In an unprecedented move, the Snowden’s Bush Trust have reached their final fundraising target of $350k, less than 24 hours after the Waimea Weekly ran their latest story on the campaign last week.

“It’s no coincidence that every time the Waimea Weekly run a story about us, we get donations,” says Jeremy Cameron, Trust Chair. “But we never thought we’d get such a big amount to push us over the finish line this soon.”

Just five weeks ago, the Trust still had to raise $47k, but after the Waimea Weekly ramped up the campaign boosting their public profile, the Trust are now celebrating the end of almost three years of fundraising.

The project began in October 2018 when the Anglican Church proposed selling the land in front of Snowden’s Bush Reserve for housing development. Local resident Janice Gibbs set the ball rolling with the idea of fundraising enough money to buy the land and gift it back to the Department of Conservation, permanently protecting ancient Totara and Matai trees and expanding the Reserve to include the frontage along Waimea West Road.

“We are more than thrilled that this piece of land will now stay in the public domain forever,” says Janice. “There are just are no words other than thank you, thank you, thank you. It feels like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders. The volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this happen and it’s hard to believe we are here already.”

The significance of Snowden’s Bush is that it is the largest remnant of thousands of hectares of podocarp forest that once covered the Waimea Plains. The Snowden family privately protected the forest from logging in the nineteenth century and made it available for community events and picnics. It was purchased by the Waimea County Council after a public subscription campaign in 1920 and it became the Snowden’s Bush Reserve in March 1921.

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