WAI Wānaka news

Community Wellbeing


Healthy Ecosystems

Jobs For Nature

Risks to our Catchment

WAI Action Groups

Wānaka Water Project

WAI Wānaka team photo May 2022
Welcome to the latest WAI Wānaka newsletter! Find out what’s been happening, learn about upcoming events and how you can get involved. We are also looking for someone with a spare room over the Summer to host one of our science interns. More info below.


Jobs for Nature | Mahi mō te Taiao

WAI Wānaka field team by the lakefront
Removing cotoneaster along the lakeshore to make room for native shrubs to thrive

Amongst planting natives to restore habitats and increase biodiversity, our field teams spend time removing pest plants and clearing existing planting sites from weeds as well as help local farmers with their pest control. Over the last week, our team has been out removing cotoneaster along the lake shore. Find out more about cotoneaster in our weed spotlight below.

Weed Spotlight: Cotoneaster

Evergreen shrub or small tree. Leaves are shiny with soft shaggy hairs above and white-grey hairs underneath. Clusters of small pinkish flowers are followed by scarlet or orange berries.

Why is it weedy? Produces high viability seed, matures quickly, forms dense stands that are long-lived, and outcompetes native shrub species in a wide range of habitats. (Source: Weedbusters)

cotoneaster image

Safety first

When working in the field, safety and good work practices are as important as getting the job done.

At WAI Wānaka our teams not only learn how to use a chainsaw safely, but also how to keep your body flexible and safe during physical labour. Thanks to Wānaka Physio for the workshop and exercise sheets!

WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature field team photo collage

Wānaka Water Project update

Great turnout for our event last week. Thanks to everyone who came along to listen, share stories or ideas and ask great questions – community collaboration is what it’s all about!

Thanks to Dr Anika Kuczynski from NIWA for the insightful talk on modelling and research in our deep water lakes.

And Ollie Eden-Mann, our MC for the night, who is currently working through the many good ideas from the Urban Catchment workshop at the end of the night. Thanks to those who stuck around – great to see some new faces!

event photo


Drifter study in Lake Wānaka

We are excited to announce that the drifter study will commence next week – starting from Tuesday 7th June.

As part of a research study commissioned by WAI Wānaka, NIWA are studying water currents in Lake Wānaka. Several drifters may be moving throughout Roys Bay. The drifters have a drogue 1 metre below the surface with a 20cm red and white surface float. You can download a flyer with further info here.


Drifter image


WAI Wānaka at Matariki


“Matariki 2022 – an opportunity for the community of Wānaka to share, learn, and celebrate mātauranga Māori.”

Friday, the 24th of June, will mark the first public holiday to celebrate Matariki, or Māori New Year.

WAI’s education team, QLDC and other community groups will be part of Kahu Youth’s annual event at the Wānaka lakefront, with mātauranga Māori and environmental education at the heart of this inspiring community celebration.

For this year’s celebration, each community group involved will shape their event table around one of nine stars, with WAI focusing on Waitī – the star of freshwater and all living things that inhabit lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Freshwater activities such as building leaf boats and using stormwater models will be available for interested tamariki. We look forward to seeing you there!


Talk on the Wild Side – Kea Conservation Trust

Kea Conservation Trust images

Tamsin Orr-Walker will speak to us about what the Kea Conservation Trust is doing to help save our amazing native mountain parrot – the only mountain parrot in the world.

Where:      Kiwi and Bird park, Brecon Street, Queenstown
When:       Tuesday 7th June 2022 at 5:00pm

Organised by the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust.

Wānaka Matariki Celebration – Kahu Youth

Kahu Youth Matariki event poster

This year’s celebration is a great family event and is sure to warm a cold winters night! Spectators will be able to enjoy kapa haka, waiata (song), storytelling, a variety of fun-filled activities, fire displays, hangi and the evening will conclude with spectacular fireworks display. A koha (donation) is asked for the hangi.

Where:      Dinosaur Park Wānaka
When:       Saturday 25th June 2022 from 2:00pm – 7:00pm


Summer intern working on a visual soil assessment

Can you help?

Summer accommodation for our interns

WAI Wānaka are looking for accommodation options for our summer science interns from mid Nov 2022 – early Feb 2023(excluding Christmas/New Year). These interns will be working with WAI and external partners to help tell the story of tuna (long-fin eel) in our region, to better understand the species in our local wetlands and undertake habitat assessments in local urban streams.

For many of our interns coming through the Pūhoro STEM academy programme, this is their first time away from home and we are looking for safe and supportive options for these students to become ‘part of the family’ for the summer. If you would like to know more, please contact Jose: jose@waiwanaka.nz

View all blog posts >