotearoa. 
  • Organise ‘Knowledge into Action for our Deepwater Lakes‘, a workshop supported by Otago Regional Council that brought together experts from 21 organisations across Aotearoa.
  •  Produce the ‘Upper Clutha Biodiversity Strategy‘ 
  • Monitor biodiversity and freshwater health on 19 farms throughout the Upper Clutha 
  • Work with 10 landowners on a land diversification project as part of ‘Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao‘ 

…and so much more!

A huge thanks goes out to our funders, supporters, partners, volunteers and followers – we couldn’t have done it without you!
thank you

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Fun things to do around Wānaka with your whānau

The holiday season is a great time to explore our backyard here in the Upper Clutha. From wetland adventures to visiting the grebes along the Wānaka lakefront, there’s something for everyone.

Share your adventure photos with us on social media by using the #waiwanaka hastag. 

Happy exploring!

We're hiring

Funding Lead opportunity at WAI

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We are seeking an experienced fundraiser who can develop and nurture key relationships and help secure financial support to grow our environmental mahi and build a sustainable organisation. 

Applications close on the 10th of January, please send your CV and cover letter to

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New signs showcase community working together for the environment

Four new signs have been installed around the Upper Clutha catchment in collaboration with local landowners and the broader community. Each sign tells a unique story, emphasising the importance of working together when it comes to restoring our local environment.

A massive thank-you goes out to Matthew at Interlink Timber Solutions for donating the beautiful recycled timber for the sign posts, and Fletcher from Wānaka Civil for installing the signs alongside Matthew. As well as Mick from Wildlab who helped design and install the signs, and the Wānaka Community Workshop for creating the frames.

Furthermore, we’d like to thank all of the landowners who worked with us on these signs. Keep an eye out for them at the following locations:

  • The Millenium Track (Kā mihi Nick Mills of Rippon Vineyard)
  • The Skyline Track in Cardrona (Kā mihi Hamish & Sarah Mackay of Spotts Creek Station)
  • Dean’s Bank Track 
  • Cardrona Hotel parking lot (Kā mihi Sarah & Willy Scurr of Cardrona Valley Farm and Cade from the Cardrona Hotel) 

Santa's wishlist

WAI Wānaka 2024 ‘Santa’s Wishlist’ 

You never know until you ask, right?

As a charitiable organisation, we prioritise spending on our core programmes. Yet, there are some items that, while currently unfunded, could greatly benefit the WAI team. This got us thinking, are there people in our community who have items they no longer use that could make life easier here at WAI?

That’s why we’ve crafted our very own ‘Santa’s Wishlist’ featuring items that would benefit our organisation and help with everyday mahi.

If you have an item on the list that you no longer use and are willing to donate to WAI, please email

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Get involved this summer at one of our upcoming events

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