Significant interest in Dunstan Downs tenure review

30 June 2021

Most submissions on the tenure review of Dunstan Downs want more of the North Otago Crown pastoral lease to become conservation land and increased public access.

Late last year, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand invited the public to have their say on a preliminary proposal for the 12,300 hectare pastoral lease. Toitū Te Whenua, which is responsible for 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land, manages the tenure review process on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Under the preliminary proposal, 9,500 hectares – 77 percent of the lease – is proposed to become conservation land. If this goes ahead, this land will connect existing nearby conservation areas and reserves. The remaining 2,800 hectares is proposed to become freehold, with 890 hectares subject to conservation covenants.

A total of 31 submissions were received.

The Commissioner of Crown Lands Craig Harris says while a large amount of the pastoral lease is proposed to become conservation land, many submitters felt it should be more, and several thought the entire lease should be. 

“A number of submitters raised concerns whether conservation covenants would provide sufficient protection of inherent values on the land proposed to become freehold.”

Many also called for greater public access, particularly to Old Man Peak and Pylon Track, for recreational purposes.

“We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback regarding the future of this unique pastoral lease. We will consider submissions when developing the substantive proposal with the Director-General of Conservation and the lessee.”

An analysis of the submissions, and full copies, are available on the Toitū Te Whenua website.

Media enquiries

Email: or phone: 027 566 5251