900 hectares of land at the foot of the Remarkables Range has been gifted to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust in perpetuity by the couple who said it was “felt like the right thing to do.”
Remarkables Station gifted to trust for “all New Zealanders to enjoy”
A multimillion-dollar swathe of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscape is being donated to a conservation charity to protect it from development and ensure it remains unspoiled for future generations. Queenstown couple Dick and Jillian Jardine are giving 900 hectares (2224 acres) of their Remarkables Station to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII), which is dedicated to protecting the country’s natural heritage. The pristine land sits at the foot of the Remarkables mountain range and skirts the edge of Lake Wakatipu, some of the most recognisable scenery in the country. — Stuff
Gift is hugely significant for the Wakatipu area and wider New Zealand
In the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island, an iconic Queenstown landscape at the foot of the Remarkables Range will be gifted to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII) for the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders, as announced in Queenstown on Wednesday 25 November.
Dick and Jillian Jardine, owners of Remarkables Station, intend to gift the ownership of 900 ha of the property to QEII, to be held in perpetuity, ensuring the significant landscape and biodiversity on the property is protected on behalf of all New Zealanders.
The gift is hugely significant for the Wakatipu area and wider New Zealand. Open landscapes in the Wakatipu basin have come under increasing pressure from subdivision and commercial development driven by the twin pressures of population growth and tourism, but the wide-open landscapes of the district are the very values that have attracted both tourists and new residents to the area.
The gift of this property also 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.
The property will change hands in 2022—the 100-year anniversary of Jardine family ownership
Dick and Jillian Jardine are delighted to be able to pass this special piece of New Zealand landscape into QEII’s care.
“This land has been in the family for nearly a century and we have endeavoured to improve and enhance it over this time,” said Dick.
“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 QEII is honoured to be entrusted with such a responsibility.
“This is an extraordinarily generous gift to New Zealand and one that will endure long after we are all gone,” said Wills.
“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 this important property.
“We thought about this idea and it just stuck so it feels like the right thing to do,”
Mr Jardine told Radio New Zealand the land had been in the family for nearly a century. "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."
The couple had been thinking about what to do with the land for about four years.
"We thought about this idea and it just stuck so it feels like the right thing to do," Mr Jardine said.
"We want to keep it as it is forever, we don’t want buildings all over it or housing, there’s so much housing going in around we want to be part of saving something."
Jardine said he had been on the property for his whole life. "It’s nice to be of the era when we used to do all the mustering and ran the whole place as a station, we used to come down to the wool shed spend two weeks mustering the whole place so I’ve got a lot of good memories around that."
The station which is freehold is currently leased will continue as a working farm for the foreseeable future. The station will officially change hands in 2022, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of Jardine family ownership of the farm.
5 WAYS WE CAN HELP SAVE OUR PLANET WITH SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
How can we help the planet? Natural historian Sir David Attenborough shares his message on how we can make long-lasting change and reduce our impact by ensuring everything we do, we can do forever.