In January of this year, the owner of a section of beach in the heart of Abel Tasman National Park was put up for sale. The owner listed the beach as “rare and stunning location offers a once in a life time opportunity for private ownership of your very own beach and land package in idyllic Awaroa.” Seven hectares in size in one of the most beautiful beaches in NZ.
Abel Tasman is NZ’s smallest national park. I haven’t been there yet but my kayak keeps reminding me that I should! A quick Google image search of the park will show you why.
So when the land went up for sale, apparently a couple of kiwis who love the park had a conversation (likely over a beer or two) about how sad it was that the land wasn’t being given to the park. And that conversation evolved (possibly another beer or two) into a brainstorming session about how to address the issue. I don’t know all the details, but in the end they decided to try the crazy idea of crowd-funding the purchase of the land and then turning it over to the National Park.
It sounds far-fetched yes, but after the conversation kicked off the media picked it up and it was all over the papers in NZ. Lawyers and advisors donated some pro bono time to help them out and they put the project up on GiveaLittle. By the time it was all said and done, 39,239 people had donated to the cause and, with a little boost from a private donor and the government’s park fund, they were able to buy the land! And now, the public has bought itself a beach.
I don’t know if things like this happen in the rest of the world. But it sure sounds to me like it’s one of those things that only happens in New Zealand.
Note: I haven’t yet been to Abel Tasman so couldn’t use one of my own pictures for this post. The featured pic is from Give a Little’s website.