Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the reclusive producer and songwriter whose credits include some of the bestselling albums of the last 35 years, has donated a major portion of his vast New Zealand land holdings to a national trust.

Lange's gift was first reported last summer, when he stunned thousands of people by deciding to convert more than 130 acres of his private real estate to protected national land — including his own lawyer, who was quoted as saying, "I was almost laboring the point — I asked him, 'Do you understand what this means?' His reply was just one word: 'Absolutely.' He doesn't do it for fame, he doesn't do it for fortune and he doesn't do it for publicity — he does it because it's the right thing to do."

The news came years after Lange came under public scrutiny for his extensive investments in land on the island, drawing criticism from groups like the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, who told the New Zealand Herald in 2011 that they were opposed to "rich foreigners buying New Zealand rural land" and scoffed, "There don't seem to be any poor ones doing it. How about a soundbite saying that NZ has got enough mutts of its own without importing any more from overseas?"

Now, as reported by TVNZ, Lange's donation — which allows for public access to 21 tracks and trails across the properties — is official. Conservation Minister Maggie Barry lauded Lange's decision, saying, "We are very grateful for Mutt Lange's extraordinary generosity and vision in securing permanent protection for this unique and special landscape."

Lange, who worked steadily behind the boards throughout the '70s before helming a succession of multi-platinum smashes for the likes of AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, the Cars and Bryan Adams, was born in Zambia and grew up in London, but is believed to currently spend much of his time residing in Switzerland. His most recent credits include hit records for Maroon 5 and Nickelback, as well as Muse's upcoming Drones LP.

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