A farming family is giving 900 hectares of prime New Zealand land to a conservation charity to protect it from development.
The pristine Queenstown land parcel sits at the foot of the Remarkables Range and will be gifted to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII), which owners Dick and Jillian Jardine say is for the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders.
The 900 hectares of freehold land is located near Queenstown in the Wakatipu area.
“Having QEII as the caretaker of this property gives us the comfort and assurance to proudly pass over this gift for all New Zealand to enjoy and appreciate,” Dick Jardine said.
Known as the Remarkables Station, the land has been in the Jardine family for nearly a century.
The trust said the 900-hectare gift is significant for the area and New Zealand.
The land will be held in perpetuity, “ensuring the significant landscape and biodiversity on the property is protected on behalf of all New Zealanders”, QEII chair Bruce Wills announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“Open landscapes in the Wakatipu basin have come under increasing pressure from subdivision and commercial development driven by the twin pressures of population growth and tourism, but the wide-open landscapes of the district are the very values that have attracted both tourists and new residents to the area.”
In late 2016, the Queenstown farmers also gifted their four-hectare Woolshed Bay home and property—located metres from Lake Wakatipu—to the University of Otago to be used as a research retreat.
“The area is changing so quickly: we wanted to secure the future and integrity of the land and buildings,” the couple said of the 2016 homestead gift.
Since 1922 the Jardine family have farmed in the Wakatipu area.
The Remarkables station is currently leased as a working farm, farming sheep, cattle and deer, and will continue to operate as such.
The property will officially change hands in 2022, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the family's ownership of the farm.
Dick and Jillian Jardine took over Remarkables Station 32 years ago.
The trust said a QEII covenant will also be placed on the title to further strengthen the protection of the property.