A judge has ordered a crown appointed trustee take over the running of the iconic Mt Cook Station, while a dispute over its future is resolved.
The 2600 hectare station, bordering Lake Pukaki in South Canterbury, was owned by the same family for 151 years.
Earlier this year, with the farm operation unproductive and making a loss, the charitable trust running the station entered a private sale for nearly $5 million.
But it was stalled by a legal challenge, relating to the legitmacy of the sale and the argument that the late co-owners, Donald Mt Cook Burnett and his sister Catriona Baker, wanted it to remain in public hands.
Would-be owner Clint Miles says they are still leasing the farm, pending an outcome.
"There's a lot of development to be done to make it an economical unit," he says.
He says it's been a long, drawn out and frustrating process.
"You can only do what you can do ... we'd like it, that's why we tendered for it, which we thought was an open and fair tender process, as everyone else that tendered for it did. Unfortunately it's not and we have to deal with the consequences, and that's just waiting," he says.
Mr Miles says the property has been through tenure review and the public have access to the parks around it.
Further arguments will be heard in the High Court in Christchurch next month.