New Zealand Couple Says No to Lucrative Offers from Developers and Gives Land to Nation
A married couple from New Zealand has donated their heritage farming property to the state to ensure the beautiful natural scenery it contains can be enjoyed by the people for all time.
Owners Dick and Jillian Jardine handed their 2,200-acre (900 hectare) property to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII) “for the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders,” practically parroting the words of Teddy Roosevelt when he spoke at the completion of the Yellowstone National Park’s welcome archway.
“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 Jardine. “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.”
Shirking development offers for the protection of the area as working pastureland, Dick and Jillian gave the local government of the Wakatipu, on New Zealand’s South Island, something that is becoming increasingly scarce: a wide-open landscape.
Situated at the base of a mountain range aptly called the Remarkables, the Wakatipu landscape is part of the Central Lakes Region. It boasts extraordinarily expensive real estate and contains the nests of several of the more wealthier people on the planet, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and jewelry juggernaut Michael Hill.
According to the QEII, Jillian Jardine didn’t want to consign the entire area to become something akin to Malibu on South Island.
“We thought about this idea and it just stuck, so it feels like the right thing to do,” she 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… we want to be part of saving something.”
The ground will be open to anyone in 2022, which will be the 100th anniversary of the Jardine family acquisition—gorgeously squished between the Remarkables Range and a great big lake.
The plan for the property is to create a multi-functional wild area that can be used for “pastoral farming, conservation, public access, and landscape protection.”
“The gift of this property also comes at a time when protecting biodiversity and promoting a connection to nature is more relevant than ever,” reads a statement on the QEII website, while the trust’s CEO Bruce Wills called it “an extraordinarily generous gift to New Zealand and one that will endure long after we are all gone.”
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