Nearly 40,000 people donated almost NZ$2.3 million ($1.7 million) to buy the Awaroa beach in the Abel Tasman National Park, on the South Island in the New Zealand.
The campaign started off when Adam Gard'ner and Duane Major set up a GiveALittle page in an attempt to prevent it from going into the hands of corporate businessmen. The money will now be used to place a tender on the beach by campaign organizers Duane Major and Adam Gard’ner. If accepted, the land will be put under the care of the Department of Conservation.
"There is a pristine piece of beach and bush in the heart of the Abel Tasman up for private sale. Together we can buy it and gift it to NZ," stated the two brothers-in-law in 2015.
Economist and philanthropist Gareth Morgan offered money for the island as well, but he had a catch: exclusive access to part of the property for himself and his family.
His offer was duly rejected by Gard'ner.
A government contribution of $350,000 from the Nature Heritage Fund and a $250,000 donation from the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust helped the fund a long way.
The site was finally handed over to the Department of Conservation and will be run by the Abel Tasman National Park.
A ceremony took place at the beach to celebrate the property becoming part of the park.
“Hi there everyone! We are delighted to invite you to the Awaroa Beach Gifting Ceremony & Celebration. You have been a very real part of this big gift — this beautiful little slice of Aotearoa NZ to be permanently enjoyed by everyone forever,” says the team on site.
"All those who contributed have given a wonderful gift to our nation. It is now protected forever with public access guaranteed," Associate Minister of Conservation Nicky Wagner said.
"I'm going to tell my great grandchildren, 'Do you know what your great great granddad did? He bought a beach,'" said Gard’ner.
"From politicians to pilots to pastors, we've just acted as people and kaitiaki, guardians of the land, we do it best when we do it together," campaigner Duane Major explained.
"I am so keen for us, as a nation, to preserve the serenity of that place and what is now means to us,” he added.
Plans are in place to restore sand dune ecology to improve the habitat for coastal birds as well as restoration plans for clearing weeds and replanting native species.
"It's a great day," Major added. "Sometimes you can feel powerless, so for us, it's been a marvelous experience of empowerment.
"There's been a real feeling of coming together. People in other countries have recognized what it's been all about too.
"We're in an age with various forms of technology that can pull people apart. But in this case it brought people together."
The campaign also negotiated with local Maori groups, ensuring them that the community would be involved in the future of the land.
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