21 May 2017

Crowdfunding campaign saves native forest

6:32 am on 21 May 2017

The public has helped save an area of native forest in Northland after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $160,000.

Duane Major and Adam Gardner from the Awaroa Inlet ‘buy a beach’ campaign.

Duane Major and Adam Gardner from the Awaroa Inlet 'Buy a Beach' campaign. Photo: Supplied

The Native Forest Restoration Trust, along with the public, has bought 112 hectares of bush in the Wekaweka Valley, which backs onto the Waipoua Forest - home to New Zealand's largest tree, Tane Mahuta.

Wekaweka Valley

Wekaweka Valley Photo: Supplied / Chris Wild

Trust general manager Sandy Crichton said the five existing landowners offered the section to the Trust for $185,000, on the condition it was a speedy purchase.

"They're very fond of the property, but they've got to an age now where they are looking to pass it on ... to someone who will carry on the good work they have already started," he said.

With only enough in the kitty for a deposit, they turned to crowdfunding and brought Duane Major and Adam Gardner from the Awaroa Inlet 'Buy a Beach' campaign on board.

Within just a few months, the public had raised $166,000.

"Towards the end, there was one significant donation of $15,000, so that took us over the line in style," Mr Crichton said.

"We felt quietly confident but we've been completely blown away by the support from the public."

People felt compelled to help because they wanted to see the native bush regenerated for future generations, he said.

"They wanted it for their children and their grandchildren to enjoy."

It was one of the Trust's most successful fundraising campaigns in its 37-year history, Mr Crichton said.

The land at the centre of the campaign.

The land at the centre of the campaign. Photo: Supplied / Stephen King

The property has a existing native forest and parts of it were selectively logged in the past, but Mr Crichton said work has already begun to regenerate those areas.

The rare riverine forest would become a reserve and efforts will be made to trap pests and fence out stock.

The trust is hoping to collaborate with the community on conservation projects.