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Purchase of Tarnbrae Station, Omarama

Purchase of Tarnbrae Station, Omarama

© Gilbert van
Reenen 2008
© Gilbert van Reenen 2008

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

27 March 2008 Media Release
Purchase of Tarnbrae Station, Omarama

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today announced the purchase by the Nature Heritage Fund of 2044 hectares of a high country wetland and tussock complex in the Mackenzie Basin near Omarama in Canterbury.

The land will be managed by the Department of Conservation and added to the adjacent 46,655 hectare Ahuriri Conservation Park.

“The $4.25 million purchase of Tarnbrae Station gives legal protection to one of the most intact wetland areas remaining in the Basin. It also safeguards an outstanding natural landscape” said Steve Chadwick.

The high country property contains remarkably varied natural ecosystems and species associated with moraine ridges and depressions. Lowlands make up about three quarters of the property with red tussock lands on the moraines and comb sedge bog in the depressions.

“The area contains several rare plants and plant communities including the nationally threatened native lily (Iphigenia novae-zelandiae). “

“The purchase includes approximately 700 hectares of wetland and is one of the largest wetland areas protected in recent years anywhere in New Zealand. Wetlands are one of the Government’s highest national priorities for biodiversity protection under the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.”

“Tarnbrae contains much of the remaining extensive areas of red tussock and associated wetlands still left unprotected in the Waitaki Valley. Very few similar areas of wetland and tussock grassland remain nationally, and there are none of equal scale, type and intactness protected elsewhere in the eastern South Island,” she said.

“For many years, Tarnbrae has been managed for conservation by the Lory family. The Lory family were very keen to retain this tussock grassland and wetlands that remain such the distinctive feature of Tarnbrae.

“I congratulate the owners of Tarnbrae for recognising the conservation value of their land and for choosing to sell the land into public conservation ownership. This area can be appreciated by the public now and by generations to come. It safeguards the water resources of these ecosystems and of the streams that flow from them. It also provides a vital scientific benchmark to compare against the developed land that largely surrounds it. “


Attachment: Tarnbrae Map (PDF)


Supplementary Note: Ahuriri Conservation Park
The Nature Heritage Fund’s earlier purchase of the 23,783 hectare Birchwood Station was central to the formation of the 46,655 hectare Ahuriri Conservation Park opened in March 20005. Other areas incorporated into the Park came from tenure review of pastoral leases or were already administered by the Department of Conservation.

Acknowledgement: The stunning photographs of Tarnbrae Station accompanying this release are by renowned photographer Gilbert van Reenen. Photographs are only to be used for publicity purposes associated with this announcement. Gilbert van Reenen must be acknowledged as the artist with the photograph or photographs used.
High resolution images can be downloaded from


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