This section explains the 3 ways farmers can use Crown pastoral land: pastoral leases, pastoral occupation licences, and special leases.

Pastoral leases

Pastoral leases are the most common land use arrangement, and were created in the 1940s and 1950s under the Land Act 1948. They run for 33 years and can be continually renewed. We are not creating any new leases.

Pastoral leases give the person holding the lease – the lessee – exclusive possession of the land, and the right to graze the land. Lessees need permission to carry out other activities on their lease.

We review the rent paid for pastoral leases every 11 years, basing the rent on how much stock the land can carry for pastoral farming.

Find out more about rent review

Guide for Pastoral Leaseholders September 2020 (PDF 627KB)

Exclusive possession of pastoral lease land

On 12 May 2009 the High Court issued a judgment on the right of pastoral leaseholders to exclusive possession of pastoral lease land, after a hearing conducted in Wellington on 26 March 2009. Read the the judgment below.

You can also read Crown Law opinion on pastoral leases and exclusive possession.

Pastoral occupation licences

Pastoral occupation licences allow the licensee to use pastoral land for a fixed term, often to graze stock over summer months.

There is no automatic right to renew the licence when it expires. Remaining licences are subject to a compulsory review at the end of the licence period.

No new occupation licences are available.  

Special leases

Special leases are created on pastoral land on a case-by-case basis. They are subject to a range of terms and conditions.

Last Updated: 9 November 2021