Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Awaroa beach will be public if Givealittle campaign succeeds

The 7ha slice of land on the Awaroa inlet is being sold for $2 million. Photo / Supplied
The 7ha slice of land on the Awaroa inlet is being sold for $2 million. Photo / Supplied

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has confirmed that an idyllic, privately-owned beach will be added to the Abel Tasman National Park if an online campaign to purchase the land succeeds.

The 7ha slice of land on the Awaroa inlet is being sold for $2 million. An online campaign to reclaim the picturesque spot for public use has so far raised $750,000 through the crowdfunding website Givealittle.

Ms Barry said today she had instructed conservation officials to speak to the organisers of the campaign about the legal requirements of making the beach part of the national park.

She said the campaign had struck a deep vein of public support, with more than 11,000 people donating money to the Givealittle fund.

Telecommunications company Spark has contributed $20,000 towards the fund.

If the target was reached, the minister gave her assurance that the land would be added to the Abel Tasman National Park and that free access would be secured for the public in perpetuity.

The minister said the campaign was inspirational and reflected New Zealanders' "deep and abiding love" for their natural heritage.

The campaign was started by Christchurch resident Duane Major, who regularly visited the private beach.

"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," Mr Major said.

The Department of Conservation has previously said that it was not interested in buying the site because it was not a precious ecological site, but it would be open to receiving the land.

The department could not justify spending $2 million on 800m of beach and a section of kanuka scrub, a spokesman said.

Tenders for the sale close on February 16.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 May 2017 23:26:34 Processing Time: 416ms