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Accelerating local action for our fresh water

Summer is almost on our doorstep and with the current weather we hope you’re as excited as we are to spend time at your favourite swimming and picnic spots around our lakes and rivers!

This month, we are excited to share our first booklet that explains what WAI does, some local stories and upcoming events with you.

This is WAI 2021

Healthy Ecosystems and Community Wellbeing for future generations

We are proud to share our first all-about-WAI Wānaka booklet with you.

It’s a celebration of the people and the progress at WAI Wānaka over the last five years. It is also a call to action for those that would like to be more involved. Download the document from our website or email us if you would like to pick up a printed copy.

Celebration time!

We’re excited to be part of an amazing community of great businesses and organisations in our catchment and to celebrate not one but two finalists in this year’s Ignite Wanaka Business Awards:

  • WAI Wānaka as a finalist for the Outstanding Not-for-profit Award
  • Our tireless Chair Mandy Bell in the Outstanding Individual Award

We look forward to celebrating the winners in April 2022 at the Gala Dinner 🥂


What’s the deal with wilding pines?

Have you seen a lot of media about wildling pines and mixed responses about their removal? As part of WAI Wānaka’s habitat restoration work we are helping farmers remove wilding conifers on their land.

WHY? It’s estimated 20% of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn’t stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million hectares and despite control efforts, have been spreading at about 5% a year. That’s about 90,000 more hectares a year. (Source: MPI)

Images showing how wilding conifers can spread if left unchecked. Image credit: Richard Bowman.

The effects of wilding conifers are numerous and significant. An important impact to highlight is the reduction in surface water flows and water availability for native biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems (particularly in areas with seasonal soil moisture deficits).


  • Video explaining the impact of wilding conifers on our native biodiversity and environment.
  • Winning Against Wildings 5 year research programme to eradicate wilding pines.
  • Latest news on wilding pines.


Wilding Pines Public Information Night

If you want to find out more from the experts in the field, the New Zealand Wilding Conifer Group invite you to a public information night about wilding pines in the Upper Clutha area. They’ll talk about what wilding pines are, their impacts, and what we can do about them.

9th December 2021
6pm – 7pm

Wānaka Community Hub
Brownstone St, Wānaka

Please RSVP:

World Soil Day

World Soil Day is a sharing of knowledge and annual celebration of all things soil that happens on the 5th December.
Good quality soil is essential for healthy ecosystems and the future of food and fibre production. Soil degradation is one of the least acknowledged and subtle environmental issues that the planet currently faces.

Farmers are generally very aware of soil performance as it is critical to the productivity on their property, however, its contribution to biodiversity and a wider understanding of soil health are markedly less understood.

Part of WAI Wānaka’s environmental monitoring programme includes visual soil assessments. These allow farmers to gain robust data about what condition their soil is in across the farm and give them insight into biodiversity perspectives rather than solely relying on chemical (off site) analysis of the minerals and elements in the soil.

Beautifully illustrated story all about soil for young and old to enjoy  – original comic by SOCIEDAD ESPAÑOLA DE LA CIENCIA DEL SUELO (Spanish Society of Soil Science).



GIFT TREES TO A RIVER YOU LOVE and help us protect our alpine lakes for future generations this Christmas ❤️

Join our Million Metres campaign and be part of a community of people who care for the health of our fresh water and environment.

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