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:0.72m (wind affected average) recorded on February 5, 2016 READ MORE >>

Latest News

No swimming at the Upper Selwyn Huts

January 22nd, 2016|

Springston resident and artist Mike Glover has had enough of the "sad state" of the Selwyn River.  In a front page article in the Central Canterbury News (Jan 20)  - which can be viewed online - [...]

Good news for Coes Ford

January 18th, 2016|

Canterbury District Health Board has lifted its algal bloom health warning issued in November 2015 for the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Coes Ford. Subsequent water testing at Coes Ford has shown the quantity of potentially toxic blue-green [...]

Te Waihora Wetland Bird Survey – volunteers needed

December 16th, 2015|

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 [...]

The Amazing Australasian Bittern

December 4th, 2015|

DOC's Threatened Species Ambassador, Nicola Toki, talked about the Australasian Bittern on the Afternoon programme on RNZ on December 4. Te Waihora is a stronghold for this nationally endangered species. There is more information about 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.