Project Title: Love Lake Wanaka 2019-2020

Funding Close Date: 18 Dec 2019 (5 months 6 days remaining)



Metres Planted:
347 m

NZD $44746.65

Location: Upper Clutha Catchment

GPS Coordinates: -44.668749, 169.068424

Project Cost: NZD $60000

Cost per Metre: NZD $129

Metres to be planted: 465m

Field Partner: Otago Regional Council

Project ID: SI8

Project Description:


Million Metres is really excited to announce that Speight’s has rolled up its sleeves to do more for waterways in the Otago region! You can read all about our partnership with Speight’s here.

In short, Speight’s has put up $120,000 over the next three years to support waterway planting projects in the Otago region along with a bunch of other support for these projects still to come! The first project on board is Love Lake Wanaka! Every new donation for Lake Wanaka will be matched by Speight’s. Make your donation now!

Love Lake Wanaka 2.0 

Love Lake Wanaka is back! In 2018 the local Wanaka community and people all around New Zealand jumped on board our Million Metres’ crowdfunding campaign and helped us raise an amazing $60,000! With that we’ve planted 4,500 plants but we’ve got lots more to do. 

This time round we’re looking to raise another $60,000 which will allow us to complete the next stage of planting. We want to plant 5,000 plants at a selection of sites which will create nearly 2,500 square metres of riparian margin. Research has demonstrated that riparian planting is more beneficial with a wide margin. Therefore, with a mix of sites and situations, we conservatively estimated the number of metres that we will be able to plant out with the funds raised: 465m.

We will be planting throughout the Upper Clutha catchment and head back to Glendhu wetland and Wishbone falls among other sites. 

Please help us protect the precious waterways around Wanaka for generations to come. Read on to learn about our project.


The Otago region is blessed with abundant freshwater generated in the Southern Alps. It sustains the region’s recreation, tourism, agriculture and hydroelectric dams and is the source of all drinking water for the area.

The Upper Clutha Lakes Trust is a group of passionate individuals and organisations working to ensure the lakes and waterways in this area are clean and healthy for generations to come. We have community-wide representation, including all of the agencies charged with looking after our water. An agreed vision enabled a successful Ministry for the Environment application to the Freshwater Improvement Fund. Our proposal relies on the support of crowd funding to plant along our waterways.


Our goal is to plant 24,000 native trees and plants along waterways in the Upper Clutha catchment between 2018 and 2022! Planting native trees and plants helps stabilise the banks of waterways to reduce pollution and sediment. The trees shade the water, lowering water temperatures. They provide habitat and sustenance for native birds and fish.

This is part of a larger multi-year project supported by the Ministry for the Environment to develop a district wide plan for managing the future long-term health of these waterways.


We’re raising funds now to support the next stage of planting.  

We’re collecting lots of native seed so that we can grow eco-sourced seedlings in Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust’s community nursery.

Many costs are embedded in the plant costs including: the plants, materials such as compost and fertiliser, preparation of the sites, and due to the unique Otago conditions, post care such as rabbit fencing, watering and releasing. 15% will go to Million Metres for their administration of the website and assistance with the fundraising.

Every business, resident and visitor to Wanaka and the Upper Clutha Catchment benefits from our freshwater lakes and waterways.

It will take all of us to help take care of this special place.

Your support of this fundraiser will help to protect the small streams and tributaries and provide native habitat for our native birds and insects. This will help ensure our rivers and lakes are healthy, enriching our lives for years to come.

We will provide our donors with reports on our progress. And we’d love to have you at a planting day or at our regular volunteer sessions at the Te Kākano nursery.


The Clutha River or Mata-Au starts at Lake Wanaka and flows south across the Otago region to the Pacific Ocean south west of Dunedin.

It’s the longest river in the South Island and the second longest river in the whole country. It has the highest flow, with twice the volume of water as the Waikato. Three quarters of the Clutha’s plentiful water comes from the Upper Clutha catchment. The Upper Clutha is made up of the streams and rivers feeding into lakes Wanaka and Hawea and includes the upper reaches of the Clutha River to below the Luggate Creek.

Lake Wanaka is New Zealand’s fourth largest lake. It is fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers and to a lesser extent Bullock Creek that runs through Wanaka township as well as the Minaret Burn, Albert Burn and Rumbling Burn.
The headwaters of the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers start in the Southern Alps and are primarily fed by permanent glaciers. The Matukituki flows through Mt Aspiring National Park before reaching the lake. The Makarora River starts near Haast Pass.

The healthy, pristine water that flows out of the ranges underpins the identity of the region and contributes immensely to the lifestyle enjoyed by the residents of the lake communities around Wanaka. It underpins the economy of these communities and draws visitors from around New Zealand and the world.


There are increasing pressures on these waterways. They include intensification in agriculture and horticulture, rapid urban development and a growing population, along with increased visitors and tourism.

Agriculture is an economic driver around the region and has intensified over the last 40 years.

There are approximately 4,000 residences in Wanaka and there is consent for 3,000 more. This development will increase run-off and grow the stormwater footprint of the town.

Tourism and visitor numbers to the area continue to grow. This benefits the economy, but it also means that more people are interacting with local waterways and it is difficult for waste disposal services to keep up with the growth.

This growth and development is beginning to show some impacts. Lake Wanaka already has three introduced “pests” (Didymo, Lake Snow and Lagarosiphon) and we don’t want any more! Lake snow is an invasive algae that fouls fishing lines and clogs water filters. It is becoming more prevalent in Lake Wanaka each summer. Its cause is unknown, however the organism has been imported through tourism or agri-tourism.


In 2018, we raised $60,000 to support our planting efforts! Thanks to the amazing individuals and businesses that supported our fundraiser.

The funds allowed us to start planting in winter 2018 and we planted over 1,000 trees.

We will plant another 3,500 plants at the start of the 2019 planting season! This will equate to approximately 465 metres along a waterway with 2 plants per square metre. That’s an approximate area of 2300 square metres.

Two of the main planting sites in 2019 are Wishbone Falls and Glendhu Wetland.

At Wishbone Falls, we’re partnering with Mt Aspiring Station, (supported by Aspiring Environmental, Fish and Game and Forest and Bird) to create the planting plan. Wishbone Falls is at the entrance of the Mt Aspiring National Park (49km from Wanaka and partly on a gravel road). Mt Aspiring station have set aside some land for regeneration near the access track to the falls. In 2018, we did a test planting to see if the young plants would survive through a harsh winter. They did very well – so in 2019, we’ll plant roughly 1,000 plants at this site.

Glendhu Wetland Wildlife Reserve is a Department of Conservation managed reserve which is otherwise known as Scaife’s lagoon. It is part of an ice-scoured flat shelf that has formed around a 300m contour where the Wanaka – Aspiring Road is located. The elevated rocky outcrops prevent the drainage of water – which has created the wetland. It contains Raupo (Typha Orientalis) and is an important habitat for waterfowl for breeding, feeding and resting.

There are also other sites that will receive plants in 2019 such as the Hawea River track, Beacon Point, Albert Town lagoon and lower Bullock Creek.


There are many individuals, organisations and government agencies working together on this.

Upper Clutha Lakes Trust – Is a community body focused on the protection, preservation and restoration of the Upper Clutha waterways. We use science to help individuals, groups and commercial entities understand the changes in water quality over time. Through projects, we create opportunities for water users and the community to help solve water problems together.

Otago Regional Council – is responsible for managing Otago’s land, air and water resources on behalf of the community. ORC is the agency holding the contract with the Ministry for the Environment for the Freshwater Improvement Fund (FIF) project, on behalf of the Upper Clutha Lakes Trust.

Catchments Otago, Otago University – aims to help protect threatened landscapes and support equitable and appropriate land and water management in Otago. Catchments Otago will run the Applied Research component of the FIF project.

Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust – The trust is a community-based native plant nursery. It specialises in propagating plants of Upper Clutha origin for local habitat restoration. Te Kākano works with local community groups, schools, organisations and businesses in the effort to promote hands-on community land care.

Queenstown Lakes District Council – makes decisions alongside and on behalf of the people living in this district. In relation to this project, it manages the sewerage, water and stormwater infrastructure, and many of the parks and reserves around water, as well as the harbour master.


Photos for this page have been kindly supplied by Lake Wanaka Tourism, Wanaka Photography, Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust and Discover Wanaka.

Thanks to all of the amazing photographers that are helping us to share this beautiful place.



Speight’s support for Love Lake Wanaka is part of their commitment to supporting waterway restoration in the Otago region over the next three years. Speight’s is contributing at least $120,000 to support planting efforts in the region, starting in the Upper Clutha Catchment (Wanaka) down to Speight’s local home town of Dunedin. Visitors to the Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin will also be able to donate to the cause when they go on a brewery tour or take fresh water from the infamous Speight’s Tap. And once fundraising is complete Speight’s will be hosting a big family friendly planting day to help get all those trees in the ground! 

Progress Photos: