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Tenure Review in the High Country

Tenure review is a process where land can be bought back by the government for conservation or bought in full by the farmer who holds the lease.

What is tenure review?

In 1998 the Crown Pastoral Land Act was passed which gives farmers the option of having their land reviewed so their pastoral lease land can be divided into freehold farmland and conservation land.

Farmers do not have to have their land reviewed. Tenure review is voluntary.

The aim of tenure review is to:

  1. Identify land which is good for farming so that it can become freehold land owned in full by the farmer
  2. Identify land with high conservation, recreation and landscape values so that it can become conservation land, which is owned by the government and the public can access.

Tenure review is managed by LINZ (Land Information New Zealand).

Farmers do not have to have their land reviewed, they can keep leasing their land. Farmers who hold pastoral leases do not own the land they farm, they lease (rent) it from the government. These pastoral leases last for 33 years.

If farmers choose to have their land reviewed they talk with the government about how much land they can own and how much will become conservation land. The lease holder and the government each pay for their share.

Do you think tenure review is a good idea? You could discuss this with your class.

Conservation Parks

Some of the land which the government has bought has been turned into conservation parks.

Tenure review and these new parks have given the public walking access to many areas that were once private property. Hundreds of kilometres of new walking and mountain bike trails have been made and historic sites have been preserved.

Who is consulted during tenure review?

A range of parties are consulted to help make decisions during a tenure review, these include;

  • The Department of Conservation
  • Fish and Game
  • Iwi
  • The public can also make submissions to have their say about the review.



Tenure Review gives farmers who lease the land the chance to own some of their land in full and sell some so it can become conservation land. Image: Brett Jones.


Tenure review identifies land suitable for farming and land needing to be conserved. Image: Public Domain.


Following tenure review Korowai-TorlesseTussockland Park was created ensuring public access to the popular Castle Hill area. Image: LEARNZ.

Visit the Land Information New Zealand website to find out more about tenure review.