Education & Community Outreach

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.

We aim to educate and raise awareness by reaching deep into what drives our values and attitudes towards water, broadening participation and empowering landowners, businesses, residents, visitors and communities to care for their freshwater environment.

This year we kicked off our education programme in earnest, developing strategies for schools, tertiary institutions, workplaces and in the community.


Farmers as Kaitiaki - Water Education programme

Embracing te Taiao – On the Farm

WAI Wānaka has developed in-class and in-field activities for students to explore the connections between our environment and rural land use, focused on whenua (land), tangata (people), wai māori (freshwater) and āngi (air). This programme connects the classroom with environmental issues and solutions on farms in the Upper Clutha catchment. Find updates here.

Funded by Otago Regional Council’s ECO Fund

Community outreach and education Wanaka

Take a walk on the wild side

Working with Mt Aspiring College and community partners, this initiative assesses whether the Wānaka lakefront development project meets its goals to ‘restore and develop ecology through ecological enhancements’ and to ‘improve land use within the lakefront’ by measuring the impact of the development on biodiversity, water quality and community values. Read about our progress here.

Funded by Otago Museum’s Participatory Science Programme

Education support for Women in farming Wanaka

Rural Enviro Series

We’re excited to bring you this workshop series aimed at providing opportunities for women who want to support their farm business. These are small group workshops to upskill and share knowledge on environmental topics such as native planting, freshwater health, carbon planning and biodiversity.

Funded through the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature Programme

WAI Wānaka Internships


WAI Wānaka is excited to be able to provide science-led internship placements for tertiary students.

This summer we were joined by lovely Aaliyah Pakau-Timoti who is studying for a Bachelor of Animal Science at Massey University in Palmerston North. She was using new eDNA technology to understand where tuna (NZ freshwater eels) are located in the Upper Clutha Basin. Read more about her work here.

In summer 2020/21 we had two students – Nadia and Lily – working on biodiversity monitoring and visual soil assessments.

WAI Wānaka workshops

WAO Summit Food & Fibre events

The Wao Summit is designed to accelerate our community towards a zero carbon future with a series of events highlighting the efforts of many local business and groups.

WAI Wānaka’s Food & Fibre programme delivers everything from practical workshops for monitoring on-farm biodiversity, speaker events covering the latest in science, practice change and consumer demand, to a farm tour visiting local properties, meeting the farmers and hearing firsthand how they are creating positive environmental outcomes.

Wanaka Community Events

Community Events

Community connection and engagement is an important part of WAI Wānaka’s education programme.

OUR PLACE – lead by WAI Wānaka, a group of community-based organisations came together for the 2021 A&P Show to create a space for interactive and fun learning for all ages to show how land, water, flora, fauna, climate, and us humans, are all connected.

WAI Wānaka has also run and interactive stall at Kahu Youth’s wonderful annual Matariki celebration and facilitated BioBlitz events.


Education Pilot Programme: Embracing te Taiao – On the Farm

Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture – a farmer led solution
Habitat Restoration & Pest Control
Habitat Restoration, Pest & Predator Control
Changing landscapes
Changing Landscapes – Repo, Riparian Planting & Fish Passages
Water Quantity
Water Quantity
Water Quality
Collaboration, Community and Catchments

You can find other learning resources and interesting links here.


News & Updates

  • Fostering behaviours of belonging
    Welcome to our first fundraising campaign! WAI Wānaka’s relationship with schools is flourishing. More tamariki and rangatahi are getting involved, and more… Read more
  • Science Blog II
      Kia ora kotou, Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the first part of my blog series focussed on WAI Wānaka’s… Read more
  • New research commissioned
    We are excited to announce a project with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to start a short-term study of currents in Lake Wānaka. This is the first research of its type on the deep-water lakes in our area.
  • Community spirit at it’s best!
    In this newsletter we celebrate the spirit of working together and give you an update on what’s been happening so far this year in WAI Wānaka’s thriving education programme.

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