It’s not often that you hear a story of land developers failing in their attempt to pave paradise, but that’s exactly what just happened in New Zealand thanks to the Jardine family.

Dick and Jillian Jardine gave 2,223 acres of land by the edge of Lake Wakatipu to the nation of New Zealand rather than sign it over to developers. The land, at the foot of the Remarkables range, will now be open to the public starting in 2022 after being officially handed over to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.

The family has owned and worked on the land for 98 years, and wanted to see it and its biodiversity preserved for another century. They declined several offers from overseas land developers.

According to The Guardian, Jillian said, “We thought about this idea, and it just stuck, so it feels like the right thing to do. We want to keep it as it is forever, we don’t want buildings all over it or housing, there’s so much housing going in … we want to be part of saving something.”

The gifted property is now classified as freehold land (currently a working farm), and will remain so for the near future.

“This land has been in the family for nearly a century,” said Dick Jardine, “and we have endeavoured to improve and enhance it over this time. Having QEII as the caretaker of this property gives us the comfort and assurance to proudly pass over this gift for all New Zealand to enjoy and appreciate.”