New Zealanders Raise Millions to Buy a Beach and Donate It to the Public

Bruce McKinlay, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Bruce McKinlay, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Bruce McKinlay, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A new beach has opened to the public in New Zealand this week, and it's all thanks to the crowdfunding campaign of brothers-in-law Adam Gard'ner and Duane Major, along with 40,000 generous New Zealanders. Newshub reports that Gard’ner and Major raised nearly $2.3 million NZD (that's about $1.7 million USD) online to purchase Awaroa Beach in the Abel Tasman National Park from its original owner.

The two learned that the beach was going up for sale last year, and after some "Christmas Day banter," launched a fundraising campaign to stop the beach from falling into private hands. Their sole goal was to keep the beach open to the public, ensuring anyone could visit the pristine 17-acre stretch of sand.

During the fundraising campaign, New Zealand individuals and corporations made donations ranging from a single dollar to thousands. The New Zealand government even pitched in, donating $350,000 NZD to the fund. According to Newshub, toward the end of the fundraising campaign, one would-be donor offered to provide the rest of the money needed on the condition that he and his family get exclusive access to part of the beach. Gard’ner and Major refused, and successfully raised the money without compromise.

The Telegraph explains that the beach will now be run as a national park. The beach was officially incorporated into the Abel Tasman National Park last weekend, and Major was there to watch the ceremony. "I must say, it might have been the wind, but I might have squeezed out a wee tear or two,” he told reporters. "We didn't know how it would pan out and the magical experience it's been, it was kind of surreal."

[h/t Newshub]