Environmental messages were a common theme at KASM’s Sandcastle Building Competition at Raglan’s domain on Monday, with many reflecting the organisation’s concerns and issues in sand art.
The competition was such a success that KASM planned to make it an annual event, tied into the Raglan Arts Weekend, said KASM spokesman Phil McCabe.
“It was a really cool day. A good family day and everyone really enjoyed themselves … and a good day to celebrate the ocean and the win that we had,” he said.
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) held the sandcastle competition on the Anniversary Day holiday to celebrate its victory against Trans Tasman Resources, which abandoned its legal battle to mine the Taranaki seabed late last year.
About 45 groups and individuals entered the competition, making use of the low tide to build artful creations in 4-metre square blocks on the harbour beach by the skate park over the day, Phil said.
With three to six people in each team, there ended up being hundreds of people – mostly locals with a few visitors too – digging up the glorious black sand and trying to build eye-catching sand creations that would attract prizes in the five divisions.
Others were vying for the People’s Choice Award, where onlookers voted with their money, and the Enviro Award.
The entries were judged by Phil and 2013 New Zealand Sandcastle Competition adult individual winner and KASM member, Rob Sykes, who came up with the competition idea.
Many of the creations did not fit the traditional idea of ‘sand castles’ but they did carry strong environmental messages close to KASM’s heart, such as the individual winning sculpture, dubbed ‘The Sand Grab’, by local Tom Seddon.
A trio of local girls won the youth division with their huge tuatara. Hamilton principal Shane Ngatai’s group won the family division with their sculpture of a taniwha smashing the boat of American oil company Anadarko, which was drilling off the Raglan coast last year.
Maori wardens were on the beach from 6.30am to keep everyone safe, giving their time at no cost, while a group of volunteers helped run the competition and its food stall.