Photo Competition Winners 2022

We’d like to give a huge thank you to all of those who entered our first Wildlife Photography Competition!

We had a lot of amazing entries – well done to everyone who is out there capturing images of our local wildlife. Look out for seeing some of these images in our upcoming Wildlife of the Whakatipu 2023 Calendar.

The entries have been examined by our wonderful judges and we can now announce the winners:

Adult Category

13 – 18 Year Old Category

12 Years and Under Category

A huge thank you to the local business who provided prizes for the competition:

Mecure Hotel
Real NZ
Tourism Properties
Million Dollar Cruises
NZ Ski
Ferg Burger
Kiwi and Bird Park
Fear Factory
Kawarau Jet
AJ Hackett Bungy

11th Avenue by Franks
Ferg Burger
Mitre 10
Simon Meyer Photography
Rodd and Gunn
Canyon brewery
Department of Conservation
Public Bar and Kitchen

Photo Competition

Welcome to the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust’s very first photo competition, all about our native wildlife.

We want to see what get’s you excited about nature here in the Whakatipu basin, whether it is native insects, fish, birds or lizards.


There is a selection of incredible prizes up for grabs, with thanks to:

  • Novotel
  • Mercure
  • NZSki
  • Skyline
  • Kiwi and Bird Life Park
  • Kawarau Jet
  • I-Fly
  • Ziptrek
  • Department of Conservation
  • A J Hackett Bungy
  • Real NZ
  • Ferg Burger
  • Z-Fuel
  • Bunnings
  • Mitre 10
  • 11th Avenue by Frank’s
  • Rodd and Gunn
  • Swandri
  • Million Dollar Cruises
  • Public Bar and Kitchen
  • Simon Meyers Photography
  • Fear Factory

Entries closed on 17th October 2022.

Good luck everyone!

Competition Rules

By your participating in this competition, you agree to abide by the following Rules.  Please read these rules before submitting your photograph(s) to the competition.

1.      The Competition is open to everyone, of all ages. There are three categories: (a) up to 12 years of age; (2) 13 to 18 years of age; and (3) over 18 years of age.

2.      The competition is open for online electronic submissions of photographs only.

3.      You may submit up to three photographs in colour or black and white.  

4.      Each entry should be marked with the photographers name, email address and telephone number. Please select the appropriate category.

5.     All submitted photographs must contain the original EXIF metadata information.  There must be no border(s), logo(s), copyright marks, identifying marks, or any other visible references and/or marks on the photograph.

6.     Entrants must be the sole owner of copyright in all photographs entered.

7.     The photographs must be your original work, taken by you, the contestant.  It must not contain any materials owned or controlled by a third party for which you have not obtained a license, and must not infringe the copyright, trademark, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any other person or entity.

8.      You will retain copyright in the photographs you submit.  By entering the competition, you grant WWT, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license to use, publish, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, create derivative works, distribute, have distributed, print, in whole or in part, in any form, in all media forms, to promote the competition, photograph, the photographer or for editorial, educative use or any other purposes of the WWT.  Where practicable, the photographer will be credited wherever the photograph is used.  No fees are payable for any of the above uses.

9.  Photographs must be high resolution, in JPEG format (minimum 3000 pixels) between 2 MB and 5MB.

10.  Basic editing, including colour enhancement, the use of filters, and cropping of the image(s) is acceptable, provided any such editing does not affect the authenticity and/or genuineness of the image(s).

11.  Advanced editing used to create illusions, deceptions and/or manipulations, and the adding and removing of significant elements within the frame is prohibited.

12.  Photographs that portray or otherwise include inappropriate and/or offensive content, violence, breach of human rights and/or any other content contrary to the laws of New Zealand, are strictly prohibited and will be discarded.

13.  Every photograph uploaded is subject to a moderation process to make sure it complies with the rules.  WWT reserves the right to assess and disregard any submitted photograph at its sole discretion.

14.  Entrants must not have breached any laws when taking their photographs.

15.  Submissions will not be accepted once the deadline lapses.  WWT is not responsible for any technical difficulties, or any lost, late, misdirected, stolen, illegible or incomplete submissions of photographs.

16.  WWT reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the competition for any reason or alter any of the rules at any stage if deemed necessary in WWT’s opinion, and if circumstances arise outside of its control.

17.  All entries will be judged by a panel appointed by WWT.  The results and the winners will be announced on the website.

18.  You agree the decision on the winning entry in each category will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.

19.  Prizes (if any) will be shipped for free within New Zealand. Winners from outside New Zealand may mention a New Zealand address to ship the prizes. Alternately, they will have to bear the shipping expense to their respective country.

20.  You agree to indemnify and hold harmless WWT from any claim arising out of your participation in the competition including, without limitation, all claims brought or asserted by any third party as a result of any injury, loss, cost or expense that You or they may sustain in any way associated with your participation in the competition.

21.  The competition and these rules are governed by the laws of New Zealand.

Camp Hill Pest Control

Camp Hill is the site of extensive reforestation and wetland restoration. Just under 48 thousand native trees and understory have been planted since 2006 and 15 acres of wetlands habitat restored.

Queenstown Backyard Trappers

Queenstown Backyard Trappers group is a trapping group that has been established to capture keen trappers who weren’t part of one of the established groups but still had traps in their backyard and wanted to contribute. The group is small but powerful and passionate about getting out and making a difference.

Precipice Creek Trapping Group

The Precipice Creek trapping group was set up by a group of residents living up the valley from Glenorchy, who longed to hear the return of birdsong to the bush, and to their gardens. Through pest control, weed control and native plantings the birdlife is returning and fantails, tuis, bellbirds, falcons and the occasional morepork are visitors to the neighbourhood.

One Mile Basin

Our group was formed in 2019. The One Mile Basin is located between Fernhill and the Skyline gondola, and extends up to Ben Lomond peak. The vegetation cover is mostly native beech forest in the lower half, and native tussock and other alpine species above. The area is home to several native bird species – bellbirds, tomtits, brown creepers, riflemen, fantails, silvereyes in the lower part, with pipits and occasional kea in the upper reaches. Initially we have located traps along the Fernhill Loop track. Our long-term plan is to extend the area of trapping to the entire One Mile catchment.

Kiwi Birdlife Park

Started in 1986, the Kiwi Birdlife Park is a family owned native bird sanctuary situated in the heart of Queenstown. Home to over 20 native bird and reptile species, we are actively involved in many breed and release programmes for species including North Island brown kiwi, South Island kaka, South Island whio (blue duck) and pāteke (brown teal). Spread over 8 acres, we have planted more than 15,000 native trees throughout the park’s history and as a result have seen an influx of native species coming back into the area including tui, kererū, kārearea, bellbird, fantail, tomtit and Yellow-crowned kākāriki. We are currently operating with more than 80 traps focussing on removing rats, mice, possums, hedgehogs, weasels, stoats and cats in order to help preserve and protect our native species.

Southern Lakes Deerstalkers – Steel Creek

In 2009 the local deerstalkers association negotiated with DOC an ability for the deerstalkers club to take over and maintain the old Mid greenstone hut in the greenstone valley (which was to be taken out of service as a DOC hut). In return and as part of the agreement the local deerstalkers operate and maintain a trap line starting in the greenstone valley up through steel creek to near the saddle of the steel creek valley.

Predator Free Gibbston

Predator Free Gibbston was formed in October 2019. We cover an area from Gibbston Bluff to Toms Creek mid way along the valley. We operate 5 trap lines which are sponsored by the local wineries and supported by the Gibbston Community Association. We have deployed approx. 60 traps in total. In recent years we have noticed native birds returning to the Gibbston area, due partially to the residential development and establishment of food sources with native plantings. So the predator free programme is a natural extension to the biodiversity that we want to encourage into the valley.

Drift Bay Trapping Group

The Drift Bay Trapping group started in November 2015. As a small informal community group, we were keen to increase the native flora and fauna in our area. The Wye Creek Climbing group had already established traplines up the Wye Creek track and our little project aligned with DOC’s goals to have a continuous area of trapping along the lake. Our residents have a real interest and commitment to our community and along with our trapline we have also extended planting areas with natives.

Baywaters Lane at Wilson Bay

We all started as a group because we liked the idea of being part of “the Grid’ with our street doing our bit for the birds. It seems to be working too!

Frankton Track Trappers

Frankton Track Trappers was formed in early 2020. This group is growing as people join the effort to protect the tuis, bellbirds, kereru, silvereyes, fantails, kingfishers, crested grebe and other waterfowl.  By protecting this native birdlife, we hope to increase their populations so that users of the Frankton Track can see them and enjoy their song. In addition, we hope that our trapping can expand to include possum control, this will help protect threatened mistletoe found in beech trees of our local Lakeside reserves.

Wildlands Report and a Proposed Southern Lakes Sanctuary

During the last year, the WWT has been involved in a project to look at the possibilities for what a landscape scale approach to predator suppression and eradication might look like across the whole Queenstown Lakes District.

Working together in partnership with the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust, Central Otago Forest and Bird, Wanaka Backyard Trapping, Aspiring Biodiversity Trust, Soho Properties, the Matukituki Catchment Animal Pest Control Project, and the Department of Conservation with funding from DOC, QLDC, ORC, and the Torrence Family Trust, we were able to commission Des Smith from Wildlands Consultants to do a study and report for us.

The report was released to us in early February and offered us a wonderful overview of all of the current projects and also how we might think about creating hubs and linkages across our environment in the future.

Download the full Wildlands Report here…

When the country moved into Level 4 in late March, we were encouraged to consider putting in a proposal to Predator Free 2050 Ltd to develop a 5 year plan that would have both job creation and predator eradication at its core. We worked collaboratively with all of the original groups and thanks to the help of Ross Sinclair and Bruce Jeffries of COF&B who helped with much of the writing, we put together a proposal for a Southern Lakes Sanctuary which would have 8 geographical hubs with linkages between and among them drawing from a mosaic of our existing volunteer programs and creating opportunities for paid professional roles as well.

We submitted our proposal in early April and are still waiting to hear the outcome, but we were delighted to be able to lead that project and to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful people who lead all of the other predator free projects across the district.

We are hopeful that once we’re allowed to go back to gatherings again, we’ll get each of the groups over to give a talk at our Talks on the Wild Side so we can all learn about what’s happening in the Wanaka and Hawea catchments, too. We’ll let you know, too, as soon as we have more news but in all of the ‘shovel ready’ projects we’ve been hearing about across the region, many are keen to create projects that involve conservation work at their core.

Paradise Protection Programme

While many of our predator free programmes began with a desire to protect birds, Paradise began because of bats.

Located at the Head of the Lake bordering Diamond Lake, Arcadia Station and Mt. Aspiring National Park, the Paradise Trust is a beloved historic site, accommodation for getting away from it all, and has some of the most beautiful accessible beech forest in the region.

Bats are the only native mainland mammals in New Zealand and we are fortunate to still have both long tailed and short tailed bats in our region. In 2011, the last year of his life, the great conservationist Barry Lawrence recognized a roosting colony of bats at Paradise and he suggested to Mandy Groshinski, the manager there for almost a decade, that she use the stock of 5 traps that had been left on the property by an earlier project initiated by Glenorchy local Dick Watson, to protect that bat colony.

Inspired by the bats, Barry’s capacity to teach Mandy what she needed to do, and a chance to deeply support local wildlife, Mandy approached DOC through the community fund for $8500 over three years to support the purchase of traps for Paradise. During those three years Paradise had hard times as in May 2014 the old homestead burned in a catastrophic fire, but in the years before and those that followed, she was able to put in 75 traps, 10 A12s, 10 A24s, 10 Tims, and a few cat traps as feral cats are highly problematic at the Head of the Lake. They have also had professional possumers during the winter as do many of the high country stations around the Head of the Lake.

Mandy’s recently moved on from her role at Paradise. Before she left she shared that among the things she’s learned over the years is how to think about the overall biodiversity of the place rather than species by species. George Gibbs, the author of the Ghosts of Gondwana told her that she should watch the mistletoe. Birdlife is healthy if there is new mistletoe. And if there isn’t new mistletoe, they need to increase their possum trapping. That kind of bio-indicator has been incredibly useful in understanding the overall health of the ecosystem.

The past year has seen an epic rat plague where like everyone else, Mandy said “we are doing what we can.” Their rat numbers of 531 from October 2019 to the start of level 4 speak to the challenges. Mandy said that this year the riflemen are gone and she has not seen any since the rat numbers increased which may mean that they are truly gone. She also noted as many have, that as their stoat numbers have gone down, rabbits are on the rise but that all of these things take time to balance out.

Looking ahead to the future, though Mandy has now moved on, she hopes that Paradise could be used as a biodiversity test site by DOC. If they were to put deer fencing around the scheelite mine area which could be an island, they could then see what would happen with native regeneration and birdlife as Paradise is a natural flyway for birds coming across from the Routburn and Dart Valleys. Currently deer are eating the regeneration so quickly that it’s not possible for proper bird habit to flourish.

Mandy said of her decade at Paradise it has been ‘fascinating watching changes over time’ and that she hopes that her love for the whole of Paradise, but most especially its rich biodiversity, has made a difference.

We’re all sure that it has and are very appreciative of her and all of the Paradise team’s efforts and wish her luck in her new endeavours. Recent data looking at 15 years of Head of the Lake bat counts shows an upward trend of bat numbers, especially in the last two years, which is very encouraging and we can hope that Paradise and the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust’s efforts are all making a difference.

Tips: Early on Mandy created flags for her traps so that the flag is triggered when the trap is sprung. All of the traps are numbered and visitors at Paradise regularly let her know which traps have been sprung. She has seen a large part of her role at Paradise in educating people about trapping and why we are doing what we’re doing. Getting people out and noticing the traps has been a way to do that.

Paradise numbers:

Since inception: 1294 predators removed since recording data in 2015
2020: 181

Alpine Retreat

Alpine Retreat is a community of 37 one acre properties at the top of a non exit road, accessed via Moke Lake Road. We have 30 hectares of shared common land on both sides of a ridge that rises up towards Bob’s Peak. Our north east boundary backs on to a large Beech Forest at the head of 5 Mile Creek. Recently we have had our land cleared of pine trees thanks to the Wilding Pine Group and are replanting in natives with the support of Wakatipu Reforestation Trust. We maintain our common land by having working bees 4 times a year. A small group of us have set rat and possum traps on our common land. We have also increased the number of traps on our own properties. Our goal is to return the common land to native alpine vegetation with birdlife by increasing the number of households trapping on their properties and increasing the trapping we are doing on our common land, some of which is in beech forest.

Ziptrek Ecotours

Ziptrek Ecotours is NZ’s #1 Original Zipline tour company. Our company is renowned for its award winning sustainable efforts and offers a spectacular and fun zipline eco-adventure through the forest canopy high above Queenstown on Bobs Peak. We are working towards restoring the native Beech forest in the area surrounding our zipline course. In addition to extensive wilding pine removal in the area and the 5000+ native shrubs and trees we have planted, we developed a trapping program to create a perimeter surrounding our zipline course. The hope is that by having an intensively trapped perimeter, with the removal of rats, possums and stoats, we can create a safe haven for the native birds. As we continue our native reforestation efforts our long term plan is to expand our trapping perimeter to protect the new native habitat we operate in as we create it.

Queenstown Community Gardens

This is the only community garden in Queenstown and was established in 2009. The Gardens have expanded over the years and there are now more than 40 individual plots with 60+ active gardeners. The Gardens provide an opportunity for those in apartments, renters and those without backyards to grow their own food on their own plots. The Gardens see themselves as connected to the Matakauri Wetlands and are happy to extend predator control within the goat/rabbit proof fenced area of the Gardens to increase habitat and safety for native bird species. The predator control work also supports the native plantings at the southern end of the Gardens.

Tucker Beach Wildlife Management

Protecting threatened braided river birds such as the Black-billed gull,
Black-fronted tern and Banded dotterel.

Wilson Bay Predator Control

The predator control programme at Wilson Bay is just starting up and group info is coming soon!

Wakatipu High School

The next generation of conservationists at Wakatipu High School are leading predator control projects to protect the beautiful bird and wildlife around Frankton and Shotover River. The WHS predator control programme is just starting up and group info is coming soon!

Queenstown Hill

Our group was formed in October 2018 by a small group of Queenstown Hill residents plus Phil Green from the Wye Creek trapping group who is kindly sharing his experience & expertise with us. We’ve had a few get togethers for training & setting out traps but mainly we all just check the traps now & again & email the group to keep everyone informed of predator kills.

Queenstown Climbing Club, Wye Creek

The Queenstown Climbing Club is a grass-roots, local club that is committed to promoting Rock Climbing in the Wakatipu, maintaining and increasing public access to climbing areas, promoting safe climbing, sponsoring youth development and promoting conservation of the natural environment in the Wakatipu. We put in the first line of DOC 200 traps along the existing North Wye track to well above the bushline. This network has now been extended with an 2 additional lines as well as undertaking extensive monitoring of predators and undertaking summer bird counts. A small team of enthusiastic volunteers check the 80 odd predator traps monthly, undertake quarterly predator surveys using Chew Tab Cards and in summer months we also do 5 minute Bird Counts along the main track.

Predator Free Puahuru

Launched in September 2018, Predator Free Puahuru looks to protect and enhance native wildlife in the Shotover Country/Lake Hayes Estate area. We will achieve this by trapping rats and stoats along the Queenstown trail which runs along the Shotover and Kawarau rivers near Shotover Country & Lake Hayes (no poison used). We hope to join up with other trapping networks run by other community groups, such as Quail Rise/Tuckers beach, Wakatipu high school and Bendemeer/Lake Hayes and create really good trap coverage over the Wakatipu basin.

Predator Free Arrowtown

Predator Free Arrowtown was formed in 2017 to help control pests and predators around Arrowtown and the wider area. This group is concerned primarily with reducing the numbers of mustelids, rodents, and possums in the Arrow River catchment. This area contains some of the best-preserved ecological values in the basin, and is home to multiple different native species, including rifleman, falcon, and weta. The project aims to ensure good ongoing breeding success for all these plants and animals. Eventually the project looks to expand and connect trap lines run in the wider area, including KAPOW, Coronet, and Cardrona. It will also incorporate areas that will be revegetated with native plants providing increased areas of habitat, such as Feehly Hill and Tobin’s Face. So far the project has attracted enough funding from local businesses and other groups to acquire over 300 traps.

Paradise Trust Paradise Protection Plan

Since the late 1800’s, Paradise has been available to people seeking tranquility and an accessible experience of wild places. Paradise is a 300 acre historic property and is open to the public all year round. A trust was set up in 1998 to preserve this property in perpetuity. A large component of the trust deed is its commitment to protecting the natural environment. Trapping began in 2010 and was prompted by the desire to save our endangered long tailed bats, with ‘bat spotting’ being a popular summer time activity. In 2013 the ‘Paradise Protection Plan’ was drawn up by Mandy Groshinski, as part of an application to DOC for biodiversity funding, for which we were granted just over 8k. Trapping is only one part of the Paradise Protection Plan. The other two projects that stand along side this are, weed control & replanting of Kowhai trees as part of Project Gold.

Lake Hayes Predator Free

Lake Hayes Predator Free is a group of passionate locals who volunteer their time to reduce the number of invasive predators in the Lake Hayes area to protect and support our native wildlife. Lake Hayes provides an important habitat for a number of native bird species and has the highest density of breeding Crested Grebes in New Zealand.

Kingston Community Trappers

The Kingston community trapping group formed in September 2017 to protect one of the best tracks of native bush around Lake Wakatipu. In Kingston, we’re lucky enough to have easy access to the Te kere haka conservation reserve via the Shirttail track, the Te kere haka Track, and the Around the Mountains cycle trail, all of which is accessed at the far end of town. We use these trails to easily access our trapping lines. We’re a team of local volunteers who enjoy going for afternoon walks in our stunning local area and trapping while we do it!

Kelvin Peninsula Community Association

The group was formed in 2016 and we started our first line in May with 12 box traps. More funds have been donated by our community since and combined with some success in applying to Dept of Conservation National free trap allocations over the years the total now stands at 53 which includes 11 donated Timms traps.

Keeping Arthur’s Point’s Original Wildlife

Keeping Arthur’s Point’s Original Wildlife (KAPOW) was formed in August 2017. We’re a handful of local AP residents (kids included) passionate about NZ native wildlife who like getting out and about and keen to make our awesome neighbourhood even better.

Closeburn Station Bird Protection

In early 2016, Paul Griffin, a keen conservationist and one of the 27 Closeburn Station shareholders, proposed to the Board of Directors that a predator trapping program on the station be intensified. Like Paul, the Board which consists of volunteer shareholders, wanted to revive wildlife – especially native birds and their songs – on a well-wooded area of the property overlooking Lake Wakatipu. We also wanted to extend the area of trapping coverage by 1) cooperating with nearby like-minded community trapping groups, including those at Bob’s Cove/Bridle Track; and 2) by forming a charitable trust to attract wider community support and raise money for the expansion. This program has received widespread support from shareholders.

Bob’s Cove Predator Control

Pippa Speedy started this project over 3 years ago with just 3 traps. We now have over 60 traps plus all the traps on neighbouring properties who are joining forces with our program. It was just Pippa organising it all but then as time went on and word spread we gained more local funds and interests to help with trap checks and monitoring. Bobs Cove Trappers now have some great local residents and volunteers on board to help with the endless task of trap checks, trap maintenance & construction and recording of all trap information to go onto the website.

Alpine Bird Song

Alpine Bird Song was formed in late 2016. We are a small group of Fernhill and Sunshine Bay residents who are passionate about looking after our native birdlife. In our area we have tuis, bellbirds, pigeons, silvereyes and fantails, and our vision is retaining and enhancing this native birdlife. In addition, we hope that our trapping will help protect rata and other vulnerable native plants in our local Lakeside reserves.