Our Mahi

Explore our projects and programmes here at WAI


Community Collaboration icon

By working together, we empower communities to understand their water, their environment, and their impact. This is an overview page of WAI Wānaka’s collaborative actions within the community of the Upper Clutha catchment.

Our ‘Adopt a Drain’ project is a way for you and your whānau to get involved in reducing stormwater pollution in your neighbourhood, and therefore our waterways.

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A Teeny Tiny Truth

A research project exploring microplastics in Lake Wānaka alongside PhD student Veronica Rotman and volunteers of the community.

Urban Catchment Project icon

The aim of the urban catchment project is to improve the health of urban freshwater in the Upper Clutha through education and community-led action. Here you will learn more about localised action groups.


Securing healthy ecosystems for future generations requires purposeful action that is supported by research, monitoring and data collection to make evidence-based decisions. Find out about WAI Wānaka’s rural initiatives across the Upper Clutha catchment.

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao icon

A National Science Challenge Project that is connecting leading scientists, researchers, community and local farmers to develop an understanding of land-use and land management options that enhance Te Taiao – the natural world.

Action Groups icon

The many environmental demands on rural landowners and farmers are more easily understood and tackled as a group. WAI Wānaka are supporting and facilitating the establishment many of the catchment groups in the Upper Clutha.

Through this programme, WAI Wānaka has funding available to support landowners to achieve their environmental goals.

An education programme that connects the classroom with environmental issues and solutions on farms throughout the Upper Clutha.


Community Catchment Plan

The Community Catchment Plan is our shared roadmap to improve and maintain the long-term health of Upper Clutha’s freshwater. It identifies risks to the health of our waterways, gaps in our understanding and 60 actions we need to take in order to mitigate the effects of human activity on our freshwater.

What might native biodiversity look like in the Upper Clutha Catchment in 100 years? The Upper Clutha Biodiversity Strategy focuses on restoring and enhancing native biodiversity within our catchment.

This is a community-led initiative to monitor the long-term impact of community efforts and guide environmental investment in the future.

Volunteers are the backbone of WAI Wānaka. Our volunteer programme aims to provide opportunities for our community to get involved in accelerating action for our freshwater.

A group of community organisations have come together to create interactive events that aim to show how land, water, flora, fauna, climate and humans are all connected.


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.

Drains are Streams takes tamariki on a journey around Wānaka, learning about our stormwater networks, why polluted stormwater causes problems for our lakes and rivers, and building connections to local aquatic species.

DID YOU KNOW? Whatever goes down our storm drains flows untreated into our lakes and rivers?

An education programme that connects the classroom with environmental issues and solutions on farms throughout the Upper Clutha.

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Internships

We are thrilled to be able to provide science-led internship placements for tertiary students.

This summer we are lucky enough to have not one, not two, but three amazing interns working at WAI. Stay tuned for updates on their journey to accelerate local action for our freshwater.


Wānaka Water Project

The Wānaka Water Project was WAI Wānaka’s first big project. Its aim was to improve the understanding of the risks to our waterways and identify the actions needed to manage them. A project designed by the community for the community, supported by a range of generous funders.

Jobs for Nature |
Mahi mō Te Taiao

Funded by the nationwide Jobs for Nature programme through the Ministry for Primary Industries, WAI Wānaka’s field team carried out environmental activities on farms. Check out the great work the team did, including some fantastic videos.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

This project measured the impact of the Wānaka lakefront development on biodiversity, water quality and community values against its goals:

1) ‘Restore and develop ecology through ecological enhancements’.
2) ‘Improve land use within the lakefront’.

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice (COP) are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

WAI Wānaka ran this pilot project to understand the needs of community organisations in the region.

Partnering to Plant

Kaimahi for Nature established the Partnering to Plant Aotearoa project.

WAI Wānaka received funding for 14 full and part time workers in 2020 to plant natives around the Wānaka and Hāwea area. This was a prelude to WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature programme.

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