You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Hana Fisherova, of the Czech Republic, and Evgeny Yurev, of Russia, were in Oamaru briefly yesterday as they continued to do their homework for a ''big ambition'' - developing a retreat where New Zealanders and international visitors can return to nature, ''one part rehabilitation centre, one part international exchange''.
In one month's time Mrs Fisherova and Mr Yurev, along with Denis Bulavin, of Russia, now living in Australia, aim to launch a crowdfunding campaign to establish a therapeutic, educational retreat, inspired by campaigns like the 2016 campaign when more than 35,000 people donated about $2.3 million to buy the Abel Tasman's Awaroa beach.
''Our people are running from the cities again,'' Mrs Fisherova said.
With the Czech Republic's inclusion in the European Union back home people ate ''cucumbers from Spain, pigs from Poland''.
''All our agricultural land is [being used] for biodiesel, something like this,'' she said.
''People would like to go back to the village, but there's no place for everybody.''
On Monday, with Mr Yurev, she visited a 3900ha sheep and beef station in Danseys Pass. Yesterday, they went to look at a 1000ha property near Clyde.
In a pitch to potential New Zealand investors and international donors, shared with the Otago Daily Times in its draft form, they say they are seeking 3333 donors to invest or donate $3333.
''Sometimes it is necessary to resolutely ignore the stereotypes of 'what is possible and impossible' and make the impossible come true,'' the pitch says.
Mrs Fisherova said the project began just four months ago when she was looking for a rehabilitation centre in New Zealand similar to the spa treatments or ''balneotherapy'' she was used to at home, but came up empty.
They had since met with a lawyer, visited a bank, and were fleshing out the concept, she said.
New Zealanders would be key, as it would be locals who would buy or lease the land. The international participants would make donations and could volunteer their time for short periods.
The three partners would form a non-governmental organisation that would manage the land and its activities. They had dreams of musical retreats, innovative agricultural practices and riding for the disabled.