A tenure review agreement has been reached for high country station Dunstan Downs that will see 99 percent of the Crown pastoral lease become conservation land.
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.
Tenure review is a voluntary process for pastoral leaseholders to enter and allows them the opportunity to purchase land capable of economic use, while land with high conservation values is protected and restored to full Crown ownership as conservation land.
LINZ Head of Crown Property Sonya Wikitera says under the agreement for Dunstan Downs, which spans Canterbury and Otago, around 12,250 hectares will become conservation land.
Ms Wikitera says this is significantly higher than the 9,500 hectares proposed to become conservation land under the preliminary proposal.
“Public feedback was carefully considered and helped inform the decision to make more of the pastoral lease conservation land and improve public access to the area.
“The agreement will provide increased protection to these iconic landscapes, which include parts of the impressive Dunstan, Wether and St Bathans Ranges, and the special species that call them home.
“It will also improve access to these unique places and extend existing conservation areas for the public to enjoy for a range of recreational purposes.”
Ms Wikitera says it is one of the highest percentages of a lease to become conservation land under tenure review.
“We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback on the preliminary proposal, and the leaseholder whose family has farmed this land for over 100 years in a way that’s preserved these significant inherent values. It’s a real credit to them.”
Under the agreement, around 100 hectares will become private land owned by the leaseholder.
Ms Wikitera says implementing the tenure review will take some time to allow for surveying of the land and to install fencing.
For more information about the agreement, visit the Dunstan Downs webpage