Providing a Centre that will support the health of the Alpine Lakes.


  • Develop the facility
  • Establish a thriving research and education centre
  • Provide information resources on freshwater ecology and management

The Imperative

southern_great_lakes_chainThe scope of the project is the chain of South Island Alpine Lakes and their watersheds.

Currently the Southern Great Lakes are virtually unstudied; their management needs are poorly understood. Nearest research and accommodation facilities are 3.5 hours away limiting the research potential

In a very fast growing region and consequent ecological pressures, the lakes have major ecological and economic values of importance to residents and tourists alike.

Current pressures

  • Land use intensification, rural and urban
  • Climate change and unknown impacts
  • Hydro-developments
  • Invasive species (lagarosiphon, lake snot…)
  • Synergistic effects of all the above

The Opportunity

This is community initiative to help ensure the Lakes do not degrade and to restore and utilise a potential ecological gem near the heart of Wanaka.

The site is Fish and Game ex-hatchery, unused for 10 years, containing the springs and headwaters of Bullock Creek that runs through Wanaka with its surrounding wetland

The projects aims to:

  • Provide a first class facility for lakes researchers from throughout NZ and overseas
  • Provide a exemplar of science involvement and information transfer to the local community, stakeholders and schools
  • Generate knowledge of the lakes to guide their kaitiaki and protection for the long-term


September 2016 – Community based Trust Lake Wanaka Trust formed to develop and manage the Centre

June 2016 – Heads of Agreement with Otago Fish and Game for the use of the land

June 2016 – Centre facilities identified and a concept design for the main buildings and accommodation

Date XX – MoU with University of Otago for their non-exclusive use and assistance with fund-raising

August 2015 – Group formed to set up the project

May 2015 – Project exploration