To create and maintain a river park and native recovery centre at the Luggate Red Bridge near Wanaka. The Trust is committed to native restoration, stewardship, ecosystem education, and freshwater research, upholding the fundamental principle that our environment must be protected, restored, and kept healthy, for the benefit of our community of life.

  • Recreation Area: A walking/biking/fishing access track along the riverside will add a loop to the main river trail, so that trail users can traverse the park before returning to the main trail. There will be a kayak/raft take-out area, and a common recreational area for picnics, school groups, local gatherings, and special events such as weddings.
  • Outdoor Education: Outdoor education activities and studies for schools, technical and tertiary institutions, including kayaking, water safety, freshwater ecosystem studies, and native restoration. School groups can have their own restoration plot so that they can monitor plant growth and biodiversity progress.
  • Research Facility: Freshwater ecosystem research and management involving universities, NIWA, and Manaaki Tuna (Longfinn eel group Massey University), to study the impacts of land use intensification coinciding with major changes in national and regional policy.
  • Native Nursery: Ecological restoration with an on-site native nursery to ensure a long-term supply of plants for the river park, and eventually other river-based projects, without ongoing external funding.
  • History Archive: The park is an archaeological site with Chinese gold-mining features such as stone huts and tailings. The Trust will interpret the local heritage resource, including the Luggate punt, the unique Luggate Red Bridge, and Upper Clutha gold-dredges.
  • Park Riverkeeper: An on-site park caretaker/riverkeeper will work for the Red Bridge River Park Trust, to manage the native nursery, undertake native restoration, maintain the park, and liaise with visitors including school groups, work experience volunteers, and tourists, fostering a culture of stewardship.
  • Sustainable Structure: The Trust is structured to ensure that the park's basic operating costs, maintenance, and improvements, are self-funded continuously through the lease of a small on-site cottage to a park caretaker/riverkeeper, who will work for the Trust under the lease agreement, providing the park, and the Trust's native restoration project, with long-term surety.

1 August 2016
In June, the Trust purchased 150 native plants from Te Kakano Nursery, comprising kanuka, manuka, ti kouka (cordyline/cabbage tree), and some kowhai. In preparation for planting, hundreds of invasive briars, gorse, broom, and blackberry vines have been grubbed out by hand on the planned commons area beside the swimming-hole, and along the riverside upstream from the Red Bridge. The initial planting will be in locations that will not be affected by the future felling of large wilding conifers which are presently shading out dead or dying kanuka. Access is not yet opened up from the bridge. Some people leave rubbish, human waste, and even dead animals in this area, so access will be improved gradually and carefully. More significant work, including felling some large wilding conifers, will not be done until our Public Servants have given their approval. The clearance of the smaller invasives, and a general tidy-up of the area, is on-going.  
See Update August 2016

27 January 2016
This is the first update on the Red Bridge River Park project for 2016. As reported in The News last November 26, the Sky City Queenstown Community Trust has granted $2,795 for the purchase of native plants and materials, and we are planning to begin work in the autumn.

This first stage will focus on the area near the bridge because this is the most important part of the site in terms of community access. The riverbank area immediately upstream from the bridge is popular for picnics and swimming on hot days, and our initial plan is to improve the access behind the willows by removing the briars and clearing a commons area suitable for kayakers, school groups, and picnics etc.

On this part of the site, the land is managed by the Department of Conservation and the Queenstown Lakes District Council. The respective management agreements were delayed by the holiday period, but will hopefully be completed in the autumn. We are looking forward to making a start on this first stage. The entire project involves decades of native restoration work, and builds on earlier native restoration work started on the Trust's land in 1991.


Manaaki Tuna

Clutha River Guardian