Howdy neighbour! Remarkables Station welcomes local community
Posted By QEII National Trust | November 30, 2023
As new custodians of Remarkables Station, QEII National Trust welcomed members of Queenstown’s Southern Corridor community to a ‘meet the new neighbours’ event last Wednesday to talk about what’s happening at Remarkables Station and discuss future plans.
Remarkables Station was very generously gifted by the Jardine family in 2022 to the QEII National Trust. An Open Space Covenant has been placed over the entire property to protect both the iconic landscape values as well as the ecological values of the property in perpetuity.
Nita Smith, QEII Whakatipu relationship manager and key organiser of the event, sees this gift as a huge opportunity and huge responsibility. “We have a commitment to upholding the wishes of the Jardines in generously gifting the property to QEII National Trust, and we also feel a strong commitment to ensure it can be an asset to the wider community, too.”
The ‘meet the new neighbours’ event, held at Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau hall, was a great opportunity for QEII and the Remarkables Station Trust to connect with the surrounding community about plans for the property.
“Now that we’re a bit more familiar with the property, we’re getting some projects underway,” says Nita. “Weed and predator control is a big focus. We’re also exploring opportunities to develop appropriate public access where practical. Understanding and respect will be critical to enabling public access – so we’ll need the local community to be our advocates.”
With some in the local community potentially unfamiliar with what happens on a working farm, QEII was pleased to have farm lessee Matt Little speak to the group about the farming operation generally, farm improvements, and working towards best practice land management. “The challenges of managing a working farm in close proximity to residential areas are unique, so we wanted to provide an overview of the farming operation to broaden the understanding locally about what goes on,” says Nita.
Speakers from Southern Lakes Sanctuary and Whakatipu Wildlife Trust shared what they’re doing on the property and their future plans for predator control. These organisations take a ‘boots on the ground’ approach and will be key to supporting biodiversity to thrive in the Southern Corridor. Involving the local community in these efforts is one way the community can connect with the property and share responsibility for supporting the local environment.
Newly formed group The Remarkables Trails Trust are working collaboratively with QEII to open up walking trails and access on parts of the station. QEII has agreed in principle to a trail along the Remarkables foothills and will be looking for funding to deliver this. “We’re also looking at further opportunities to provide public access on the property, where we can do so safely,” says Nita.
Another development touched on at the event was a cycle trail through Remarkables Station property on the western side of the State Highway, which QEII has agreed on in principle. The exact route, design and timing for construction of the trail is still to be worked through, and QEII is working constructively with Waka Kotahi on the finer details.
QEII is pleased to have the surrounding communities at the Remarkables Station involved and invested in what’s happening at the Station. “It’s great to see how much interest there is from the local community in what we’re doing on Remarkables Station,” says Nita. “This is just the beginning of our relationship and we’ll be bringing them along with us as we make plans for the future of the property.”