Get connected with our local community organisations

Wānaka’s blessed with a community of individuals and organisations who care for this place by going above and beyond every day to protect this place we call home.

By supporting Love Wānaka, you support their mission, and ours, of a thriving future for this place.

Read on about their mahi below!

The Aspiring Biodiversity Trust exists to protect and enhance indigenous biodiversity within the Makarora and Wilkin Catchments, from Ridge to River – whilst connecting people with nature and raising awareness for the importance of our natural world. 

The trust delivers scientific-based threatened species monitoring and evaluation, invasive predator control programmes, and environmental education – promoting endemic biodiversity restoration and enhancement within the Makarora area. 

The area is part of Mt Aspiring National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage site, and encompasses many of Aotearoa’s iconic and highly threatened species such as rock wren pīwauwau, kea and whio, and the beech/podocarp forests and braided rivers that these species rely on.

Small bird sitting on a rock

Friends of Bullock Creek is a grassroots community organisation that exists to protect and enhance the environment of Bullock Creek from headwaters to its entry point into Lake Wānaka.  

The Creek is the lifeblood of Wānaka. The spring-water comes from the Cardrona Gravel Aquifer, feeding Bullock Creek’s beautiful wetlands at the Fish & Game hatchery springs site and flowing through the residential and commercial heart of Wānaka, and ultimately into the lake. 

Bullock Creek is a big part of Wanaka’s sense of place, recreation, and wellbeing, and is very important for our cultural connections. Protecting the ecological health of the Creek and the wetlands from pollution and exotic weeds enables carbon storage, water purification and flood management; and encourages healthy ecosystems where indigenous plants, animals and fish can flourish.

Walk the beautiful boardwalk track through the wetlands or lend a hand at one of their community volunteer days.

Bullock creek stream with bridge

Grow Wānaka is a community garden and food hub supporting regional food resiliency.

They divert food scraps from landfill and use them to build healthy soil and grow nutritious kai (food) with the help of a community of volunteers. They hold regular planting sessions and working bees on weekends throughout the growing season and have a free food-waste drop-off service for households and individuals.

Check out how Grow are building community through collaboration.

Local greenhouses with lake views in the back

Plastic Free Wānaka is on a mission to help the Wānaka community reduce single-use plastics. 

PFW’s focus is to create simple waste reduction solutions for all ages, using creativity to share their message, making steps to help to save our planet fun and achievable. They love to talk about what we CAN do when it comes to waste reduction. They help to inspire, empower, and lead the way through creative initiatives, workshops, and fun events. 

SUCFree Wānaka is their community-based campaign with the ultimate goal of Wānaka becoming Aotearoa’s first single-use cup free town. Before its establishment, over one million plastic-lined, non-recyclable cups were piling into landfills each year. Twenty-four cafes and caravans in Wānaka have now implemented cup-lending schemes or libraries and 12 are completely SUCfree, saving 180,000 cups from landfill annually in this region alone.

Girl holding reusable shopping bags

Protect Our Winters (POW) connects the outdoor community to take climate action.

POW helps provide the tools, the platform, and the connections for passionate outdoors people, and anyone who loves winter to generate positive climate action. POW focuses on education and advocacy to help empower the outdoor community and create the systemic change needed to preserve New Zealand’s alpine playground, and protect the places we live and play from climate change.

POW hosts events in both Wānaka and Queenstown throughout the year and is currently advocating for electric public transport connecting Wānaka and Queenstown.

Protect our winters sign held up by two skiers

The Matukituki Charitable Trust has been established to ensure that the valley’s natural attributes and ecological treasures are protected and enhanced, now and into the future. The Trust aims to increase the population of all native flora and fauna, but particularly the endemic species that make the valley so special.

The Matukituki valleys are iconic areas of significant beauty within the Mt Aspiring National Park. Steeped in history from before the first ascent of Tititea Mt Aspiring, the West Matukituki valley is a showcase destination, drawing over 80,000 visitors a year to explore numerous tracks and routes leading from the valley floors to the high alpine peaks and glaciers the area is known for.  

Whilst this is a place for recreation – of exploring and connecting with nature – it’s vital that these valleys are protected, and that those who explore this region are conscious of the impact they’re having.

Man walking in Matukituki Valley

Te Kākano’s mission is to inspire native habitat restoration through propagation, education, and participation. 

They are assisted by hundreds of volunteers each year who support the growth of native, eco-sourced plants at their community nursery, as well as the planting and maintenance of native trees at numerous restoration sites in the Upper Clutha basin. Their work benefits the community as they engage people to care for their land and work together to regenerate te taiao (the environment); this is especially important for the younger generations as they are the ones who will continue this legacy into the future. 

Te Kākano host bi-weekly volunteer sessions at their nursery, as well as regular planting events in stunning locations throughout the Wānaka region – all are welcome. Check out the Love Wānaka events page for upcoming dates or click through to Te Kākano’s website to find out more. 

Woman planting at a local nursery.

The Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Group’s mission is to protect our outstanding natural landscapes and indigenous biodiversity from the threat of wilding trees in the Upper Clutha region.

By working collaboratively with landowners, stakeholders, and passionate locals, the group raises awareness of the issue of wildings, reduces spread, and removes seed sources.

Clutha river amongst wilding trees

WAI Wānaka’s kaupapa is to protect and enhance ecosystem health and community wellbeing in one of New Zealand’s most important and sensitive environments – the catchments of the Upper Clutha. 

By working together, they empower rural, urban and visitor communities to understand their water, their environment, and their impact. Taking a whole-of-basin approach, they encourage, utilise, and facilitate science, community action and educational programmes relating to these purposes. 

The responsibility for our waterways is especially important in this region, given our location at the headwaters of the mighty Mata-Au Clutha River. 

Man on kayak testing the water quality

Wānaka Backyard Trapping is giving the local native wildlife a hand by trapping predators around the Wānaka-Hāwea-Luggate region. 

Their aim is to see thriving populations of native wildlife (birds and skinks) in the Upper Clutha; by decreasing the numbers of introduced pests that threaten our native flora and fauna, on public land; by encouraging community trapping participation at the neighbourhood level (they even run a Trap Library); and by raising the profile of our unique flora and fauna amongst New Zealanders and travelers in the Upper Clutha area.

People making pest trapping boxes

Wao is a non-profit based in Wānaka that supports community transition to a regenerative, fair, and zero-carbon future. 

Wao’s programs and events are focused on mainstreaming sustainability and fostering diversity – not just in Wānaka but across the country. They educate, inspire, and enable collective climate action, catalyse learnings, and bring communities together for change. 

The Wao Summit in October is the Southern Lakes’ annual festival of sustainability, with six days of workshops, kōrero, films, tours and community events about creating tangible, long term social and environmental change. They also run Green Drinks every two months – an opportunity for the community to connect with important sustainability topics and each other. These events are open to everybody so bring a friend, grab your tickets and dive into a topic. 

Woman public speaking at a community event.

Wastebusters is a community enterprise leading the way to zero waste.  

Their core services include public, business, and event recycling and education, advocacy, and support for waste minimisation and plastic-free solutions. Beyond this though, Wasties has built a community for change. Their reuse store has a cult-like following – inspiring locals and travellers alike to reduce, reuse, and recycle. By shopping with them, you’re doing so without the waste and are giving valuable resources a second chance.  

Bring the family down to Wastebusters for a zero-waste experience, or, click here to hear from their team on the ins and outs of life at Wasties and why it’s deemed a local institution.

Local waste centre.