Jobs for Nature | Mahi mō te Taiao

Strengthening our shared connections to land, water and ecology

WAI Wānaka currently employs 21 people to carry out environmental activities on farms. This is funded through the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Jobs for Nature / Mahi mō te Taiao fund. Our team work on-farm to assist landowners to accelerate their efforts towards achieving their biosecurity, biodiversity and freshwater goals – as laid out in their farm environment plans.

Working with catchment groups for enduring outcomes this project carries out a number of workstreams to improve ecosystem health across the Upper Clutha basin.  

For each workstream, WAI develops a basin-wide strategy and works alongside community groups, councils, DOC and contractors. 

Jobs for Nature Wanaka - undertaking environmental activities on farms.


WAI Wanaka tree planting for ecological restoration and riparian planting for water quality.

Planting – the right tree in the right place 

WAI Wānaka works with plant experts, community groups and local nurseries to assist landowners plant the right tree in the right place – whether planting for ecological restoration, riparian planting for water quality or planting for carbon sequestration.  

Maintaining these plantings – adding protectors, clearing weeds and mulching – can be a big job but drastically improve the survival and growth rates. The WAI field crew spend a lot of time on post-planting care!

WAI Wanaka Weed Control for improving biosecurity and weed control

Weed control – improving biosecurity 

The team are trained up to help landowners control weeds that are classified as pest species.

Working across properties for increased effectiveness, the team take out broom, gorse, wilding pines and other pest species. This helps minimise loss of native biodiversity through weeds outcompeting natives, and helps reduce the spread of emerging weed species including berberis, sycamore, nasella tussock and rowan. 

WAI Wanaka - Animal pest control, rabbit control Wanaka.

Animal pest control – protecting soil and vegetation 

Assisting landowners with rabbit control by adding and maintaining rabbit proof fences and fumigating helps keep numbers down – reducing soil erosion, protecting native plantings and reducing food source for other pests such as cats, stoats and ferrets. 

Possum control, using AT220 auto-resetting traps, is carried out to protect native vegetation. Possums are also vectors for diseases such as TB, so keeping numbers down is important to prevent the spread of these diseases to livestock.

WAI Wanaka Biodiversity & Freshwater Monitoring 

Biodiversity & Freshwater Monitoring 

Biodiversity and freshwater monitoring helps landowners track changes over time to make decisions based on data to protect and improve biodiversity within their farm systems. WAI Wānaka has developed a monitoring package to assist landowners to collect and collate this information. 

This includes visual soil assessments, bird counts, stream health assessments (to complement regular nutrient testing) and vegetation photo points.

WAI Wanaka Carbon Planning - understand the sources of emissions and sequestration of greenhouse gasses.

Carbon Planning 

WAI Wānaka held a series of workshops with landowners to increase understanding the sources of emissions and sequestration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) on farms, and tools currently available to estimate property GHGs.

Landowners are now calculating their emissions and developing plans aligned with information from He Waka Eke Noa and industry bodies.


Since the beginning of WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature programme in November 2020:
WAI Wanaka Jobs for nature


Native trees planted by Jobs for Nature field teams


of primary income farms in the catchment are engaged


Properties assisted with rabbit control work


Possum monitoring chewcards distributed and checked in the Cardrona and Maungawera Valleys


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

Nature Jobs Wanaka
Environmental conservation work Wanaka. Jobs for Nature.

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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