Project Title: Love our Alpine Lakes

Funding Close Date: 28 Jan 2022 (3 months 8 days remaining)



Metres Planted:
354 m

NZD $35418.2

Location: Upper Clutha Catchment, Otago

GPS Coordinates: -44.660285 , 169.133846

Project Cost: NZD $60000

Cost per Metre: NZD $100

Metres to be planted: 600m

Field Partner: Otago Regional Council

Project ID: SI13

Project Description:

funding boost from the body shop 

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to Love our Alpine Lakes during our recent winter planting season campaign. Over the 2 months, they received a total of 118 donations, totally over $20,000! This meant that Love our Alpine Lakes came out on top with the most individual donations throughout the campaign, winning them an $8,000 funding boost kindly donated by The Body Shop. 


Wow, thanks to all of your donations, we’ve unlocked all $10,000 of match funding! Ka pai! 

A huge thank you from the team at WAI Wanaka to everyone that donated – the level of support from our community has been incredible!!!


We have a new matching opportunity: Thanks to a generous individual donor, all donations to this project will now be matched up to $10,000! 

So, donate today and your impact will be doubled! 

Love our Alpine Lakes

Lakes Wānaka and Hāwea are two of the largest lakes in the Otago region. The natural beauty surrounding the lakes attracts many visitors to the region.  Visitors and locals alike use these lakes, and the rivers, streams and creeks that feed them, for a variety of activities, including fishing, boating, hiking and skiing.  The prominent location of the lakes in the middle of the Upper Clutha catchment captures water from across 4,600 km2 of conservation, public and private lands.

Here at WAI Wānaka, we understand that the quality of the water in our lakes starts well before the water reaches them.  Increasing rural and urban development pressures, alongside an intensification in the agriculture sector and recreational use is resulting in increased runoff, with contaminants and sediments ending up in our lakes. By planting along our waterways, we can reduce the level of contaminants and sediments making their way into our precious alpine lakes. Planting along rivers and streams not only helps to filter runoff, but also increases habitat for all of the critters and fish that call this area home.

The combination of native beech forests, braided rivers, wetlands and glacier-fed lakes create very unique ecosystems. They are home to a variety of rare bird species including but not limited to the Kea, Kakariki, Black Swans and Grebes. They are also home to the rare native fish species Kōaro (one of five white bait species ‘at risk’ for extinction), the Common Bully and the Long Fin Eel (Tuna).

Ki Uta ki tai (From the mountains to the sea)

The water in this catchment is not just important for its residents. Its quality has a huge impact on people living downstream. These lakes supply the Clutha River, New Zealand’s second largest river in length and largest by volume. The Clutha/Mata-Au starts at the bottom of Lake Wānaka and flows south-east across the Otago region for 338km to the Pacific Ocean, coming out south-west of Dunedin. Almost three quarters of the mighty Clutha’s water comes from the Upper Clutha catchment.

About us

Wānaka Water Project

The goal of the Wānaka Water Project ‘Love our Alpine Lakes’ is to plant 24,000 native trees and plants along waterways in the Upper Clutha catchment by 2023. We plant eco-sourced native species seedlings. Most are grown from the locally based Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust’s community nursery.

Our work starts well before the plant goes into the ground. We ensure that the ground is suitable, fencing is in place and that the right plants will be put in the most effective locations.

Planting provides a large number of benefits to waterways, including:

  • Stabilising the river or stream banks and reducing pollution and sediment run-off.
  • Shading the river or stream lowering the water temperature, which is beneficial to our native species.
  • Providing new habitat and sustenance for native bird and fish species.

Thanks to the support of generous individuals and businesses, we’ve already run three successful crowd funding campaigns: two ‘Love Lake Wanaka’ campaigns and our most recent, ‘Cardrona Kaitiaki’.

The funds raised so far have made it possible to plant 16,042 plants equating to 5,004 metres of planting along our local waterways!

This year we have a goal to raise $60,000. These funds will support planting an additional 6,000 plants and trees along 600 metres of waterways. The funding supports the cost of 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% of the funds raised will go to the Million Metres Streams Project. The team at Million Metres keep the website running, connect projects with funding, resources and people, and share the overall impact of the programme.

WAI Wānaka

WAI Wānaka was formed to safeguard our local waterways. We are a group of passionate individuals and organisations working to ensure that the lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers in this area remain clean and healthy for generations to come. We have community-wide representation, including all of the agencies charged with looking after our water. The Wānaka Water Project relies on the support of the funds raised from individuals and businesses on this page  to plant along local waterways.

Want to get involved or find out more? Visit


There are countless individuals, organisations and government agencies working together on this, however these are some of the major ones:

  • Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust 
  • WAI Wānaka 
  • Otago Regional Council 
  • Catchments Otago, Otago University 
  • Queenstown Lakes District Council 


Every business, resident and visitor to Wānaka, Hāwea and the Upper Clutha benefits from our freshwater lakes and waterways. It will take all of us to help take care of this special place. Donations are critical to help us achieve our goals, but there are other ways you can get involved, you could:

… donate your time to a planting day or a regular session at the Te Kākano nursey. Find out more at

… go for a walk to one our sites and pull out some of those unnecessary weeds or help to water the plants. Make sure to send us a picture!


Thanks to all of the amazing photographers that are helping us to share this beautiful place. Special thanks to Geoff Perry, Stephen Jaquiery, Sam Judd and others who have so brilliantly captured these waterways and shared their photos with us.