Awaroa Beach Bought by Crowdfunding given to Public
The pristine Awaroa Beach in the Abel Tasman National Park bought through a crowdfunding campaign for almost $2.3 million has been handed to its new owners – the public, becoming part of the Department of Conservation’s (DoC) estate.
Campaigners snubbed a businessman who offered them money in exchange for private access to part of the 7ha beach.
The previous owner, businessman Michael Spackman, agreed to sell the beach after the online crowdfunding campaign reached its target in a little more than three weeks. The purchase ensured the beach will remain out of private hands.
“It’s a great day,” campaigner Duane Major told the BBC. “Sometimes you can feel powerless, so for us, it’s been a marvellous experience of empowerment. There’s been a real feeling of coming together. People in other countries have recognised 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, who had argued the beach should be handed over to them.
Major said the Maori community would be involved in the future of the land. While the land is on a remote part on the north coast of the South Island, the land also offers access by air via a nearby airstrip.
Almost 40,000 people donated to the campaign.
Original article by BBC, July 10, 2016.
Photo by Bayleys.