Gareth Morgan rejected last-minute Awaroa plea

By Aimee Shaw

Gareth Morgan. Photo / John Borren
Gareth Morgan. Photo / John Borren

Following a successful public campaign to own Abel Tasman's Awaroa beach, Gareth Morgan has revealed he turned down last-minute pleas to help buy the beach.

The philanthropist took to his blog to explain why he would rather put his money elsewhere.

"I have no intention to question how people spend their money, but I do think that the price paid was too high - both from a conservation and purely financial perspective," he said. "I will certainly find better value for my conservation dollar elsewhere."

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In his post titled Awaroa: Triumph of Romance over Rationality Morgan discusses the tender process and questions whether the seven-hectare piece of land was worth the crowdfunded 2.28 million.

"Let me tell you about my last week. Yes they came to me again, the crowd's funding cheerleaders.

"Last time I heard from them they only had about $1m and they needed a hand up given donations were flagging. My response then was to offer a strategem whereby we could stimulate the rate of donations, get the beach for a price below $2m, give the public access in perpetuity and then sell the beach again with that covenant attached. I would wear the loss (which I hoped would be bugger all). Thanks but no thanks," he wrote.

Abel Tasman National Park's Awaroa Inlet.
Abel Tasman National Park's Awaroa Inlet.

Morgan originally stepped in mid-way through the campaign, proposing to make up the difference to any shortfall between what was pledged and the $2 million target, but his offer was rejected following his condition to keep some of the beach for private use.

More than 39,000 people pledged more than $2 million to buy the beach by tender through a Givealittle campaign.

"I've been very happy to turn down the offers for help to buy Awaroa, and will be looking to spend my money on things that actually improve conservation."

- NZ Herald

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