22 September 2021
A tenure review agreement has been reached for Otago high country pastoral lease Hukarere Station.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which is responsible for 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land in the South Island high country, managed the tenure review process on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
LINZ Head of Crown Property Jerome Sheppard says under the agreement, 1648 hectares will become conservation land, including parts of the Black Umbrella Range summit ridge, Leithen Burn and Parasol Creek headwaters, and Pomahaka River tributaries.
He says public feedback was closely considered and helped inform a decision to make 1038 hectares of the conservation land a scenic area, as well as extend conservation covenants.
The scenic reserve will be subject to two farm management easements to allow the leaseholder to continue using existing farm tracks to access adjoining freehold areas. The leaseholder has also been granted a tourism concession to use the area for guided tours.
The remaining 5529 hectares of the lease will be freeholded, with 394 hectares subject to conservation covenants.
Mr Sheppard says the covenant conditions will protect gullies with remnant beech forest and regenerating native shrublands through fencing to prevent stock access, and permanently retiring areas from grazing and other pastoral activities.
The leaseholders have also been granted funds under the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme for an indigenous forest revegetation project on up to 500 hectares of the freehold land situated below the scenic reserve.
Mr Sheppard says the public will be able to access this area by foot and mountain bike from two access points – a farm track adjoining the Pomahaka River accessible from Devils Gorge and a marginal strip past the old Hukarere homestead.
Tenure review is ongoing until the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill comes into effect.
The Bill recently commenced its second reading in Parliament on Thursday 12 August and is halfway through this process.
Once the second reading is completed, the Bill will proceed to the Committee of the whole House in Parliament. This stage involves a detailed consideration of each clause (or part) of the Bill.
There are currently 23 properties in tenure review, a process by which pastoral lease land with high conservation values is protected and restored to full Crown ownership as conservation land, enabling public access and recreation, while land capable of economic use is freeholded to the leaseholder.
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