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July 2021 Issue
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New DOC land created in Mackenzie Country

Photo: Jane Goodson

Around 18,000ha will be added to the conservation estate in the Mackenzie Country as part of tenure review agreements at two high country stations.

The agreement will see 80 per cent of Godley Peaks station (11,800ha) become public land and 39 per cent (6308ha) of The Grampians pastoral lease (pictured).

The land includes spectacular parts of the high country in and around the Southern Alps.

From Godley Peak, the land will stretch about 33km alongside Lake Tekapo and up the Godley River to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, alongside the existing Godley Peaks Conservation Area. It is the second-largest addition to the conservation estate through tenure review in the Mackenzie Basin.

The remaining 2676ha of the station will become freehold, with 376ha subject to a conservation covenant.

LINZ’s summary of the proposal said it had initially proposed to freehold significantly more land but this was changed and submissions called for more of the land to become public.

The 16,057ha Grampians lease is between Lake Tekapo and Lake Benmore. The public land is split between three main blocks, including a significant section of the Grampian Mountains, rising to 1918m. The agreement also results in a number of public easements through the freehold land.

Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) welcomed the Godley Peaks agreement but called the Grampians agreement a ‘mixed bag’ due to the large amount of land that has been made freehold and may be developed. 

The stations may be among the last additions to the conservation estate from tenure review after the government announced it would ditch the process in 2019. Tenure review has been controversial due to significant tracts of Crown land becoming privatised, often for large profits. But it has also resulted in enormous sections of farmland being added to the conservation estate.