50c per Kiwi buys Abel Tasman National Park

By Soblin Kang

Coastal gem in national park listed for sale, inspiring campaign to reclaim land for public.
The privately owned beach is open for anyone to use, but a fundraiser fears that may not always be the case. Photo / Supplied
The privately owned beach is open for anyone to use, but a fundraiser fears that may not always be the case. Photo / Supplied

If all Kiwis donated 50c each, a private beach in Abel Tasman National Park could be ours to share.

The 7ha private beach, in the park's Awaroa Inlet, is selling for $2 million.

The beach is listed with real estate company Bayleys, which describes it as "picturesque" with 800m of golden sand and beautiful native bush.

Although the beach was open for the public, Mr Major said that might not be guaranteed in the next 30 to 40 years as it had riparian rights. Photo / Flickr
Although the beach was open for the public, Mr Major said that might not be guaranteed in the next 30 to 40 years as it had riparian rights. Photo / Flickr

Christchurch resident Duane Major, who regularly visited the private beach, has taken matters into his own hands and created a Givealittle page for Kiwis to pledge money to buy the land.

He said it was an opportunity to take it off the elite property market and give access to the public.

"I really value our national park and the idea of taking this opportunity to permanently take it off the private market and put it into the hands of everyone ... It's certainly worth a shot."

Although the beach was open for the public, Mr Major said that might not be guaranteed in the next 30 to 40 years as it had riparian rights.

"I want to make sure it can't be developed, as I enjoy and appreciate it so much ... This beach is particularly beautiful."

Mr Major, a Spreydon resident, said the idea came to mind when he was "ranting" about the pristine beach being for sale with his brother-in-law Adam Gardner.

"At the end of our banter, we said to each other, let's do something about it."

Mr Major said he would be "so stoked" if the target was reached.

"If 2000 people gave $1000, we would reach it. Let's give it a go."

"I want to make sure it can't be developed, as I enjoy and appreciate it so much ... This beach is particularly beautiful." Photo / Flickr Creative Commons
"I want to make sure it can't be developed, as I enjoy and appreciate it so much ... This beach is particularly beautiful." Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

He said he had spoken to a staff member at the Department of Conservation and it seemed interested, but it was out of its budget.

If a significant number of people pledged but the target was not reached, Mr Major said "it would still be sending a statement".

The page has seven pledges so far worth $6300. The $2 million would need to be pledged before the tender closes on February 16 at 4pm.

If the target was not reached, he said, pledgers would not be charged.

Department of Conservation (DoC) operations manager Roy Grose said it was not interested in purchasing the beach.

"The reality is the ecological and biodiversity values of the site do not justify DoC spending more than $2 million to buy 800m of beach and 7ha of kanuka scrub."

They would however be open to receiving the land.

"If whoever purchases the property chooses to give it to DoC we would welcome the chance to incorporate the beach and the land into the Abel Tasman National Park.

"If the Awaroa beach land was offered to DoC it would be taken in trust for the purpose specified by the donors."

To donate to the Givealittle page visit: https://givealittle.co.nz/project/abeltasmanbeach2016

- NZ Herald

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