Buying Awaroa Beach 'made perfect sense'

Awaroa Beach (file)
Awaroa Beach (file)

It's "project done, mission complete" for the two men whose Christmas Day chat ended with a beach being gifted to the nation.

On Sunday Awaroa Beach officially became a part of Abel Tasman National Park, a powhiri sealing the $2.8 million deal.

Most of the money to buy it was raised via crowdfunding on website Givealittle, with top-ups from the Government and the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust.

Duane Major and Alan Gard'ner came up with the plan on Christmas Day last year, and never doubted it would work.

"It seems strange, but we were confident," Mr Major told Paul Henry on Monday.

"Intuitively we knew the community spirit levels of New Zealand, and you times that by the population - the mathematics of it made perfect sense. But I suppose it was actually going out on a limb and actually you know, embracing failure. We just gave it a shot."

It wasn't easy, however. They weren't the only ones hoping to buy the beach, and the amount they initially raised via Givealittle was rejected by the vendor, who wanted more.

"We never really understood what would be involved and how it would all sort of pan out - a magical experience it's been, but kind of surreal."

The deal was made in late February after a last-minute injection of cash from the Government, but it's the contributions from ordinary Kiwis that kept Mr Major's spirits and confidence high.

"Failure or win, the fact we actually got off our chuffs and did it and went out on a limb, but then to discover 39,000 other households and schools and workplaces there out on that limb with us, it's been a very empowering experience. Otherwise you just watch things on the TV screen and think you've got no control over it."

From now it's the Department of Conservation's job to look after Awaroa Beach.

"Our job is done. I think it's over."