Whānau holiday fun: 'Last sandcastle standing wins'

By Mahina Hurkmans

Enjoying the summer holidays, whānau in Ōpōtiki joined forces to see who could build the strongest sandcastle. It was not all fun and games though, the challenge brought out the competitive spirit in the teams.

The Race the Tide event connects the community in Opōtiki.

Joseph Hayes says, "It's been a really cool day so far, teams have come out to make their structures. They've got to defend them from the incoming tide and the last team standing is the winner." 

"It's great for the communities, for the young ones. It doesn't cost anything you know, have a great time, get together and just relax, it's great," Opōtiki local Esther Wilson says.

It has been seven years since the last event and families from far and wide have come to protect their structures. 

Pointing to a nearby whanau, Wilson playfully says, "They're from Auckland but we're locals. 

"This structure here is a whale, well it's not looking like one now, but it's holding us. It's nice and solid." 

Mathew Dolton from Tauranga says, "We built this with Mauao (Mount Maunganui) in mind, Oliver is a big fan of Mauao back in Tauranga so we built it with that in mind." 

Although the importance of the day is to connect the community, whānau are enjoying the friendly competition.

"The group down the end look like they have a pretty good structure as well," Dolton says.

"Our thinking was to build as high a mound as we could. Pack it in as hard as we could get, as close back to the line where the high tide mark was coming from."

The families are sticklers for the rule too.

"I think the one right down the end, but we are going to contest because I think they built past the line," Wilson says.

All the action is down here at the beach but in the coming days there will be more fun-filled community activities as well.