A developer who bought protected land and native bush with the intention of carving it up for profit has been given the red light.

The Supreme Court delivered a historic decision to protect the covenanted land in Tairua, Coromandel.

Before his death the previous land owner, Humphrey Mallyon Russell, wanted to make sure the land, native trees and open space on his 404ha block of land near Tairua was protected for future generations.

The land was sold to pay for rest home fees but not before Russell put in place a covenant to ensure it couldn't be developed.


Company Green Growth No 2 Limited bought the land and then challenged the validity of the covenant, which was originally registered on the Coromandel property in 1997.

Green Growth previously appealed decisions to uphold the protection in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.

QEII National Trust - which works with landowners to protect natural and cultural heritage sites on their land with covenants - said the decision was a huge victory.

Acting CEO Paul Kirby said is was a blow for developers who thought they could overturn QEII legal protection of the land.

"The Supreme Court has reinforced that QEII covenants protect natural spaces against the people who buy a property to divide and develop the land," he said.

"We are proud to have lead the fight to protect the land against this kind of development."

Kirby said Green Growth had tried to put short term economic gain above the long-term vision of the original landowner who wanted to protect the land, trees, biodiversity and open space for future generations.

"This decision makes it clear that our open space covenants protect open space forever.

"The protection against development stays over the land even when there is a change of ownership."