Farmers have little to smile about as a drought strangles the country, but all problems evaporated like water when a group of them came together to celebrate nature on 5 March.
Taranaki and Wanganui landowners were invited to Ross and Raewyn Symes’s farm in Manutahi, to give themselves a pat on the back for being involved with the QEII National Trust.
With the help of Sir Brian Lochore, representatives from the Trust thanked the landowners for being involved and strengthened friendships within the covenantor community.
The QEII Trust, started in 1977, was set up to protect natural and culturally significant sections of people’s properties against future developments.
This is done through open space covenants which can protect forest remnants, wetlands, grasslands, threatened species habitats and cultural and archaeological sites.
Sir Brian says a QEII open space covenant can help safeguard forever a place that is special to you.
‘A QEII open space covenant is a legally binding protection agreement which is registered on the title of the land.
‘It is voluntary but once in place binds the current and all subsequent landowners.’
Landowner and covenantor Carolyn Brough says she is delighted she had a chance to be involved and looks forward to developing their location more.
‘The land I put into covenant is urban so it is saving a place from development. Even now, there is a subdivision starting up next door.
‘This way everyone can enjoy it in the future, but Taranaki only has about 10% set aside for this which puts us in the bottom three regions in the country.’
Fellow covenantor Ross says with the help of his son Andrew they have secured a piece of land for future generations to enjoy, no matter what happens around it.
‘This area is the way it was 140 years ago and we want to keep it that way.’
Andrew says the process was made easy as the Trust handled all the paperwork leaving them to just sign on the dotted line. ‘It was very simple and now it is up to us to maintain the property and expand.’
Many covenantors want to expand their covenants to offer more for future generations. The South Taranaki District Council offers a subsidy on the fences built surrounding covenants, so farmers have even more incentive to get behind the project.
There are 34 registered QEII covenants in South Taranaki and six approved with a further 16 registered and five approved in the Stratford District.
Combined, both districts have a total of 3,132 hectares now covered by QEII open space covenants.
Ross and Raewyn Symes's 6ha coastal lake system is now protected in perpetuity by a QEII open space covenant. Their son Andrew is in the process of purchasing the sheep and beef farm.
Published with permission from the South Taranaki Star.