The team behind Brightwater’s Snowden’s Bush Trust have just nine months to find the final $47k required of their $350k target to save land in front of Snowden’s Bush Scenic Reserve and prevent it from being turned into housing. Waimea Weekly is backing the campaign to save the land, which is home to ancient tōtara trees, some of which are several hundred years old, and other native plants and wildlife, such as tui, bellbirds and kereru.

Set up by local resident Janice Gibbs, the trust aims to buy the land from the Anglican Diocese and gift it to the Department of Conservation so it can be integrated into the reserve and enjoyed by the community for generations to come.

Amazingly, $302k has been raised so far and the trust was recently granted a nine-month extension to find the rest, as their original deadline was this month.

Founder, Janice, says, “The extension now means we have until 1 November 2021 to raise just over $47,000 to meet our fundraising target of $350,000 and buy the land. It will be three years in May since we started this project and we are so close now.”

Nelson MP Nick Smith, who is also a trustee, says the proposed housing development would be “a tragedy” for Brightwater and for the Nelson region.

“I am determined to raise the last $47,000 and see these ancient local tōtara permanently protected,” Nick said this week in a speech to Rotary.

“We have got a big job ahead to try to persuade the Brightwater community and also the whole region to support us in our fundraising.”

After wet weather caused Snowden’s Bush 100th Birthday and Family Fun Day to be rained off last year, the team have rescheduled for Sunday 21 March at 1pm-4pm.

The free event is a thank you to the local community for their effort so far in helping to raise funds. With live entertainment, food and market stalls, the area on Waimea Road West will come alive with community spirit.

“It’s more of a thank you to locals,” says Snowden’s Bush Trust chairman, Jerry Cameron. “We are hoping to raise awareness for our project as we are tantalisingly close to reaching our goal. Every contribution people can make at this point will make a huge difference.”

“Come along and show your support,” says Janice. “We are also planning a series of fundraising events in the future from a charity concert to an auction. This land should belong to the community – not developers.”

To make a donation to the Trust, or if you want a stall at the fun day, call Karen on 021 0267 1940 or email

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