Around 40,000 people donated to the campaign in just over three weeks, raising an estimated $1.5m to buy Awaroa beach on the north coast of South Island. The New Zealand government stepped in at the last minute to get the campaign over the line by donating $350,000.
The campaign was led by Duane Major and a couple of friends who were eager to see the remote and rugged beach become a shared area that was there for everyone.
Duane Major wrote on the campaign’s wall saying, “We’ve been through the wringer to get it and that’s a shared experience that forms friendships. Now we hope people have shared experiences of this beautiful piece of pristine serene NZ beach and bush.”
The seven hectare beach is now to be included in the state-managed park. Its remoteness along with the beautiful wilderness of the island have led the stretch of land to be referred to as a “utopia”. Additionally it offers access via air thanks to an air strip, but for the most part it is a hard to get to location, which only adds to its attraction according to Duane Major.
After having come to an agreement with the owner, the crowd funding campaign additionally made an agreement with the local Maori people of the area who believe the land is rightfully theirs.
New Zealand’s Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has said she hopes this is the first of many similar projects, and that it sets a precedent for how gain and improve parts of New Zealand.