Jobs for Nature | Mahi mō Te Taiao

Strengthening our shared connections to land, water and ecology

WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature field team carried out environmental activities on farms. This was funded through the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Jobs for Nature / Mahi mō Te Taiao fund.

Our team worked 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 carried out a number of workstreams to improve ecosystem health across the Upper Clutha basin.  

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

Click here for an overview of the team’s skills and mahi.

Jobs for Nature Wanaka - undertaking environmental activities on farms.


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


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.


Environmental Monitoring:

Biodiversity and Freshwater Monitoring

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life (biological diversity) in a specified area. Aotearoa is internationally recognised as being a hotspot for biodiversity. Many of our native flora, fauna and fungi are found nowhere else in the world.

Sheep and beef farms make up 40% of land area in Aotearoa and contain nearly 25% of remaining native vegetation.

WAI Wānaka has developed a biodiversity and freshwater monitoring package to support landowners to understand the unique biodiversity on their farms. Monitoring soils, vegetation, birdlife and stream health allows informed decision making that will protect and improve biodiversity.

Watch the video to see how WAI Wānaka are supporting landowners to understand the unique diversity on their farms.

Pest Control:

Coordinated Rabbit Control

Rabbits are a serious threat to our bio-diversity and environment. They cause soil degradation and erosion, which affects water quality through increased sediment entering waterways.

Rabbits destroy native vegetation and habitat for our native fauna.

Ten rabbits can eat as much grass as one sheep, which affects pastoral production and they breed like, well, rabbits.

Watch the video to find out how WAI Wānaka are helping local landowners coordinate and carry out rabbit control to save native biodiversity and protect productive land.

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.