"Chinese owner fights access to NZ farm, says would harm NZ image"
By Andrea Vance
"Officials and the Chinese owner of a Wairarapa sheep station are deadlocked over public access to a forest hut and tramping route.
The extraordinary dispute will now go to independent mediation - the first time this has ever happened. If the row can't be resolved the Overseas Investment Office has the powers to order the property be sold.
Hong-Kong based Eric Chun Yu Wong bought the sprawling $3.3 million Kawakawa Station, at Cape Palliser, in 2015. The Overseas Investment Office approved the sale - which was signed off by National government ministers - but imposed conditions around tramping access.
Those conditions said the new owner must put in place access to the Aorangi Forest, as recommended by the Walking Access Commission. The forest park is home to the Putangirua Pinnacles, the eerie earth pillars featured in scenes in the film Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
But Wong has rejected all the recommendations made by the commission, a Crown entity, in the last three years. Curiously, he says granting access rights would impact on New Zealand's reputation overseas.