Photo by Ben White

About Us

Wanaka Critical Thinkers are an informal and friendly group of like-minded people. We prefer to use reason and science to obtain our conclusions and beliefs, rather than believing whatever may be comforting or convenient.

One of our aims is to promote science and critical thinking within the local community. We would like to raise awareness and encourage questioning of practices and beliefs which may not be backed by strong scientific evidence.

We initially called ourselves ‘Wanaka Skeptics’ but changed to Wanaka Critical Thinkers due to the popular misconception that skeptics are people who disbelieve things. Instead, we prefer the true meaning of scepticism: the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity.

Our Purpose


We are a new group (set up 2018) so our goals and identity are still evolving. These are some of our initial ideas:

  • Raise awareness of critical thinking, what it is, how to do it, and why it is vitally important.
  • Guide people towards quality studies so they can base their beliefs and conclusions on valid evidence.
  • Grow trust and improve understanding of the scientific method. Raise awareness of how evidence can be obtained through well designed, peer reviewed scientific studies.
  • Gather and present unbiased information from reliable studies on topics that are controversial in the community. (This may include items such as water chlorination and vaccination).
  • Encourage questions within the community.
  • Question the promotion of unscientific ideas and practices within the community. (An example is arguing against using community facilities such as the Hawea Community Center to show the the Vaxxed movie).

2019 discussion program

  • Wilding Pines – what are the problems and possible benefits of these trees (February)
  • 1080 – closed meeting just for established members (March)
  • Glyphosate (Roundup) – Jury vs science (April)
  • The Ethics around Artificial Intelligence (May)
  • Logical and rhetorical fallacies (June)
  • Sustainable tourism – how many is too many (July)
  •  Electromagnetic fields, cell towers and 5G (August)
  • Cold/hot reading and other techniques commonly used by psychics and mentalists (September)
  • GMOs (October)
  • Resistance in parasites and microbes (November)

Meetings are (usually) on: Second Sunday of each month, 7pm. Location varies. Please get in touch with us to find out more.


NZ Skeptics Conference, 29 Nov-31 Dec 2019, Christchurch NZ

Tickets on sale now!



Where to find original studies, well-referenced reviews or useful information.

Skeptic Podcasts

Check out a range of skeptical debate:

Related Organisations

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Get in Touch


We try to meet up at least once a month. We encourage critical thinking, enjoy challenging discussions, and welcome humour.

Send us a message if you would like to join us.

Or join us on Facebook:

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

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