Dunstan Downs pastoral lease in Central Otago is currently undergoing tenure review. Straddling the transition between Canterbury and Otago in terms of local governance and natural values, this 12,351.4 hectare Crown pastoral lease stretches from the Ahuriri River in the north, to near Lindis Pass in the west, and to the 2,088-metre Mt St Bathans in the south. On the Wether, Dunstan, and St Bathans ranges, much of the property covers full ridge-to-valley altitudinal sequences. The pastoral lease includes part of the iconic Lindis Pass area as well as Ahuriri riverside land.
Dunstan Downs pastoral lease adjoins Oteake Conservation Park to the east, and could be largely annexed to the latter. It also borders the Killermont Conservation Area, and Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve to the west. Approximately 80% of the pastoral lease is sparsely vegetated or rocky high country with little to no value for grazing, but is of high landscape and ecological importance. The individual specialists’ reports currently available report strong conservation and recreation values.
A preliminary proposal of the tenure review was publicly advertised in September 2020, and is open for public submissions until 24 November 2020. All documents are available on the Land Information NZ website. A map showing the preliminary proposal’s designation plan is reproduced below. Click on the map to download a high resolution copy.
FMC has written a submission on the preliminary proposal. Based on the objects of the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 and relevant underpinning science, it recommends greater protection than is put forward by the preliminary proposal.
Members of the public are welcome to make their own submissions by 24 November 2020.
Photo at top: High Country on Mt St Bathans, featuring sparsely vegetated alpine landscapes and nationally significant rock glaciers. (c) Danilo Hegg