High Country Protests Eviction
10 November 2006
High Country families waving placards saying “Please Do Not Evict Us” and “I Love Mt Ida” staged a protest in Alexandra
Mt Ida families rallied against a formal recommendation by an agent of the Commissioner of Crown Land that a High
Country pastoral occupation lease should be designated a conservation area under full Crown ownership and control.
The proposal could strip the farmers of their long-running license to use the land for grazing sheep for part of the
Ten families farm five properties on the high country block on the Waitaki side of the Ida range, about 200km from
Dunedin. The crown’s agent, property services firm DTZ, has conducted a review of tenure on the license, which covers
“Mt Ida families and Federated Farmers strongly object to the preliminary proposal,” said Donald Aubrey, chair of the
Federation’s High Country industry group.
“The syndicate is a unique partnership not found elsewhere in New Zealand. The land provides summer grazing for 10,000
ewes for three crucial months. The area has been grazed for 109 years in an ecologically sustainable way that has
retained significant indigenous vegetation.
“Without this important summer grazing the accompanying lowland properties of syndicate members are not economically
sustainable. Removing these grazing rights may force these High Country farmers off land farmed by their families for
“Their stewardship and the proven sustainable grazing and weed management they provide means that the best option to
retain this tussock grassland is for them to continue to have access to it, rather than locking it up in the
“We strongly believe that sustainable grazing management is the best option available to maintain and enhance the Mt Ida
syndicate land. It is imperative that this tussock grassland area is retained by proven methods for all to enjoy.” he
“Public access is already available to the many people who have enjoyed the area by using tracks that are provided and
maintained by farmers,” Mr Aubrey said
The protest outside the DTZ office in Alexandra was driven by Mt Ida families, who invited Federated Farmers to lend