Landscape view overlooking Lake Wanaka and surrounding mountains
    Landscape view overlooking Lake Wanaka and surrounding mountains

    About Us

    The Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Group is a  community-led, non-profit organization that supports the conservation and preservation of NZ native ecosystems including our tussock grasslands and our wider landscapes within the Wānaka and Hāwea region. The group formed in late 2022 in response to the ever-increasing threat posed by wilding trees spreading in our region.

    Wilding conifer control work can only be carried out and addressed through the collaboration of landowners, community groups, industry and researchers, along with local and central government.

    Wilding conifers (commonly referred to as wilding pines) are recognised as a major threat by the Otago Regional Council under the Regional Pest Management Plan. 

    Our Supporters

    We would not be able to carry out this crucial work without the  support of WAI Wānaka, Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Wilding Pine Network, Ministry for Primary Industries, Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Group, Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group and  our trained contractors, volunteers and various other community members.

    If you are interested in volunteering or would like to make a donation please email us at

    Our Committee

    Rob Phillips


    Rob has a long history working in sustainable land and water management and biodiversity. He has had previous leadership roles in a number of regional councils including most recently CE of Environment Southland. Rob is in the process of relocating to Wānaka.

    Gavin Udy

    ORC Rep 

    Gavin works for the ORC as their Project Delivery Specialist for the Environmental Implementation
    Team and represents the Otago region on the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme. He has a strong background in animal and plant pest control, both as a contractor and previously with DOC.

    James Ford

    Planning and Operations

    James is a local helicopter operator who has extensive experience of aerial wilding conifer control as well as knowledge of wilding tree incursions in the Upper Clutha area.

    Rowan Cox & Kathryn Longstaff


    Together, Rowan and Kathryn are responsible for overseeing DOC’s wilding conifer control in the Upper Clutha.

    Prue Kane

    Prue is Programmes Manager with WAI Wānaka. WAI Wānaka were actively involved in wilding pine control on farms throughout the Upper Clutha through the Jobs for Nature programme and work across rural, urban and tourism sectors to accelerate local action for our freshwater.

    Randall Aspinall

    Randall’s family farms Mt Aspiring Station and he brings practical farming knowledge and rural
    community connections to the group.

    Jenny Cleland


    Arne Cleland


    Arne and Jenny’s nursery business grew native plants over many years for both farming and revegetation projects in Otago and Southland. Having retired to Wānaka, they share a passion for protecting the Upper Clutha landscape from wilding conifer threat.

    • Otago Regional Council logo
    • Ministry for Primary Industries logo
    • Land Information New Zealand logo
    • Queenstown Lakes Distruct Council logo