Lake Invaders School Video Competition

Otago has many beautiful lakes. Unfortunately, many of these lakes are under threat from alien invasive species that are having a BIG impact on our lakes and how we use them. Increased community awareness and science-based solutions are needed more than ever to help fight the war against freshwater pests (Lake Invaders).  

This competition aimed to provide Year 7-13 students in the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago Districts region with an opportunity to get creative and visually tell us about their relationship with the lakes and how the invasive weed, lagarosiphon, is affecting them. 

Students were asked to make a short video – no longer than 3 minutes – with the theme of Lake Invaders (freshwater pests). Suggested themes included:

  • What is lagarosiphon and how is it affecting our lakes?
  • What can we do to help protect our lakes from lagarosiphon and other freshwater pests?
  • If you were a lake manager for the day – what would you do?

Students submitted entries as individuals or worked together in groups over summer of 2019-20.  

Judging and prizes

In March 2020 videos entries were judged by a panel comprising representatives from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA), Boffa Miskell and the Otago Regional Council (ORC).  Judges focussed on: 

  • Ability to tell a story in an informative and entertaining way
  • Educational value and use of correct facts
  • Original artistic flair and innovation

Prizes were awarded to the top 3 winning entries:

  • 1st = $500 and GoPro camera
  • 2nd = $300 
  • 3rd = $150

Students of the winning entries were invited to present their videos at the Regional Lake-weed Forum 2020 where the overall winner was announced.

The entries and winners


Video link




I am Lake Dunstan

Kees Johnson, Flynn Stuart

Cromwell College


Lagarosiphon in our lake

Toby Gunn

Mount Aspiring College


Aliens from the Planet Lagarosiphon

Jack Phipps

Cromwell College


Lake Invaders

Lucy Radford, Violet Davidson

Mount Aspiring College


Protecting Lake Dunstan from Lagarosiphon

Thomas Piebenga, Charlie Barnett

Cromwell College



Teachers and schools may want to include learning opportunities around issues affecting our lakes into their curriculum planning. Information to assist with this can be found on the following websites:


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Freshwater Ecologist
Lake Invaders School Video Competition Poster
Lagarosiphon, Tarawera [Photo: Tracey Burton]
Research subject: Algae