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New Zealanders crowdfund millions to save 'best beach on the planet'

After a pristine national park beach was put on the market by a private owner, a group of Kiwis responded, urging "everyday" New Zealanders to pitch in and buy it for the public - they've hit their cash target.

A group of New Zealanders working under the banner of Communitas, a private company to help "change things" on the property market, reached a crowdfunding target of 2 million New Zealand dollars ($1.34 million, 1.18 million euros) to buy the "best beach on the planet" for public use.

The fundraising drive was fueled by the successful Twitter hashtag #BuythisbeachNZ. On Friday, they reached the 2 million target in pledges - presumably ready to submit a tender for the real estate being sold by a previous owner who had limited public access to the stretch of sand.

"A pristine piece of beach in Abel Tasman National Park area is up for private sale in the next three weeks," said a statement on the group's Givealittle fundraising page explaining the campaign. "We believe there are lots of people out there who also want the opportunity to have that kind of place owned and shared by everyone in New Zealand."

The realtor selling the beach property, located in a national park, said the price was up for negotiation although the vendor was seeking offers around 2 million New Zealand dollars, according to local media.

"The fact that you own the entire beach is pretty unique … it's a big advantage and ensures your privacy," Bayleys Real Estate Company salesman Glenn Dick told the New Zealand news site Stuff.

'To enjoy forever'

The crowdfunding page has now gone into "stealth mode" - having previously shown progress towards the 2 million goal - in a bid to hide the amount of funds raised through the campaign to "ensure a private competitive tender can be made" for the purchase.

"After the tender process is complete, the project owners will be completely transparent about the total amount raised. And remember, no pledges will be processed unless the tender is successful," said a statement from the Givealittle fundraising platform, which is working with the group to secure funds for the property.

The crowdfunding campaign on the Givealittle platform will officially end on February 15.

If the beach property is purchased by the group, the New Zealanders said it would be donated to the country's official Department of Conservation or "a suitable trust" for "everyone to enjoy forever."

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