New Zealand beach crowdfunding bid hits target

Image of Awaroa Inlet on New Zealand's South Island - February 2016 Image copyright
Image caption The beach's future could be resolved on Tuesday

A crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to buy a New Zealand beach for public use has hit its target - but the bidders must wait to see if their tender is successful.

Campaigners had until Tuesday to raise NZ$2m (£914,000, $1.3m) and place a bid on the currently private beach.

The stretch of land in the Abel Tasman National Park, on the north coast of South Island, went on sale last year.

More than 36,000 people have now supported the campaign and donations continue to flow in.

The money was raised in a little more than three weeks, after a group of friends plotted the purchase.

"We love our land, every piece, and there is a sadness every time a little piece leaves our care," one of the campaigners, Duane Major, told the Dominion Post.

"We want to be able to pass that on to our children, to care and protect, and give it as a gift to the legacy of New Zealand."

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Image caption The beach can also be accessed by a nearby airstrip
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Image caption The beach is marketed as "a remarkable seven-hectare utopia"
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Image caption Prime Minister John Key did not rule out the government helping with the bid

The beach at Awaroa has been owned by a Wellington-based businessman since 2008. It is being advertised as "a remarkable seven-hectare utopia" with "three modest buildings dotted amidst the mature native bush".

It also offers access by air, thanks to a nearby air strip.

Earlier this week, before the campaign had reached its target, a New Zealand businessman and philanthropist offered to make up the shortfall in the fund in exchange for exclusive access to part of the beach for his family. Gareth Morgan's offer was rejected by the campaigners.

Tenders will be placed by Tuesday afternoon, and it is not known whether there will be competing bids.

The crowdfunding website stopped showing the running tally once it hit NZ$2m, so the current total is not known.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister John Key would not rule out a "modest" government contribution to the fund should it be needed.

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