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Wānaka Water Project

Let’s celebrate our community planting over 45,000 native trees across the Upper Clutha Catchment over the last five years.

The Wānaka Water Project and WAI’s Jobs for Nature programme have brought together farmers, community groups, volunteers and contractors to plant out our waterways and restore marginal land from Makarora to Matukituki, Luggate, Hāwea and Cardrona. What an amazing community to live in!

You are invited

To celebrate the wrap up of these two projects, WAI Wānaka and Te Kākano invite you to join us on Friday 5th May in Glendhu Bay:

3pm – 4:30pm: Visit one of the original Wānaka Water Project planting sites at Alpha Burn Station and hear from owners Duncan and Allanah McRae, as well as local plant expert Arne Cleland, chat about the benefits and challenges of riparian planting.

5:30pm – 7:30pm: From Alpha Burn we will head down the road to the Glendhu Station Woolshed to fire up the BBQ and toast to the collective efforts of our community. All welcome! 

To RSVP, please email


Water pests in our lakes and rivers

What lies beneath the surface of our lakes and rivers?

There is a thriving world beneath the surface of our lakes and rivers. Just like on land, there are native and introduced species competing for habitat and resources. Three pest species in our local waterways include: Lagarosiphon (aquatic plant), Didymo / ‘rock snot’ (algae species) and Lindavia / ‘lake snow’ (algae species). 

We may not have the ability to turn back the clock and stop aquatic pests from first entering our lakes and rivers, but we can come together as a community to stop their ongoing spread. For more information on how to help with this, click the button below or check out our water pests campaign on Instagram or Facebook.


Teacher learning sessions

Local teachers of our community joined us at Penrith Wetlands this past month to learn about stormwater and water clarity. These after-school learning sessions are in partnership with Otago Regional Council, Te Kākano Aotearoa and Enviroschools Otago.

We were delighted to see so many educators engaged and excited to learn something new about our local environment.

If you are an ECE, primary or secondary teacher who would like to get involved in our next after-school learning session, please email


Volunteer opportunity for lake research

A ‘secchi disc’ is a simple, easy-to-use tool used to measure the water clarity (transparency) of a lake. It is one of the most common methods used to gather water clarity data and is used by organisations worldwide.

We have partnered with Lakelands Wānaka to offer locals and visitors alike the opportunity to contribute and help collect meaningful data on Lake Wānaka. Volunteers learn how to use our secchi discs, followed by getting out on the water (via kayak or paddleboard) to take water clarity measurements at select locations.

Interested in getting involved?


Farewell to a WAI Superstar

Julie Perry has been with WAI Wānaka since its inception as the Upper Clutha Lakes Trust back in 2016. Julie initially volunteered to work with Mandy Bell and others to set up the trust and since then has led WAI’s growth from three passionate part-timers to a thriving organisation of 45 staff at the height of the Jobs for Nature programme.

As Business Manager, Julie has developed relationships and partnerships with organisations locally, regionally and nationally – creating opportunities for WAI to grow and deliver impact to our Upper Clutha community.

Julie has made an immeasurable contribution to WAI Wānaka, and the communities of the Upper Clutha, through her dedication to the WAI whānau and the Upper Clutha environment. Julie will be greatly missed by staff and our partners who we work with, but has left WAI with a strong legacy of impact through collaboration.

We wish Julie all the best on her next adventures, and thank her for her tireless mahi over the last 7 years!

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