WET is a community organisation dedicated to the improvement of the health and biodiversity of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and its catchment.

Lake is currently:CLOSED Latest lake level reading:0.65 m (estimated level) recorded on July 18, 2016 READ MORE >>

Latest News

The Living Lake Research and Monitoring Fund

July 1st, 2016|

The Waihora Ellesmere Trust has established a new fund to support small scale research and monitoring which contributes in a meaningful way to the integrated monitoring of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and to reporting on the ‘State [...]

The Brown Trout Fishery of the Lake and Tributaries

June 8th, 2016|

We were delighted to welcome Trevor Isitt and Alan Strong from Fish &Game NZ to our June 2016 Trust meeting. Trevor spoke briefly about the history of F&G, and its predecessor the Acclimatisation Society. Alan, [...]

Trust meeting coming up – all welcome

May 24th, 2016|

The WET Trustees meet 4 times a year and anyone who is interested is very welcome to come along to our meetings (and also very welcome to get more involved in the work of the [...]

Critter of the Week – the Inanga

May 13th, 2016|

There are a number of known inanga spawning sites around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and modelling done by Environment Canterbury suggests that there are potential spawning sites on many of the waterways that flow into the [...]

WET Featured Articles

2015 report

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere: State of the Lake 2015

A new report, released in November 2015, gives an overview of the health of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and changes over the last two years since the previous report. Topics covered include governance and management, land and water, flora and fauna, economy, recreation and cultural health.



Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere: State of the Lake 2013

A report, released in early November 2013, brings together information about the state of the land, water, wildlife, recreation, cultural health and more to create a snapshot of the state of the lake.



Sustainable Drains – an important focus for the trust

The land surrounding Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere has many natural springs and streams, modified waterways and constructed drainage channels. These combine to form a complex interconnected network and ultimately flow into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.


Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere

Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere, one of New Zealand’s most important wetland systems, is a brackish, shallow lagoon with an average depth of 1.4m. Covering around 20,000 hectares, Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere, which lies just to the south of Banks Peninsula, is New Zealand’s fifth largest lake and is internationally significant for its wildlife abundance and diversity. The total number of bird species recorded at the lake is 167, with at least 37 species breeding. 43 species of fish have been recorded in the lake.

Acknowledging the past and looking to the future, we:


Enhancing understanding, awareness and the value of the Lake through education programmes, newsletters, and field days.



Promoting better management practices through public seminars and by partnering with private landowners, community groups and government agencies.



Providing opportunities and encouragement for people to get actively involved in projects to rehabilitate the ecosystem through riparian and wetland enhancement.