WWF has been putting in the hard mahi for
our natural environment here in Aotearoa since 1975.

Our vision is a future where Kiwis live in harmony with nature. We know, we need new innovative environmental solutions to make this happen and believe that by working together, it’s possible. 

For four years, WWF-New Zealand ran the Conservation Innovation Awards. We witnessed some incredible innovations with the potential to have an extraordinary impact on the environment. With our partners, we funded 12 great innovations. 

In 2016, RiverWatch won the Conservation Innovation Awards. They used the $25,000 grant to develop their prototype but quickly realised they would need more.  The $25,000 was a great start on the innovation journey, but money isn’t everything. They realised additional expertise and mentorship was needed to advance their innovation and bring it to impact. RiverWatch searched for more avenues for help. They found it with Foundation North and Callaghan Innovation.  But the searching takes time which meant less time to work on their actual innovation.

RiverWatch wasn't alone in their struggle to find support. We know so many other innovators who find themselves in similar situations.

WWF-New Zealand realised there had to be a better way to for Kiwi innovators to get their ideas out into the world where they can begin to make a difference for our environment. 

From this, the idea for 9Wire began.

We knew some amazing innovations, which had potential for hugely positive impact on our environment here in Aotearoa and in the rest of the world, were sitting on the shelf because the innovation ecosystem was simply too hard to navigate. We also knew that lack of funding wasn't the biggest barrier to success. Money alone wouldn't be enough. Innovators also need support, expert advice and capability growth. 

We had to change our approach. 

WWF could no longer just give money or short-term support and expect our environment to improve. We have to shift our entire vision to support the people with the innovations that just might save our world.

We went searching for partners who shared the same vision: DOC were the first to jump on board, quickly followed by Ākina, Auckland Council, Callaghan, Ministry for the Environment, and the Ministry for Primary Industries. 

And together, we created 9Wire. Our programme to navigate environmental innovations to impact.


“9Wire is the antithesis of the all-or-nothing approach. 9Wire is the all and something approach.”
— Livia Esterhazy, CEO WWF-New Zealand

explore some of the innovation projects making a difference in new zealand right now.