Craigieburn Station on the market

The historic Craigieburn Station, in the central Canterbury foothills, has come up for sale for the first time in 98 years.

The station includes five lakes, several hills, peaks, valleys, dales and various rivers, including the upper reaches of the Waimakariri, which forms the property's northern boundary, and the Cass River, which forms part of Craigieburn's western boundary.

It has historically been used to graze and breed merino sheep and horned Hereford cattle.

The 9828ha extensive pastoral run, referred to as the "jewel in the crown" of the Canterbury high country, is likely to attract international interest, agents PGG Wrightson Real Estate said in a statement.

Owned by the University of Canterbury, the leasehold of Craigieburn Station, plus that of the bulk of Grasmere Station, is for sale by international tender, the company said.

"In the past few years, sales of high country properties have been scarce," PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager Peter Newbold said.

"Where land has sold, it has invariably been to a neighbour rather than to outside purchasers.

"However, properties of the calibre of Craigieburn are seldom available so it remains to be seen whether it will sell locally or not."

Located 30km east of Arthur's Pass, and 120km west of Christchurch, Craigieburn was first settled for farming in 1857 by pioneers Joseph and Sarah Hawdon, whose landholdings covered nearly 30,000ha.

In 1875, the Crown granted the freehold title for extensive Upper Waimakariri Basin landholdings to Canterbury College, now the University of Canterbury. In 1917, the university reorganised the original Craigieburn Run into several smaller properties, auctioning the new leases.

Sea captain and the current lessee's great-grandfather, Walter McAlpine, bought the Craigieburn Station lease and he and his descendants have farmed the property since. They bought the Grasmere Station lease in 1990, which is also part of the sale.

By Jamie Gray, NZME. News Service business reporter

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