Submissions open for iconic high country station tenure review

Blue Lake huts at Glenaray Station.
Blue Lake huts at Glenaray Station. Photo credit: Supplied/DOC

The public is being encouraged to have a say on the tenure review of New Zealand's largest high country pastoral lease, Glenaray Station in Southland.

Tenure review is a voluntary process that gives pastoral lessees an opportunity to buy some of their leasehold land from the Crown. 

The rest of the land, usually areas of high ecological value, returns to full Crown ownership for conservation purposes.

About 30 Crown pastoral leases are currently in the tenure review process.

A preliminary proposal has been developed for the 62,000-hectare station, made up of Glenaray and Whitecomb pastoral leases.

The station's landscape, which is home to more than 60 threatened species and 15 rare plants, is regarded as internationally significant.

The Commissioner of Crown Lands Craig Harris said under the proposal around 38,000 hectares of the pastoral lease would become public conservation land.

"All of the high country stations are special in their own way, but Glenaray Station is unique, given its location and terrain, which is ideal for recreational activities including cross country skiing, tramping, mountain biking, horse riding, hunting and fishing. 

"Everyone involved in the tenure review process, including the lessees who have been farming this land for five generations, are committed to seeing this precious area protected for people to enjoy for years to come," he said.

Harris said anyone with an interest in the high country should have their say on the future of what he said was an iconic landscape.

If the preliminary proposal goes ahead, the 38,000 hectares proposed as conservation land will contribute to existing conservation areas and reserves nearby.

In the proposal, an additional 13,400 hectares of freehold land would be subject to conservation covenants, which restrict activities such as grazing, vegetation clearance and burning.

The rest of the pastoral lease would become freehold without conditions.

Earlier this year, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage announced tenure review would end.

However, until the legislation changes, tenure review is ongoing.

Submissions on Glenaray Station close on 27 January 2020.