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:0.88m (average level) recorded on May 27, 2016 READ MORE >>

Latest News

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 [...]

Should Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere be exempt from National Standards?

May 2nd, 2016|

The Next Steps for Freshwater consultation document was released by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries on 20 February 2016. It contains 23 initiatives which, if adopted, would result in [...]

Stock in waterways – so what are the rules?

April 13th, 2016|

New rules for farming and other activities came into force last September when the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) became operative. In February 2016 Plan Change 1, which are the additional rules which apply in [...]

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.