New Zealand family gift Remarkables land to the nation to ensure its biodiversity is preserved

A New Zealand family is gifting more than 2,000 acres of land, by the edge of Lake Wakatipu, to the nation of New Zealand to see it and its biodiversity preserved.

The land, at the foot of the Remarkables range, will now be open to the public starting in 2022 after being officially handed over to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII).

Dick and Jillian Jardine, owners of Remarkables Station, intend to gift the ownership of 900 ha of the property to QEII, ensuring the significant landscape and biodiversity on the property is protected on behalf of all New Zealanders. The family has owned and worked on the land for 98 years, and declined several offers from overseas land developers.

The gift will ensure that a key landscape component at the foot of the iconic Remarkables will remain unspoilt forever.

QEII said the gift is hugely significant for the Wakatipu area and wider New Zealand, which comes at a time when protecting biodiversity and promoting a connection to nature is more relevant than ever. Time spent outdoors helped many New Zealanders through the Covid-19 lockdown, and the slower pace of life made many appreciate the beauty of the natural world and the importance of looking after iconic landscapes such as this.

Dick and Jillian Jardine expressed their gratitude to be able to pass the piece of New Zealand landscape into QEII’s care. Dick Jardine said: “This land has been in the family for nearly a century and we have endeavoured to improve and enhance it over this time.

“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.”

Remarkables station is a well-run and profitable farm. The gifted property is freehold land, currently leased as a working farm, and that will continue for the foreseeable future.

QEII Chair Bruce Wills said: “It’s exciting for QEII to be taking ownership of this beautiful place, but we also recognise the huge responsibility on our shoulders to ensure the property is looked after for future generations and in line with the wishes of Dick and Jillian.”

“It is also an exciting opportunity for us to demonstrate the integration of pastoral farming, conservation, public access and landscape protection on such a prominent and accessible site.”

The property will officially change hands in 2022, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of Jardine family ownership of the farm. A QEII covenant will also be placed on the title to further strengthen the protection of the property.

Almost 70% of New Zealand is in private land ownership, so protecting biodiversity and heritage on private land is critical to reversing the decline of indigenous biodiversity and preserving our history, according to QEII.

QEII have created a growing network of over 4,600 protected areas throughout Aotearoa, ranging from small backyard patches to huge swathes of high country, as a result of its partnerships with private landowners aimed at protecting and enhancing open spaces of ecological and cultural significance.

The partnerships that QEII and private land owners have fostered have protected more than 180,000 ha of nature in New Zealand, and play a hugely critical role as a refuge for some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered biodiversity and ecosystems.

Images: QEII

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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