Central Otago – Mahu Whenua

Useful Information

Te Araroa website
Department of Conservation website


Access points to the Mahu Whenua Covenants are from Arrowtown (Butlers Green),  Macetown (four wheel drive access from Arrowtown),  via the Te Araroa Walkway from the Motatapu Road near Glendu Bay (Lake Wanaka) and from the Shotover Valley from the Coronet Peak, Skippers and Branches Roads. Refer to Map Downloads below for details.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept under control at all times.


Mahu Whenua Covenant Map – Arrowtown Tracks
Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks – from Andersons Battery
Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks – From Arrowtown to Polnoon trail
Coronet Loop Kā Muriwai Trail – Queenstown’s newest backcountry XC trail

Mahu Whenua Traverse – alpine traverse

Central Otago
Mahu Whenua

The Mahu Whenua covenants were established in September 2015. The covenants are located on four high country stations: Coronet Peak, Glencoe, Mount Soho and Motatapu which are subject to permanently renewable Crown Pastoral leases held by Soho Property Limited. The sole shareholder of Soho Property Limited is Switzerland based music producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange.

Soho Property entered into a partnership with the Trust to ensure the protection of around 53,000 hectares of iconic New Zealand high country. The resulting Open Space Covenants were formally registered on the 2 February 2015 and officially opened by the National Trust’s Patron, His Excellency, Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand on 7 March 2015.

The Mahu Whenua covenants make an outstanding contribution towards protecting one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural and cultural landscapes.

The covenants protect high alpine environments, alpine and montane grasslands, wetlands, riparian zones, forest and shrubland remnants. The landscape is overlain with a rich suite of gold mining archaeological sites which showcase a long mining history spanning from the discovery of gold in the Shotover and Arrow Rivers in 1862 through to the depression era.

Before European settlement, Ngāi Tahu moved around nearly the whole of Te Waipounamu (South Island), hunting and gathering a range of resources. Movements were according to the seasons, following the lifecycles of animals and plants. The high country was a fundamental element of these systematic seasonal food gathering patterns.

Today, a network of tracks and marked routes provide for public access and enjoyment over large parts of the covenants.

The links provide access to maps of walking and biking tracks ranging from short walks to challenging day trips some of which can form part of multi days trips in conjunction with neighbouring public conservation land.

Backcountry tracks may be unformed and lightly marked and in locations with no huts or shelters. Users are urged to follow the link to Backcountry Safety Information before planning their trip.

Mahu Whenua Management Plan

In July 2020, Soho properties consulted with interested parties, in preparation for a management plan for Mahu Whenua. The draft plan is currently being distributed to interested parties for consultation, which is open until 31 July 2021.

The Draft Management Plan aims to:

  1. clarify who is responsible for managing key aspects of the Mahu Whenua Covenants (eg. capital expenditure & on-going maintenance)
  2. simplify the decision making process for activities which require consents
  3. clarify the roles of the various entities involved in the management of access, enhancement of open space values, research, recreational activities and commercial utilisation of the covenanted land

The plan is split into two volumes, available to view below. Volume I outlines the draft Mahu Whenua Management Plan and Volume II provides insight into the open space values and background information.

Mahu Whenua Draft Management Plan Volume I
Mahu Whenua Draft Management Plan Volume II

The plan looks forward 25 years from the date of its approval, however it is anticipated that the plan will be a working document which will be modified and refined as time passes and projects progress, milestones are achieved and different parties become involved. Any feedback can be submitted to accounts@sohoproperty.co.nz by 31 July 2021.

Jolendale Park