Jobs for Nature

Strengthening our shared connections to land, water and ecology.

WAI Wānaka has received funding from Sustainable Business Network and the Ministry for Primary Industries to deliver measurable benefits for the environment alongside providing much-needed local employment.

The Upper Clutha community depends upon its natural resources for both wellbeing and economic reasons.

The Community Catchment Plan sets out the environmental and land management challenges for our region, including climate change and pest management.



Understanding aquatic health and diversity on-farm.


Understanding terrestrial life and habitats on-farm.


Planting (native and non-native), plant maintenance, carbon.


Pest plants identified as a threat nationally, regionally, or property specific.


Rabbits, possums, mustelids and other.


Development of Business and farm environmental plans working towards carbon zero.

All work is undertaken in a co-ordinated way, linking where possible with existing work on the ground to maximise beneficial environmental outcomes. Current funding supports 20+ full and part time workers which increased to 30+ for the planting season between March and April 2021.



Native trees planted on 10 properties


of primary income farms in the catchment are working with WAI Wānaka


Properties assisted with rabbit control work


Possum monitoring chewcards distributed and checked in the Cardrona Valley


Action groups formed:
6 catchment groups (farmers)
4 small landholder groups (20 ha+)

Partnering to Plant

Sustainable Business Network is working in partnership with the Director-General of Conservation to contribute to Kaimahi for Nature by establishing the Partnering to Plant Aotearoa project with partners around the country. WAI Wānaka received funding for 14 full and part time workers between 21 September and 13 November 2020.

Key Stakeholders  

Local landowners, catchment groups, ORC, QLDC, Iwi, Department of Conservation, Otago Conservation Board, Lake Wānaka Tourism, WAO, Fish & Game, Forest & Bird, Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management, Lincoln University, University of Otago, Alpine Lakes Research and Education Centre, Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust, Ignite Wānaka, Guardian groups, Wānaka Backyard Trapping and many industry, business and community groups.

News & Updates

  • Rural update 7 April 2022
    We have our Autumn team trained up and ready to go! It’s a bit dry for planting so a perfect chance to… Read more
  • Rural update 23rd March 2022
    In this update we talk about upcoming winter planting, biodiversity monitoring and pest control and welcome Tom to the management team!
  • 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.
  • Rural update 22nd February 2022
    In this update we talk about taking our primary education programme ‘Farmers as Kaitiaki’ online, introducing new roles at WAI Wānaka, native plant education opportunities and more…
  • Rural update 9th February 2022
    How about that rain?! In this newsletter, we farewell Sarah Jamieson, invite you to participate in biodiversity & freshwater monitoring on your property and share upcoming Catchment Group events.
  • Rural update 25 January 2022
    Last chance for funded riparian planting Do you have a site on your property where you think native planting may help improve… Read more
  • WAI Wānaka 2021
    2021 has been another year of many challenges for communities around the globe. We would like to take a moment and say… Read more
  • This is WAI
    This month, we are excited to share our first booklet that explains what WAI does, some local stories and upcoming events with you.

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