There are many different community groups involved in our water

Check out more on what they’re doing!

Guardians of Lake Wānaka

The Lake Wānaka Preservation Act was enacted in 1973 to protect the natural state of Lake Wānaka. Guardians were appointed to advise the Minister of Conservation over:

  • Preventing Lake Wānaka from being impounded, controlled or obstructed;
  • Preventing the natural rate of flow from the lake from being varied or controlled;
  • Preserving the lake level and shoreline in their natural states;
  • Maintaining and improving (where possible) the quality of water in the lake.

The Guardians of Lake Wānaka report annually to the Minister of Conservation and liaise with the Otago Regional Council over matters which may affect the lake, such as resource consent applications. (See media release 19 June 2014 for more info).

The Guardians are Don Robertson (Chair), Barrie Wills, Jeff Donaldson, Taare Bradshaw, Natalie Astin and Marjorie Cook.  Calum MacLeod attends Guardians meetings as the QLDC representative.

In 2013, the Guardians of Lake Wānaka hosted “Better or Worse? Planning for the Future

Key messages from the seminar were:

  • Lake Wānaka appears currently in good condition, but changes over recent years have been noted and cause concern
  • There is insufficient data from which to determine what is happening to lake quality
  • More extensive and consistently collected data will provide a basis for scientific analysis, which in turn can guide future actions to ensure the best outcomes
  • Experience elsewhere emphasises that early action is critical, as remediation is expensive and difficult
  • The case studies presented emphasise the importance of drawing on good scientific advice and having the commitment of relevant agencies to achieve best outcomes

Guardians reports to the Minister:

Guardians of Lake Hāwea

The Guardians of Lake Hāwea aim to ensure that Lake Hāwea, its surrounds, its water quality and its biodiversity and ecosystems are maintained, and managed sustainably and safely for the benefit of all.

The Guardians of Lake Hawea are John Langley (Chair), Alison Brown, John Taylor, Jerry Burdon, Don Robertson, Jane Forsyth, Amie Capell, Jess Clarke, Jude Battson and Pip O’Connell.

The Guardians:

  • foster the development of a management plan for Lake Hāwea;
  • liaise with users/stakeholders, and statutory authorities of the lake and its catchments;
  • ensure that water levels and conditions of usage by Contact Energy are adhered to;
  • contribute to any review of lake use, including any applications for consent to use the lake and its catchments;
  • foster measurement and monitoring of lake conditions, its physical and biological properties including water quality, biodiversity, biosecurity, lake use, and lake catchment use.

Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust

A Wānaka community-based native plant nursery that specialises in propagating plants of local origin (Upper Clutha region) and uses these plants for localised native habitat restoration.  Te Kākano leads the planting workstream for the Wānaka Water Project.

Alpine Lakes Research and Education Centre

WAI Wānaka supports the community vision for pristine lakes, rivers and streams and is seeking to establish a dedicated site in Wanaka to facilitate freshwater research, support citizen science, hold workshops, provide educational displays and engage with school groups.

Shaping our Future

Working towards achieving their long term community vision of “Spectacular environments, enterprising people, exceptional solutions” in the Queenstown Lakes District community, Shaping our Future formed the Upper Clutha Freshwater taskforce in 2018.  The taskforce was comprised of volunteers from a range of backgrounds and committed to a sustainable and healthy future for freshwater.  The taskforce has completed a report reflecting the views of the Upper Clutha community and their future goals for freshwater.


The Touchstone Project represents a practical opportunity for the Lakes community to become engaged in actively helping their lake. By establishing a community project focused on what they do in, around and for the lake environment – the Touchstone Project will work to act on local initiatives and support those having a positive impact on the lake.

Friends of Bullock Creek

Bullock Creek is an important urban catchment, providing a quiet sanctuary for Wānaka residents and visitors alongside habitat for fish and birds.  Working with volunteers, Friends of Bullock Creek have constructed a walkway on land owned by Otago Fish and Game, passing through wetlands featuring significant riparian planting and winding beside Bullock Creek, a nursery for brown and rainbow trout.