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Hakatere Conservation Park expands

Hakatere Conservation Park expands

Tussock plateau leading to Mt Potts, with the Rangitata River and Mesopotamia in the distance. Image GILBERT VAN REENEN WWW.CLEANGREEN.CO.NZ

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

30 April 2008 Media Release

Hakatere Conservation Park expands

Hakatere Conservation Park will grow by 17,000 hectares with the addition of land from the Mt Potts and Redcliffe high country pastoral leases, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick announced today.

“These two additions to the Park will provide outstanding recreational opportunities for walkers, trampers, hunters, climbers and skiers,” said Steve Chadwick.

The new conservation land is the result of tenure review negotiations with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). The additions will fill gaps on opposite sides of the Park, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) will improve access to these areas with signage and track development.

“The rugged Potts Range is a key element in the distinctive upper Rangitata landscape, made world-famous as the backdrop to ‘Edoras’ in the Lord of the Rings films.

“This area is becoming increasingly popular as a tourism destination, and there will now be guaranteed public walking access over Mt Sunday, where Edoras was located.”

Mt Potts Station is an impressive property in the upper Rangitata River, across the river from Mesopotamia Station. The Mt Potts tenure review will result in 9266 hectares becoming public conservation land, and 1196 hectares being freeholded.

Redcliffe Station, on the south bank of the Rakaia River, will contribute 7809 hectares to public conservation land, and 1383 hectares will be freeholded.

“The new Redcliffe conservation land will protect significant landscape values on the Mt Hutt Range, and include mountain tops, extensive scree slopes, alpine vegetation, tussock grassland and shrublands.”

“Current farming activity on Mt Potts and Redcliffe is focused on areas being freeholded, and the tenure review outcomes will provide a secure basis for the former lessees to develop and diversify their economic future. I thank them for their past stewardship of the properties.”

Background information, maps and photos attached.



Tenure review

LINZ, on behalf of the Crown, manages South Island high country pastoral leases, and leads tenure review negotiations.

Tenure review of a pastoral lease is a voluntary negotiation between LINZ and the lessee, in consultation with DOC. Tenure review is carried out under the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998.

Tenure review results in the transfer of land with significant biodiversity, recreation, historic and public access values to DOC management, and the freeholding of land capable of productive use to the lessee.

A tenure review settlement usually requires a payment by LINZ to buy out the lessee’s valuable rights in the new conservation land. The payment is funded by LINZ and must be approved by the Minister for Land Information.

For the Mt Potts and Redcliffe tenure reviews, the payments were $1,700,000 and $1,195,000 respectively.

Hakatere Conservation Park

Hakatere Conservation Park, in mid Canterbury, was officially opened in October 2007, with an area of 59,200 hectares (ha). Hakatere Station (9110 ha), which at that time had just been purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund, will now be added to the Park. The additions of land from the Hakatere, Mt Potts and Redcliffe stations will bring the Park to over 85,000 ha.

Public access is expected to be available to the Mt Potts and Redcliffe properties this spring.

Mt Potts

Mt Potts Station adjoins Erewhon pastoral lease, and is across the Rangitata River from Mesopotamia Station, which also recently completed tenure review negotiations.

Mt Potts skifield falls within the new public conservation land and will continue to be run by the former Mt Potts lessees, Mark and Marie-Claire Dewsbury, as a tourism operation under a 30 year concession.

Mt Potts pastoral lease is 9692 ha in area, but land from an adjoining special lease and unallocated Crown land brought the total area of land included in the tenure review to 10,477 ha.

Mt Sunday is a glacial rock outcrop, and its vegetation has been highly modified by years of grazing. This 129 ha area is to be freeholded, but a covenant will prevent development on Mt Sunday and protect two small modified wetlands.

Next to Mt Sunday and the Rangitata River, an area of wetlands and river floodplains will become public conservation land. These areas support many birds and plants, including marsh crake/koitareke, Australasian bittern/matuku, and the threatened dwarf woodrush/Luzula celata.

The Rangitata River is internationally recognised for its salmon fishing and the new protected area includes a key salmon spawning stream. The Rangitata is also an important breeding habitat for New Zealand’s unique wrybill/ngutu parore, as well as for the threatened black-fronted tern/tarapirohe and banded dotterel/turiwhatu.

Improvements will be made to the Hakatere-Potts Road, with 15 hectares from the tenure review being retained as Crown land for that purpose.


Redcliffe Station predominantly comprises steep hill country on the northern flanks of the Mount Hutt Range, and extends southwards into the upper reaches of the North Branch of the Ashburton River.

The former lessees, Willy and Sarah Ensor, have been granted a 10 year commercial tourism concession for guided hunting and tramping.

The total 9192 ha comprising the Redcliffe tenure review included 4950 ha that in the 1980s was agreed to be returned to the Crown.

A main access way to the Hakatere Conservation Park will be provided through an area of outstanding lowland shrublands alongside Redcliffe Stream.


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