A crowdfunding campaign that raised NZ$2 million (AU$1.84 million) from 40,000 New Zealanders has been successful in buying Awaroa beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. The beach, which is now in public hands, is located on the north coast of South Island and went on sale last year.

According to the campaigners, the government and another major donor contributed. The government and another major donor emerged into the scene to at the last moment to make it possible.

“We are pleased to announce that at 10.57pm last night a pristine piece of beach and bush was delivered into the hands of everyone to enjoy forever,” the Guardian quoted campaign organizer Duane Major’s Facebook post. “Congratulations everyone! We did it!!”

He said that the details of the purchase will be revealed later in the day, but people should first celebrate their achievement, especially the children of New Zealand.

“My heart is beating and I’ve got goosebumps and I’m just so thankful for all those people,” he said on TV3’s Paul Henry show, as quoted by the Guardian. “I always thought we could do it. I did not appreciate the crazy, freakish nature of this campaign.”

He said that the achievement is a shared experience which forms friendships. “We’ve been through the wringer to get it and that’s a shared experience that forms friendships,” the BBC quoted Major as telling supporters. “Now we hope people have shared experiences of this beautiful piece of pristine serene NZ beach and bush.”

The Stuff reported that Michael Spackman, the original owner of the beach, agreed to sell the island after negotiations after the campaign achieved the target within about three weeks.

New Zealand‘s Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said the government’s contribution to the funding was modest but it was vital.

“It’s an outstanding outcome,” she said. “I love the idea that the people of New Zealand have not only spoken, but they’ve put their tuppence-worth in.”