Campaign to buy Awaroa beach hits $1 million

The beach is listed with real estate company Bayleys, which describes it as "picturesque". Photo / Supplied
The beach is listed with real estate company Bayleys, which describes it as "picturesque". Photo / Supplied

A crowdfunding campaign to keep a pristine South Island beach in public ownership has broken the $1 million mark.

Christchurch man Duane Major set up a Givealittle page in January encouraging Kiwis to pledge towards buying a $2 million 7ha private beachfront property in Abel Tasman National Park's Awaroa Inlet.

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

More than 15,000 pledges totalling more than $1 million has been raised so far.

Mr Major 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." 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 $2 million would need to be pledged before the tender closes on February 16 at 4pm. If the target was not reached, pledgers would not be charged.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has said the beach would be incorporated into the national park if the campaign was successful.

- NZ Herald

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