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:0.62m average lake level recorded on December 2, 2016 READ MORE >>

Latest News

Te Waihora Photography Competition

December 13th, 2016|

Head out to Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and test your photography skills! Waihora Ellesmere Trust is sponsoring the Te Waihora category in the annual Little River A&P Show on Saturday January 21, 2017. There is a [...]

2017 Te Waihora Wetland Bird Survey – volunteers needed

November 17th, 2016|

Are you interested in the birds of Te Waihora? Would you like to be part of the annual count which is helping to build up a picture of bird species and numbers at this amazing [...]

Lincoln University Dairy Farm Open Day

November 7th, 2016|

Head along to Lincoln Dairy Farm and take in the displays and demonstrations and learn about the complex world of modern dairy farming and the global dairy industry as a whole: the science, the technology, [...]

A bird’s eye view of lake opening

October 17th, 2016|

The lake was opened in late September 2016 and Environment Canterbury captured some great aerial footage of the team at work. To view the short video clip, click here. The sea is relatively calm for [...]

WET Featured Articles

The WaiLW logohora Ellesmere Trust is very pleased to be working with Living Water, a partnership between DOC and Fonterra, to help achieve their goals and to further the aims of the Trust. Our ‘Living Water Updates’ page will keep you up to date with what’s happening with this exciting project.


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.