#buythisbeachNZ campaign: We did it! Contributions pass $2m
Kiwis have shelled out $2 million towards securing a pristine South Island beach, but organisers are urging the public to keep donating.
More than 33,500 people pledged to Duane Major and Adam Gard'ner's campaign to raise $2 million to entrust a sandy stretch of Awaroa Inlet in Abel Tasman National Park to the public.
The whole feat was achieved without a millionaire's help or pulling in any taxpayer dollars.
However, the whole campaign would not have been successful if not for the generousity of ordinary New Zealanders who contributed what they could: $5 here, $10 here, $20 here.
Apart from kind-hearted Kiwis, large businesses have also expressed their support, with Spark and Stuff pledging $20,000 each, Colliers International and its staff $20,000, Kathmandu $5000 and law firm Duncan Cotterill $1000.
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Despite achieving the campaign's target, the beach purchase isn't guaranteed, but $2 million would help in putting the prospect on the table.
Kiwis can still donate to the cause but the amount raised over $2 million will be hidden until the property is put out to tender.
"We can put as much money as we can on this tender to make it a really, really worthwhile one which we think we will take it out of someone else's hands. The tender is Tuesday 4pm so we've still got time," Major said.
He was having fish and chips with his family when the target was met just before 6.30pm.
"We're having a wee celebration," he said. "I'm so focussed on getting that beach I'd forgotten how important this milestone is.
"Wow, we've actually done something very special as a country. It's a rekindling of something very special inside New Zealand."
Along with other families around the country, he was savouring the moment.
"There's a long way to go but to not take this in and what this could mean would be wrong."
WHAT MAKES THIS BEACH SPECIAL?
The current owner calls it "the best beach on the planet" and it's easy to see why. The shoreline stretches 800m along the Awaroa Inlet in the Abel Tasman National Park and is part of the seven hectare sandspit up for sale.
It's the only property in Awaroa Inlet with riparian rights, giving exclusive ownership of the beach right to the water's edge. The property also has three modest buildings – a one-room cabin, a "basic converted wool shed" and an old fishing vessel.
There's no vehicle access – you can only get there by boat, walking track, or from the air – so it's tranquil and clean.
The beach has also been described as a "dynamic" property thanks to the moving tides. About 10 years ago the sand spit at the top of the beach was covered in water, but the tides have since moved out again.
"Sometimes you'll have more beach than other times. But that's the beauty of the place," a local tourist guide says.