Our mission

WAI is the Māori word for water. It also stands for Water Action Initiative. This is an organisation where people who want to safeguard the health of alpine waterways build communities that do.

By harnessing science, rallying the community and engaging with our stakeholders, we hope to protect the health and wellbeing of our lakes and rivers for future generations.

History

Lake Wānaka Trust was established in September 2016 by the Guardians of Lake Wānaka with the objective to safeguard and enhance the health and water quality of Lake Wānaka and its catchment water sources. As a registered charity, it also acted as an umbrella organisation for community groups.

The Upper Clutha Water Group, made up of community members and agencies associated with the Upper Clutha region, was established in mid-2016 to facilitate linkages between different groups concerned about water management or carrying out water projects in the region.

In April 2018, the Lake Wānaka Trust merged with the Upper Clutha Water Group to form Upper Clutha Lakes Trust (UCLT).  The two groups were aligned in their goals to safeguard the long-term water quality and health of our lakes and rivers.

In January 2020, UCLT changed its name to WAI Wānaka. WAI stands for Water Action Initiative.

WAI team

It takes a village to raise a child and a community to protect what we love. Meet the WAI team. (Arranged in alphabetical order)

Aiden Nissen

Jobs for Nature Crew

Aiden Nissen

Jobs for Nature Crew

Alice Kay

Jobs for Nature Crew

Alice Kay

Jobs for Nature Crew

Anitra Fraser

Data Analyst

Anitra Fraser

Data Analyst

Ash Rabel

Science Coordinator

Ash Rabel

Science Coordinator

Bryn Morrison

Jobs for Nature Crew

Bryn Morrison

Jobs for Nature Crew

Cathy Patoine

Jobs for Nature Crew

Cathy Patoine

Jobs for Nature Crew

Emberley Wetherall

Jobs for Nature Crew

Emberley Wetherall

Jobs for Nature Crew

Emily Scott

Jobs for Nature Crew

Emily Scott

Jobs for Nature Crew

Jenny Bullock

Jobs for Nature Crew

Jenny Bullock

Jobs for Nature Crew

Jess Garland

Jobs for Nature Crew

Jess Garland

Jobs for Nature Crew

Jose Cranfield

Volunteer

Jose Cranfield

Volunteer

Julia Greeks

Volunteer

Julia Greeks

Volunteer

Julie Perry

WAI Manager

Julie Perry

WAI Manager

Kate Sheehy

Jobs for Nature Crew

Kate Sheehy

Jobs for Nature Crew

Katie Hart

ALREC Project Manager

Katie Hart

ALREC Project Manager

Katie Radley

Jobs for Nature Crew

Katie Radley

Jobs for Nature Crew

Kelly Humphries

Jobs for Nature Project Support

Kelly Humphries

Jobs for Nature Project Support

Kyle Learmonth

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Kyle Learmonth

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Kylie Laurie

Jobs for Nature Crew

Kylie Laurie

Jobs for Nature Crew

Maddy Thompson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Maddy Thompson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Madi Oakes

Jobs for Nature Crew

Madi Oakes

Jobs for Nature Crew

Matt Shepherd

Wānaka Water Project Manager

Matt Shepherd

Wānaka Water Project Manager

Megan Williams

Community Connector

Megan Williams

Community Connector

Merle Sea

Comms & Design Coordinator

Merle Sea

Comms & Design Coordinator

Nic Alloo

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nic Alloo

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nick Bowker-Napp

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nick Bowker-Napp

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nicky Davis

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nicky Davis

Jobs for Nature Supervisor

Nina Rongokea

Jobs for Nature Crew

Nina Rongokea

Jobs for Nature Crew

Ollie Hoare

Jobs for Nature Crew

Ollie Hoare

Jobs for Nature Crew

Prue Kane

Jobs for Nature Manager

Prue Kane

Jobs for Nature Manager

Rachel Cooper

Community Activator

Rachel Cooper

Community Activator

Richie Laming

Jobs for Nature Crew

Richie Laming

Jobs for Nature Crew

Rose Gerard

Jobs for Nature Crew

Rose Gerard

Jobs for Nature Crew

Sally Hudson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Sally Hudson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Sarah Adamson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Sarah Adamson

Jobs for Nature Crew

Sarah Jamieson

Catchment Group Coordinator

Sarah Jamieson

Catchment Group Coordinator

Sarah Taylor

Human Resource & Health and Safety Manager

Sarah Taylor

Human Resource & Health and Safety Manager

Shannon Bennett

Jobs for Nature Crew

Shannon Bennett

Jobs for Nature Crew

Silvia Yardley

Jobs for Nature Crew

Silvia Yardley

Jobs for Nature Crew

Simon Wolf

Jobs for Nature Crew

Simon Wolf

Jobs for Nature Crew

TJ Jacques

Jobs for Nature Crew

TJ Jacques

Jobs for Nature Crew

Tom Allen

Jobs for Nature Crew

Tom Allen

Jobs for Nature Crew

Tony McCall

Jobs for Nature Crew

Tony McCall

Jobs for Nature Crew

Trustees

We believe the more hands and minds working together towards the same goal, the greater the outcome. Our team of trustees come from a range of backgrounds in science, local government, academia, community fundraising and more.

Dr Amanda Bell

Chair

Dr Amanda Bell

Chair

Mandy is an experienced director and business owner in the primary sector, veterinary, biotec and tourism industries. Her focus is One Health, the optimal integrated health of water, environment, animals and people, and in integrating science and technology to create roadmaps and actions to deliver on future thinking and vision.  She chairs the MfE-funded Wānaka Water Project and DINZ/MPI Passion to Profit programmes and was a member of the Freshwater Leaders Group which assisted Ministers to develop national freshwater quality policy.

Criffel Station is home base for Mandy, husband Jerry and their three children.  Having grown up on farming properties in Otago and Canterbury, Mandy holidayed with family for many years in Wānaka, underpinning her passion for helping to ensure that future generations continue to enjoy local waterways in the same way.

Dr Don Robertson

Trustee

Dr Don Robertson

Trustee

Don is the Chair of Guardians of Lake Wānaka and a member of Guardians of Lake Hāwea. His background includes 40 years in marine fisheries science & management, marine ecology, biodiversity and biosecurity. He held senior research and management roles in NZ Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries & NZ National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA), including NIWA Vessels Ltd. Don led the campaign to design, fund and build the NIWA research vessel “Tangaroa”, commissioned in 1991.

Don was the NZ member on the Governing Board of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, as a member of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System Management Committee & Node Manager for the Southwestern Pacific Ocean (part of the global Census of Marine Life programme). He has also served on a number of government and Royal Society research committees.

Jeff Donaldson

Trustee

Jeff Donaldson

Trustee

Jeff is a Biosecurity/Biodiversity specialist managing his own environmental company. He has been a senior Environmental Manager in central and local government and has been involved in freshwater management at both government levels for over 30 years, with a strong passion for the preservation of the lakes of the South Island.

Jeff is a response manager for biosecurity incursions and acted as the National Operations manager for the Didymo incursion. He has been involved with Mycoplasma bovis since November 2017. He is a trained Civil Defence Response Manager for QLDC. Jeff’s passion for the Upper Clutha waterways extends to his role in the QLDC Harbourmaster team, patrolling and educating on the lakes and rivers in the region.

Calum Macleod

Trustee

Calum Macleod

Trustee

Calum has been involved in a number of roles since coming to Wanaka but is best known for starting the iconic Paradiso Cinema in Wanaka. Calum was elected as a Wanaka Councilor on the Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2013. He was reelected to the QLDC in 2016 and 2019.

Calum’s current QLDC roles include: Deputy Mayor, Deputy Chair, Infrastructure Committee, Liaison with the Guardians of Lake Wanaka, Member of the Lake Wanaka Lagarosiphon Management Committee, Liaison with the Upper Clutha A&P Society and Liaison with the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce.

Kate Scott

Trustee

Kate Scott

Trustee

Kate, a resource management planner by trade is an Executive Director of Landpro Limited. Kate lives in Bannockburn with her husband and three young sons, where they enjoy all that Central Otago has to offer. In 2018, Kate was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, which enabled her to undertake a period of international travel and study, completing a research paper entitled ‘Enabling Better Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture’. Kate is interested in facilitating community engagement and change from the ‘ground–up’. As a trustee of Wai Wānaka, Kate is able to bring these skills to the governance table, to help support the fantastic initiatives run by the Trust in the interest of achieving integrated catchment management across the Upper Clutha.

Jo Appleyard

Trustee

Jo Appleyard

Trustee

Jo is a Christchurch based partner at Chapman Tripp, focusing on commercial, employment and resource management matters. Jo is a skilled litigator and resource management specialist with over 20 years’ experience specialising in energy and natural resources and environment and resource management matters.

Andrew Gawith

Co-opt

Andrew Gawith

Co-opt

Andrew has a master’s degree in agricultural economics and founded Infometrics in 1983, together with Gareth Morgan.  Alongside his wealth of economic knowledge and business acumen, Andrew  leads the Morgan Foundation’s rivers project with the aim of improving the health of New Zealand’s rivers.

Stakeholders

We couldn’t do what we do without the combined effort, help and support of our amazing Stakeholders and the Upper Clutha community. Thank you for your continued belief and support!