Kiwi ‘bloke’ turns beach into pub­lic park

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

A NEW Zealand man whose am­bi­tious crowd­fund­ing cam­paign raised mil­lions of dol­lars to buy a pris­tine South Is­land beach and make it pub­lic park­land said yes­ter­day it was “sur­real” to see his dream re­alised.

Duane Ma­jor’s push ear­lier this year to take Awaroa beach out of pri­vate hands and make it a na­tional park quickly went vi­ral, at­tract­ing 40,000 do­na­tions to raise a to­tal of NZ$2.3 mil­lion (US$1.7 mil­lion).

Ma­jor, a pas­tor who de­scribes him­self as “an or­di­nary bloke”, was present when the beach was of­fi­cially in­cor­po­rated into the Abel Tas­man Na­tional Park at a Maori cer­e­mony on July 10.

“I must say, it might have been the wind, but I might have squeezed out a wee tear or two,” Ma­jor told TV3 yes­ter­day.

Awaroa in­let is an 800-me­tre (2600-foot) stretch of golden sand at the top of South Is­land.

Ac­ces­si­ble only by boat or he­li­copter, it came on the mar­ket late last year, with real es­tate agents mar­ket­ing it as “the best beach on the planet”.

Ma­jor de­cided after dis­cus­sions with rel­a­tives over the Christ­mas pe­riod to set up the crowd­fund­ing page. “We just gave it a shot,” he said. “We didn’t know how it would pan out and the mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence it’s been, it was kind of sur­real.”

It was the largest crowd­fund­ing ef­fort ever fa­cil­i­tated by web­site Givealit­tle, with do­na­tions rang­ing from chil­dren pledg­ing a dol­lar to cor­po­ra­tions giv­ing tens of thou­sands.

The gov­ern­ment chipped in NZ$350,000 and as­so­ci­ate con­ser­va­tion min­is­ter Nicky Wag­ner said fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of New Zealan­ders would now en­joy it.

“It’s a vic­tory for pos­i­tive peo­ple power and for pre­serv­ing our en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

“All those who con­trib­uted have given a won­der­ful gift to our na­tion.” –

Photo: AFP

A New Zealand man whose am­bi­tious crowd­fund­ing cam­paign raised mil­lions of dol­lars to buy a pris­tine South Is­land beach and make it pub­lic park­land said on July 11 it was “sur­real” to see his dream re­alised.

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