I have dabbled in property, owning a wee unit which I rented out for a couple of years when I moved into my parents house under the terms of their will. I sold said unit and was glad I was no longer “just dabbling” as a landlady – it wasn’t for me.
So property and me, not my biggest strength. I have other options for investments. However in the last few weeks a prospect caught my eye, and I thought, oh why the hell not?
So I paid my $20 and I bought a beach.
Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Basically, short version, previously private land adjacent to a National Park came up for sale. In order for it to not be bought privately and potentially become inaccessible (who knows what new owners might do) a brave couple of local Cantabrians decided to start a crowd-funding project to buy it. If everyone in NZ put in a little bit of money, we could buy the beach. The idea was to buy it, then ensure it was committed to always remaining available to all of NZ. The current owners had a couple of basic buildings (shed, hut) and had left it open for public to use. So these guys thought yeh, let’s keep it that way.
Of all the “givealittle” causes this was something new. Not taking away from someone’s hardship, disease or disability, this crowdfunded appealed for its fun, creative approach and also appealed to those kiwis who do love this beautiful land of ours and want to keep it our own as much as possible.
Anyway, short story becoming slightly longer, over $2m was raised and through a private tender process this week we found out, we had bought a beach!!!
The government have also stepped in with a little help – $350K and a process to turn it into national park, therefore sealing the deal of public access.
There has been a little controversy about whether the government should have bought it, why it was privately owned anyway, and whether the local iwi (maori) should actually have it. But in the end, it’s a good result. I’d rather the government stump up just a small amount and put the other couple of million to better use in other areas.
The best thing about this whole thing though, is seeing over 40,000 New Zealanders get together as a community for this. It was a happy, positive action, and had a really good underlying value. Some committed $1.00 others committed $1,000. I committed $20. Probably half a fistful of sand’s worth. But I was part of an epic little challenge and movement to beat off about “100 interested parties” – some of whom would have been from off shore. I think that’s a good thing.
I will be getting my own copies of digital photos of my beach from the campaign leaders shortly, but for now here’s a link to one of the news stories about the beach and you can see, and hopefully agree, just how beautiful it is, and how worthwhile it was to keep public.