A task force has been set up in Wanaka to create more
co-ordination and collaboration between the dozens of groups
each working on their own conservation projects.
Chairwoman of the newly formed Upper Clutha Conservation
Taskforce, Megan Williams, this week told the Otago Daily
Times the task force was the result of a public meeting
in May held as part of the region's Shaping our Future
It was attended by various conservation groups ''just to try
and get some vision and strategy around what people were
doing and encourage more collaboration'', Ms Williams said.
Data collected from the meeting was being developed into the
task force's terms of reference, and a ''draft vision'' was
being formed using existing material as a starting point.
''We're just trying to think long-term and lead the groups to
develop a shared vision,'' Ms Williams said.
Butterfields Wetlands next to the Hawea River, near Albert
Town, had three different conservation groups working on it,
''which haven't actually agreed on what they want the place
to look like in the future''.
One group was planting trees and another was planning to
build a track.
There were also five groups working in the Matukituki Valley
and ''they haven't really been collaborating''.
''So I believe since the meeting in May a group of them have
got together ... It's just encouraging a little bit more
collaboration there to get more done.''
Long term, everyone agreed on the need for ''pristine water
and pristine air'', Ms Williams said.
But the question was how to ensure those things were
Asked about the prospect of another 1400 woodburners being
installed in the proposed Northlake subdivision of Wanaka, Ms
Williams said the task force would ''try and stay out of the
political process at that level and really try to stay
big-picture on conservation issues''.
''All we are looking at doing is leading a discussion with
the Upper Clutha groups to develop a shared vision so that
everyone can work together.''
It was hoped to have a conservation strategy prepared before
the end of the year.
Already it seemed clear more water, soil and air monitoring
needed to be undertaken.
''Whether that's done by volunteers or whether we do that by
lobbying the local authorities - that's the type of action we
will be hoping for.''
Data was needed to establish ''base lines, so that we know
where we are at'', Ms Williams said.
The task force would not be taking over the roles of other
conservation groups but would be complementing what they did.
Ms Williams, originally from Dunedin, has a background in
tourism, and teaches sustainable tourism at the Queenstown
The members of the task force are: John Wellington, Robbie
Lawton, Anne Steven, Andrew Penniket, Calum MacLeod, Natalie
Astin, Alexa Forbes and representatives from the Lake Wanaka
Guardians and Department of Conservation.