The Jardine family has owned a 900-hectare working farm at the foot of the iconic Remarkables mountain range near Queenstown for 100 years. Purchased by Dick Jardine’s grandfather in 1922, Remarkables Station hugs the shores of Lake Wakatipu and is home to an abundance of livestock including deer, cattle and sheep. It’s a haven for native birds, featuring an olive grove and miniature vineyard in a stunning part of the country famed for its sweeping vistas and rugged mountains, sheer cliffs and tranquil lakes.
As a century of family ownership loomed, Dick and Jillian Jardine started turning their minds to the future. They resolved to leave a legacy that would benefit all of New Zealanders for years to come, by protecting the beauty and serenity of the land, and so approached the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII) to see if they would be in a position to take ownership of a large portion of Remarkables Station. The Jardine’s already enjoyed a supportive relationship QEII, an independent charitable trust working to protect biodiversity and heritage on private land.
The family are already well known for philanthropy, having generously gifted a house and plot of land to the University of Otago to use as a research retreat, despite not being Otago alumni themselves.
QEII’s commitment to working in partnership with private landowners and the expertise and support they provide to owners on caring for the land proved to be an appealing proposition to the Jardines who were searching for a custodian that could take on a working farm while also enhancing the ecological, cultural and recreational aspects of the land.
Critical for the Jardines was the assurance that any future activity on the land would not negatively impact on current farming activities. Additionally, the prospect that local tourism would be stimulated from the accessibility of the farm was appealing to the family.
The Jardines had previously covenanted land on their property and were already well acquainted with Deloitte, having worked with our tax team in the Dunedin/Queenstown office. The Jardine’s were confident that in working with the Deloitte team, alongside other trusted advisors, there would be a successful and smooth transfer of ownership from themselves to QEII.
Naturally, QEII was excited by the proposition, despite the many challenges they would have to overcome. The trust hadn’t previously owned a large working farm but was now tasked with managing and appropriating the farm – a steep learning curve that would need to be addressed.
In conjunction with other key parties, Phil Stevenson led a team of Deloitte advisors in the delivery of the Jardine’s wishes, by helping to develop a roadmap for the transfer of land ownership. Carefully considering the needs and perspectives of the Jardine family and QEII, a plan was established with various contingencies and situational risks factored into the process, granting the peace of mind needed for all involved to confidently proceed through each stage of the transfer.
“This was a significant piece of work, even daunting in some respects because it needed to work in perpetuity!” says Phil. “It was a definitive career highlight – more than just a business deal. When you sit back and reflect on it you actually feel like you have just helped shape a piece of New Zealand’s history.”
As custodian of Remarkables Station, QEII is now tasked with protecting and enhancing the biodiversity, landscape, and cultural values of Remarkables Station. Dick Jardine says his grandfather, who purchased the land a century ago, “would have loved it, he’d have been very proud.”
Jillian Jardine adds that “it’s nice to be alive to see what they’re going to do.”
As one of the most generous donations in New Zealand’s history, the safeguarding of Remarkables Station ensures that the spectacular views and magical landscapes will continue to be enjoyed by all – now and in perpetuity.
“This was a significant piece of work, even daunting in some respects because it needed to work in perpetuity! It was a definitive career highlight – more than just a business deal. When you sit back and reflect on it you actually feel like you have just helped shape a piece of New Zealand’s history.” - Phil Stevenson, partner, tax