Welcome to The Wanaka Branch of the
Royal Society of New Zealand.

The Wanaka group was formed in February 2013, becoming the 9th Regional branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand which is based in Wellington. Consistent with the aims of the central organisation, the main objective of the Wanaka Branch is to advance and promote science, technology and humanities in Wanaka and the Wanaka region.

The Branch seeks to achieve this by offering a series of 6 to 10 lectures each year. It aims to bring speakers who are highly regarded in their field of knowledge and expertise, as well as good communicators. Each year a number of eminent national and international speakers, who tour New Zealand under the umbrella of the Royal Society Wellington are included in the programme.

The Wanaka Branch is constituted as an unincorporated society and comprises a membership who appoint an executive committee at an AGM held in May each year. Members receive advance notices of lectures and other communications by email. Lectures are open to the public, and usually held at 6pm on a Friday in the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby St, Wanaka.

Becoming a Member

Anyone is welcome to become a member of the Wanaka Branch. For information about types of memberships, subscriptions/fees, how to apply, and Rules of the Society, please click on the link below.

Upcoming Talks


New Zealand’s lakes in a changing world: their values, problems, conservation and management

Friday 22 February at 6pm, at the Presbyterian Community centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.
Emeritus Professor Carolyn Burns, Department of Zoology, University of Otago.

Do we understand, appreciate and value our lakes enough? I discuss some of the benefits of lakes, some of the problems we face in New Zealand with respect to water quality and biodiversity, lake conservation and management, and how management might be improved in the face of population expansion and growth, increasing pressures from tourism, effects of climate change and escalating numbers invasive species.

Emeritus Professor Carolyn Burns CBE, FRSNZ, of the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago is internationally renowned for her research into freshwater ecology, especially that of the large lakes of the South Island.
A recipient of the Naumann-Thienemann Medal, the world’s top award for limnology (the study of inland waters), she has contributed her scientific expertise to conservation, (Regional Councillor for Australasia and Oceania on the IUCN World Conservation Union), as well as a long-serving member of two statutory authorities that provided advice to the Minister of Conservation – the Nature Conservation Council (chairing it 1978 – 1983) and the National Parks and Reserves Authority.
In 2017 Professor Burns received The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) Marsden Medal and in 2018 was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand Thomson Medal for her outstanding leadership and service to environmental science and conservation.



Follow the “Grebes of Wanaka” with committee member John Darby


Saving Our Lakes – What Can We Do?