Four incredible organisations are set to receive some much-needed support following Love Wānaka’s inaugural grants round, and we couldn’t be more excited to share them with you.

Each year, Love Wānaka raises funds with the support of our passionate business community and our visitors, allowing us to make a difference for those leading the protection and regeneration of our environment.

Love Wānaka’s funding is all about supporting an array of diverse yet complementary efforts – all of which are important in ensuring this place thrives. This includes native revegetation efforts, waterway health programmes, and biodiversity and pest eradication projects.

Now, let’s introduce you to this year’s impact initiatives!

Te Kākano Aotearoa – Nurturing Native Habitats

Te Kākano’s vision is for Aotearoa’s communities to connect with their land, making collaboration and partnership the heart of their work. Since 2008, they have been leaders in habitat restoration and community land care, working with numerous community groups, schools, businesses, youth organisations and individuals to bring their vision to life. In Wānaka, they’re mavericks – no other community group leads native habitat restoration projects on public land.

This $10,000 Love Wānaka grant will support Te Kākano’s ongoing efforts in this space, enabling their team to continue leading this important mahi on the ground.

“Te Kākano is honoured to be an inaugural recipient of Love Wānaka community grant funding!” says Carrie Williams, Chair. “This funding is absolutely integral to Te Kākano delivering on its mahi of inspiring community native habitat planting through propagation, education, and hands-on participation. There are strong synergies between the destination management objectives of the Love Wānaka Community Fund and Te Kākano’s vision, and we look forward to continuing to partner with Love Wānaka”.

Two women volunteering at a nursery

Wānaka Backyard Trapping – Combatting Predators

Wānaka Backyard Trapping has been granted $7,500 to support ongoing predator control efforts. As a region, we urgently need to reduce pest numbers, as over 35 native species in the area are threatened with extinction. Predators in rural and urban areas pose a significant threat, and left unencumbered, could spell the end for many of our precious taoka (treasured) species.

“We are thrilled that Wānaka Backyard Trapping has received generous funding and support from Love Wānaka,” says the organisation. “This support will mean we can expand our efforts to reduce predator numbers, and help us deliver on our mission to protect and restore the native biodiversity of our beautiful region.

Wānaka Backyard Trapping is continually adding new traps and trap lines. We now have well over 100 volunteers managing 900 traps, often hiking long distances through thick bush, up steep mountains, and in blazing sun or freezing conditions in order to help create a safe environment for our wildlife.

This funding will enable us to service our existing traps, and add additional lines to enhance our trapping network. We are deeply grateful to Love Wānaka for their commitment to conservation and their belief in our vision”.


WAI Wānaka – Safeguarding Freshwater Ecosystems

WAI Wānaka has received $7,920 to support their “Our Drains are Streams” project. WAI Wānaka’s purpose is to accelerate community action for fresh water, achieving a vision of healthy ecosystems and community wellbeing for future generations. Their work involves collaboration with individuals, visitors, catchment groups, landowners, councils, businesses, community groups, and schools to improve ecosystem health, reverse biodiversity loss, and maintain healthy waters.

“Community-driven projects have a unique power to bring people together and make a real difference…working alongside our community to create meaningful projects that leave a lasting impact on our environment”, says John Rodwell, WAI’s Chair. “We’re grateful for Love Wānaka’s support – helping us accelerate action for our fresh waterways”.

The “Our Drains are Streams” programme addresses urban development pressures identified in the 2020 Upper Clutha Community Catchment Plan, such as water pollution, drought, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and habitat loss. The programme provides opportunities for individuals, neighbours, businesses, and visitors to reduce negative impacts on stormwater drains. Activities include adopting a drain, community events, educational materials, and installing LittaTraps™. These efforts are essential for protecting the headwaters of the Mata-au / Clutha River and ensuring the health of our beautiful lakes and waterways.

Ripple on lake Wānaka at dusk

Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Group – Protecting our Iconic Landscapes

The Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Group (UCWTG) is another recipient, receiving $10,000 to support their work protecting our outstanding natural landscapes and indigenous biodiversity from the threat of wilding tree species. Their mission is crucial for maintaining the native flora and fauna of our rohe / region.

UCWTG aims to remove a small stand of wilding conifers from the front face of Mt Roy, which are spreading seedlings across the otherwise wilding-free mountain. This project will have a significant visual impact and prevent a potential outbreak of conifer seedlings. Protecting the habitats of native plant species ensures they have every opportunity to thrive in a region under undue threat from invasive species.

Rob Phillips, UCWTG Chair, says: “We are so thrilled to receive this funding – it is a real boost for our young group and will go a long way to preserving our iconic landscapes in the Upper Clutha”

Large_PNG-Wanaka-The-Camp-glamping-ShanBawden 05

Doing it for the future

Our focus from day one has been on the future: how can we be good tupuna / ancestors and lay the foundations for a thriving home long after we are gone. In addition to the grants awarded this year, $8,500 has been invested into the Love Wānaka Endowment Fund, with twenty percent of everything we raise enabling long-term, substantial funding opportunities that will benefit this place for generations to come.

These funds are invested with support from our charitable partners at the Wakatipu Community Foundation (WCF).

“For our community to reach its goals, we must be innovative, dedicated, and focused. Love Wānaka is an excellent example of this – demonstrating the power of collaboration and the immense potential we have to benefit our communities indefinitely” – Jennifer Belmont, Chief Executive WCF.


And of course, a thank you

A big (big!) thank you goes out to our local business community and our visitors for supporting our mission of a thriving, regenerative future for our environment, and for making these grants a reality. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do, and we couldn’t be more proud of the impact we’ve made in just one year thanks to our supporters.

Big or small, every little bit of love goes a long way.


To continue supporting meaningful mahi in our region, we invite you to donate and join us in our mission to protect and regenerate Wānaka’s precious natural environment.