Mutt buys another ranch


Top music producer Mutt Lange, the estranged husband of singing superstar Shania Twain, has paid millions for another 8500ha of Wakatipu high country.

Lange – who bought Motatapu and Mt Soho Stations with Twain five years ago – has bought the Crown leasehold portion of Glencoe Station, which adjoins both those farms.

Queenstown developer John Darby, whose trust retains Glencoe’s 600ha freehold slice, says the sale’s gone unconditional after Overseas Investment Office approval.

Darby won’t disclose the purchase price but he paid $20 million for the entire station in 2004. The capital value of the leasehold portion is $5.4m – its latest annual rates bill is $4362.

Darby says Lange’s Soho Property company approached him to buy the back part of Glencoe Station.

“We decided it made good farming sense – we were really concentrating on the front part of the farm [overlooking Arrowtown] and under-utilising the back part.

“It made more sense for the adjoining farm to acquire it and farm it than any other option.”

Darby expects Lange to extend his merino sheep-farming operation over the newly-acquired land.

Lange and Twain created international headlines when buying Motatapu and Mt Soho for $21.4m, then controversially building a palatial homestead, guest quarters and stables there.

An OIO-imposed condition of their purchase was to form a 29km walking track through their properties, plus two huts, as part of a nationwide hiking trail.

Twain was present when then-Prime Minister Helen Clark opened the three-day “Twain Track” in March last year.

Two months later, it was announced Twain and Lange had separated. At the time, the Department of Conservation said the track would remain open even if a divorce forced the sale of their land.

It’s not known whether Twain and Lange have split their stake in Motatapu and Mt Soho, but Darby says he’s only dealt with Lange on the Glencoe deal.

Zambian-born, South African-raised Lange is regarded as one of the most successful producers in rock history, working with AC/DC, The Boomtown Rats, Def Leppard and Bryan Adams before meeting and marrying Canadian country star Twain in 1993.

Lange produced and co-wrote with Twain most of her greatest hits. Their 1997 album Come On Over – including hit song Man! I Feel Like A Woman – is said to be the best-ever seller by a female artist.

The couple, who mainly lived in Switzerland, have an eight-year-old son, Eja. In recent years, Lange’s also worked with Celine Dion, The Corrs and Britney Spears.

Rarely photographed, Lange, 61, is both a vegetarian and a teetotaller.