The Southern Lakes Sanctuary

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary protects an unrivalled array of natural taonga in the breath-taking catchments of Lakes Wānaka and Whakatipu. It does this through enduring partnerships with local community groups, iwi, business and government.

The Sanctuary enriches the historical and cultural value of our region by conserving, restoring, and protecting ecosystems and building resilience in wildlife populations – including 35 species now threatened with extinction in this area. The Sanctuary also seeks to sustain and create livelihoods and recreational opportunities for present and future generations.

About us


A Southern Lakes Sanctuary of spectacular mountains, lakes and rivers, with thriving ecosystems and abundant wildlife that is enjoyed by people who treasure this whenua puiaki.

Latest Publications

To view past project updates and other reports click here.


Southern Lakes Sanctuary Project Update V

Download our Project Update for latest developments and an update on the project goals over the next few years.

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Southern Lakes Sanctuary Project Update IV

We have so many exciting developments to share with you in our latest Project Update.

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Cryptic brown gecko
Orange spotted gecko © Carey Knox

Beautiful, but not safe

The spectacular landforms and extraordinary biodiversity in the catchments of Lakes Wānaka and Whakatipu are of global significance and are fundamental to the cultural identity and wellbeing of local people and whenua puiaki for mana whenua. But rather than being a place of refuge and safety for indigenous wildlife, these mountains, lakes and rivers are overrun with predators that wreak havoc, with over 30 native species now at risk of extinction.

Sanctuary Overview About Predators

More than a dawn chorus…

Imagine a Southern Lakes Sanctuary where not only is the dawn chorus once again heard in the mountains and in our backyards, but where lizards, bats and ‘bugs’ flourish in the places where they are now in retreat. Such a vision can be achieved by first reducing predator numbers and then eradicating them from hundreds of thousands of hectares.

Technical Approach Biodiversity
Weevil © Mo Turnbull / Forest & Bird
© Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve / WWT

Opportunities to work with or support the Southern Lakes Sanctuary

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary aims to not only protect our natural taonga but to improve human wellbeing through significant job creation and spending in the local economy, while providing opportunities for uplifting natural experiences. Join our dynamic team, become a business or community partner or donate to support our mission…

Get Involved

Consortium Members

Forest and Bird
Matukituki Charitable Trust
Mahu Whenua
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust
Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust
Wanaka Backyard Trapping

To learn more about the members of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary consortium, click here.

Project Partners

Jobs for nature Mahi mo te taiao
Department of Conservation
AJ Hackett Bungy
Central Lakes Trust