Love Queenstown Announces First Funding Recipients

Love Queenstown is excited to announce the recipients of its inaugural funding round, made possible by the generous support from our donors throughout the visitor industry.

Three climate, conversation and biodiversity organisations will receive grants totalling more than $25,000, furthering their meaningful work in the Queenstown-Lakes region and supporting our mission – and theirs – of a thriving future for our environment. 

Read on to find out more about these initiatives and the inspiring organisations behind them, and if you want to support more of this work in the future, find out how you can join the mission today.

Whakatipu Reforestation Trust - $9,135 Slope Hill Restoration Efforts

The Whakatipu Reforestation Trust is on a mission to restore native biodiversity in the Whakatipu Basin through native revegetation efforts, education, and advocacy. Their aim is to empower the community to protect and regenerate its one-of-a-kind environment and halt the ongoing loss of native vegetation in the Queenstown-Lakes region. With 90% of our indigenous plant cover already lost, their mission could not be more critical.

In March 2024, 7,000 trees were planted through a collaborative 4-day event with Mana Tāhuna and Love Queenstown. An additional 22,000 trees will be planted this spring, further complimenting these planting efforts and supporting wider efforts to regenerate Waiwhakaata (Lake Hayes).

This essential funding from Love Queenstown will support Whakatipu Reforestation Trust to continue their efforts at Slope Hill, and, importantly, to nurture the newly planted trees and shrubs to ensure they survive in this harsh climate. Site challenges include poor soil quality, a north-facing aspect, and inability to use mulch due to terrain.

The outcome of this project will ensure the success of this ecological restoration project, safeguarding the investment and benefiting biodiversity at Lake Hayes itself and throughout the wider Basin.

More about Whakatipu Reforestation trust:

Whakatipu Reforestation Trust Planting Day

Tāhuna Glenorchy Dark Skies Group - $6,345 Rees Valley Conservation Efforts

This funding will enable the Tahuna Glenorchy Dark Skies Group to begin essential conversation efforts in the Rees Valley through a research programme focused on our endemic short-tailed bats. Community volunteers will use specialised acoustic recorders to establish if this threatened species still exists locally, paving the way for predator control to protect their habitat.

The Tāhuna Glenorchy Dark Skies Group is a subgroup of the Glenorchy Heritage and Museum Group and will soon receive its designation as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only 17 in the world. Their mission is to preserve the Dark Skies as an international Dark Sky Sanctuary for current and future generations and to care for the biodiversity within the Sanctuary, especially native nocturnal species.  

The funding from Love Queenstown will enable the group to begin a plan of conservation work focused on short-tailed bats in the Rees Valley to find and protect them. 10 acoustic recorders will be purchased, and community volunteers will help to build the housing, install them and help to analyse the data from the recorders. If the recordings prove that there are in fact short-tailed bats in the region, the Dark Skies Group will work with the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trusts to intensify trapping around roosting sites to protect these special bats.  

“The Tāhuna Glenorchy Dark Skies Group are delighted to be recipients of the inaugural Love Queenstown Community Fund. One of the core elements of the Tāhuna Glenorchy Dark Sky Sanctuary is our commitment to help preserve habitat for nocturnal biodiversity. This funding will allow us to do a very necessary piece of work that has never been done before. We love community-based conservation work and look forward to working collaboratively with our local conservation partners to grow our knowledge of our precious tāonga species. We can’t wait to see what we discover under the night skies!” (Leslie Van Gelder, Chair)

More about Tāhuna Glenorchy Dark Skies Group:  

Glenorchy Dark Skies

Whakatipu Wildlife Trust - $10,000 Pest Eradication Efforts

The Whakatipu Wildlife Trust works with community volunteers and local environmental organisations to support, connect and foster predator control efforts throughout the Queentown-Lakes region. They represent an important and unified voice for wildlife in the Whakatipu Basin, passionately working to protect our native bird and wildlife species that call our region home.

With over 35 critically endangered species throughout our region, this work is vitally important. Pests can cause catastrophic effects on the native environment, including preying on and competing with native species and spreading disease to an already vulnerable ecosystem which threatens the lives and habitats of native plants and animals, making them more vulnerable to extinction.

The Love Queenstown funding will further support the Trust’s efforts to create and maintain a predator-free environment in the Whakatipu Basin for New Zealand birds and other native wildlife to flourish.

“We empower and collaborate with local communities to protect and grow the biodiversity of native wildlife in the places we live, work and play. Without sustained support from organisations like Love Queenstown, we would lose momentum and the biodiversity gains we have made over the last few years would be lost. Thank you Love Queenstown for supporting Whakatipu Wildlife Trust” (Anna Harding-Shaw, WWT Executive Officer)

More about Whakatipu Wildlife Trust:  

Lake Hayes Walkway - One of the focuses for WWT

Endowment Fund

In addition to the funds granted in the inaugural funding round, a further $6,000 has been invested into Love Queenstown's endowment fund to enable substantial, long-term funding opportunities benefiting the region for generations to come. 20% of all funds raised are invested in an endowment fund with support from our charitable partners at the Wakatipu Community Foundation.

Love Queenstown is honoured to support the work of these three pioneering organisations. Their combined efforts are creating a healthier, more resilient future for the Queenstown-Lakes region and all who call it home.

We thank all our donors, supporters and partners who have made this crucial work possible, and a heartfelt thanks to our charitable partners at the Whakatipu Community Foundation Trust.

To support more meaningful mahi in our region and fund more transformative projects, please consider donating at  

Our Latest

Related Articles

View all Posts