Sand ‘masterpieces’ mark experimental seabed mining victory

Bruce Mercer /

Bruce Mercer /

Sand creatures, castles and campervans

Florence Kerr | Waikato Times |

Inaugural Raglan Sand Sculpture building competition hosted by Anti-mining group “Kiwis against Seabed mining (KASM). 47 teams participated in the competition, held to celebrate KASM’s win against Trans Tasman Resources.



They were a small core group of New Zealanders that took a stand against a large mining company and won, and for their efforts they put on a celebration that incorporated the sea, the sand and the people.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) held its inaugural sand sculpture competition on Kopua beach in Raglan yesterday to celebrate its win against Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) which wanted to mine 50 million tonnes of iron sand from the seabed off the West Coast.

TTR planned to appeal the decision handed down from the Environment Protection Authority that rejected its application, but withdrew in December last year.

KASM chairman Phil McCabe said a sand sculptor competition was a fitting way to celebrate their victory.

“It is about our beach, our water and about the people.

“It’s a very fitting way to incorporate everything while having fun,” he said.

McCabe paid tribute to the many supporters of KASM that came from all over the country.

Forty-seven teams made of of families, friends and youth groups took part in creating sand sculpture masterpieces for prizes donated from local businesses in Raglan.

“We wanted to hold a celebration with the community and it was at our AGM that someone came up with the idea of a sand sculpture competition so we ran with it, it was a great idea.”

Locals and visitors set to work creating mythical creatures, castles, campervans as well as messages supporting KASM.

Amelia Penfold with friends Ella McLeod-Edwards and Maiterangi Brown created a 2-metre-long tuatara.

“Ella and I started down here at 9 (am) then Mai came along and she was just looking and said ‘oh this is cool, you know you could add some eggs to it,’ so we said ‘do you want to join our team’ and, yeah, then we had this.”

Friends Peata Jones and Garbi Klapka did not hold back when describing the actions of those who chose to ignore the issue of seabed mining. They sculpted a person lying on the sand with their head in a hole, with a message designed with seashells that read: “Take a stand, don’t dig your head in the sand”.

Klapka said they wanted to do something a little different.

“We thought we would put someone’s head in the sand to represent those that don’t support KASM.”

McCabe said KASM was pushing for a moratorium on seabed mining.

raglan 2


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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, New Zealand

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