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 conifers 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.

Field team supervisors and plant expert at a site inspection

Jobs for Nature Links

For further details about WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature programme, check out the below links.


Climate Change:

Carbon Planning

When we talk about carbon, we are talking about greenhouse gases or GHG (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) emitted into the atmosphere by the activities of an individual, company, country, etc.

According to the Ministry for the Environment, Agriculture contributes half of our total greenhouse gas emissions. While many farmers and growers are already reducing their emissions, much work is needed to help Aotearoa New Zealand become a low-emissions country.

Watch the video to find out how WAI Wānaka are working with landowners in the Upper Clutha basin to understand their GHG emissions number and help them with sequestration planting.

Weed control:

Wilding conifers

Wilding conifers (also known as wilding pines) are introduced conifer trees which have self-seeded and are growing where they are not wanted — they are the wrong tree in the wrong place.

The effects of wilding conifers are numerous and significant. They favour our unique climate, nearly doubling the growth rate of their natural homeland. Spreading at 5% or 90,000ha per year in Aotearoa – that’s an area larger than the Queenstown Lakes District! They outcompete native plants, and contribute to the reduction in surface water availability (particularly in areas with seasonal soil moisture deficits) resulting in habitat and biodiversity loss and significant landscape and soil quality changes.

Watch the video to find out how WAI Wānaka are working with landowners to help stop the spread of wilding conifer infestations.


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 November 2022
    No doubt you’ll be flat out as spring gets into full swing. The teams out in the field have their work cut… Read more
  • WAI’s spring update
    Spring is a fresh start in nature and a time to clear out some clutter, remove weeds and plant the right trees… Read more
  • Rural Update September 2022
    We are very excited this month to introduce our new Farm Lead, Magali Domingo! Some of you will recognise Magali (or Maggie) from… Read more
  • Rural Update August 2022
    Welcome back to your rural update! We have two great events coming up in the next couple of weeks. It’s all about young farmers… Read more
  • The more we know, the better we do!
    E mao ana ki ua, e ua ana ki mao.It is fine until it rains, it rains until it’s fine. Welcome to WAI Wānaka’s… Read more
  • Rural Update 28 July 2022
    We’ve achieved a lot over the last couple of years working together through the Jobs for Nature programme. With the addition of funding… Read more
  • Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao
    WAI Wānaka has been working with the Upper Clutha community since 2016 to protect and enhance ecosystem health and community wellbeing across… Read more
  • Rural update July 2022
    ‘For Māori, Te Taiao is the natural world that contains and surrounds humanity in an interconnected relationship of respect.’  Taiao Ora, Tangata… Read more

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