Featured Activities

If you’re passionate about sustainability, you’ve come to the right place.

October is a sustainably-focused month with the likes of Biketober and the annual Wao Summit in Wānaka, bringing together those who are passionate about sustainability, regeneration, climate change and climate action. The Summit aims to explore a 360 degree approach to fostering social and environmental change in our communities. If you’ve never heard of community initiatives like Wao or Biketober, then this is a great place to start!

What is the Wao Summit?

The Wao Summit runs annually from October 25th-30th with 40+ events taking place over six days, the Summit focuses on sustainability and regenerative future across many disciplines and industries. There is literally something for everyone.

Browsing the Summit event schedule, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of events to attend. Wao have broken down each event into six categories; workshops, korero, films, tours, lectures and free community events. Each category is represented with a colour code that you can find in the bottom right corner of the event schedule.

people gathering outside at a community event

Ways to get involved with the Wao Summit

First things first, time to buy your pass! As part of the Wao Summit this year, attendees can purchase a All Access Pass to attend any events you desire in person, or an Online Digital Pass to join from the comfort of your own home. This pass gets you unlimited access to a number of events at Wao Summit 2022 so you can get fully immersed! Below are some of the events and talks you won’t want to miss.

Join the kōreoro (conversation)

Drawdown: Solving the Climate Crisis with Paul Hawken talk at 5.30pm on Wednesday, October 19 at Rippon Hall. Internationally renowned for his work in finding solutions to the climate crisis, Paul Hawken is the founder of non-for-profit Project Drawdown. Based on extensive research, the book Drawdown is a collaborative effort involving 200 researchers and advisors who came together to model the most substantive solutions to reverse global warming. This talk will discuss the huge challenge we are facing through biodiversity loss and climate change.

Regenerate 2030 with Damon Gameau talk at 5.30pm on Tuesday, October 25 at Lake Wānaka Centre. This discussion with internationally renowned director, writer, producer and presenter Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film, 2040, and Regenerating Australia) will explore how together we can unlock creative solutions to our current crisis from the ground up and turn ideas into reality.

Food For Thought – Creating Resilient Food Systems talk at 5.30pm on Friday, October 28 at Rippon Hall. Gain insight into the real issues facing our global food system with this conversation facilitated by Julia Blackford, and featuring speakers Jason Bradford, Jade Gray and Ailsa Cain. You’ll hear about food resilience through multiple lenses, from the rise of localism, to Aotearoa’s place in the global food system, to what we can learn from matauranga Māori.

Join in on another conversation about Living Within Our Limits: Green Growth vs Degrowth.

People sitting down at a table having a conversation

Get hands-on with a workshop

Construction Waste Workshops at 8.00am on Wednesday, October 26th at Wanaka Community Workshop. This workshop is designed to up-skill you on on best site C&D waste management and diversion options within the district using available reuse, exchange, take-back and recycling systems. Learn on-site from sector leaders and their journey and techniques to managing and minimising waste. This interactive workshop is split into two sessions, Construction Waste 101: What Is The Problem? and Construction Waste 102: Setting Up A Plan.

B Corp is Bette Business workshop at 9.00am on Friday, October 28 at Lake Wānaka Centre. Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Unlike other certifications for businesses, B Lab is unique in its ability to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. This 60 minute interactive and energetic workshop will look at the creation myth story of B Corp, what the path to B Corp Certification looks like and the systemic and human drivers leading to the rise of B Corp.

There are two more workshops to attend on Planetary Accounting and Waste Reduction.

Attend an impact session

Suss or sustainable: fisheries in Aotearoa talk at 12.30pm on Wednesday, October 26th at Lake Wānaka Centre. In this seminar, marine scientist Veronica Rotman addresses claims made by the recent film ‘Seaspiracy’ In a New Zealand context. Rotman explores the state of our own ocean and discusses how to consume kaimoana with care.

What does Carbon Neutral really mean? talk at 12.30pm on Thursday, October 27 at Lake Wānaka Centre. In this Impact Session, the team from Environmental Accounting Services will explain the terminology and the current requirements in New Zealand for making climate mitigation related claims. Risks and rewards from the perspective of business, consumers and importantly the climate will be explored.

You can find two other impact sessions with an emphasis on Climate in the Rural Sector and New Zealand Climate Standards.

man talking to group of people

One for local business owners

Re+Generate Tourism Hui – Tourism for a Better Future day event at on Tuesday, October 25th at Rippon Hall. Operators, stakeholders, community groups and those interested in seeing how the future of tourism in our region can be shaped are welcomed and encouraged to join in. This is an opportunity to connect, share ideas, be inspired and develop a strong community-led response to the challenges and opportunities tourism poses for the Region of Wānaka.


The day begins with morning tea and an introduction to the Love Wānaka and Love Queenstown Community Funds, followed by shared kai and an afternoon of action as we break into groups to workshop ways that we can move towards a more resilient and regenerative tourism ecosystem. The day then wraps with an inspirational korero with globally recognised speaker, Damon Gameau, creator of the award-winning films ‘2040’ and ‘Regeneration Australia’.

people sitting at a table

There are more events offering inspiring and thought provoking film nights such as 2040, Kai for Thought and Regenerating the Planet. For more information about Wao and the event schedule, visit Wao’s Instagram or website.

And feel free to browse more Wanaka events.