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The Wānaka App

Local history project rolling out: Nga Kete o Wānaka

The Wānaka App

Sue Wards

25 March 2024, 4:04 PM

Local history project rolling out: Nga Kete o WānakaEuropean pioneers arrived in Wānaka in the 1850s.

Lake Wānaka Tourism (LWT) has developed a series of stories about the Wānaka region which are being released online.  


Nga Kete o Wānaka (The baskets of Wānaka) was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and developed with the help of a wide range of groups. 



It focuses on the geography, climate, ecology, and history of the Upper Clutha.


“This project is about gathering and sharing information about the region to instill a sense of stewardship/tuatiaki, through deeper knowledge and connections with people and place through accessible resources,” LWT marketing and communications manager Gizelle Regan told the Wānaka App.


“This project is being rolled out both digitally and physically in phases.”



The first story released was Wānaka’s timeline and history, with an associated audio book.


The second, ‘Stories of Wānaka: The life, times, and history of this place’, is also live on the LWT website.


A first map of Wānaka and Hāwea drawn by Ngāi Tahu Chief Huruhuru. 


Wānaka’s history began millions of years ago with glaciers carving deep valleys during the ice age. Waitaha were the first people of Te Waipounamu (the South Island), and the gold in Wānaka’s valleys drew European settlers in the 1850s.



Gizelle said the next phases of the project are visitor signage, a booklet, and online learning modules.


LWT worked with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the University of Otago, the Upper Clutha Historical Society, Lakes District Museum, local kaumatua Darren Rewi, WAI Wānaka, Southern Lakes Sanctuary, Forest & Bird, Friends of Bullock Creek, Department of Conservation, Aspiring Biodiversity Trust, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, Community networks and LINK Upper Clutha and more.


IMAGES: Supplied