How Kiwis built their 'sand-sanctuary'

Sarah Harris, NZ Herald,
Upper North Island,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 3 January 2018, 4:24p.m.
The mound was built in order to flout Coromandel's drinking ban. (Photo / Facebook)
The mound was built in order to flout Coromandel's drinking ban. (Photo / Facebook)

New photos have come to light of the American and Kiwi friends who built an island just to knock back a few cold ones on New Year's Eve.

The group made a "sand-sanctuary" to avoid a strict liquor ban in Coromandel. The group reportedly claimed they were "in international waters" and not subject to the ban.

Leon Hayward said three Americans had been in on the fun and it took them around six hours to build.

"We thought it would be a good laugh and the drinking ban would be a grey area if we were on our own island," he toldĀ Time.

Part of the team that built the sand island. From left - Fussell, Spruce, Leon Hayward, Shaun. Sitting - JP and Marc. (Photo / Supplied)

READ MORE: Sand-sanctuary in Coromandel flouts drinking ban

Hayward said it was "pretty nuts" how much international attention the story had received.

They used wheelbarrows, shovels and hands to heap the sand into a mound at low tide. All up about a dozen friends helped.

Black sand and sea shells were used, then it was finished with wooden planks to help distribute the drinkers' weight.

By the time the tide came in they had a picnic table and chilly bin set up on the island all set up to welcome in 2018.

In a post to the Tairua ChitChat! Facebook page, photos show the group surrounded by boats, a kayaker and a paddle-boarder.

The island in initial stages of construction. Photo / Supplied

The island in initial stages of construction. (Photo / Supplied)

Waikato eastern area commander Inspector John Kelly admired the group's attempt to avoid the liquor ban.

"That's creative thinking - if I had known that I probably would have joined them," he told Fairfax.

Locals had called for a liquor ban after trouble in previous years.

Whangamata community stalwart and Beach Hop founder Noddy Watts said it was time for a change after police made numerous arrests over the New Year period for the past few years.

"They were dealing with drunk teens. That's not what they are there for. That's what parents are there for.

"The police and St John were getting frustrated with the result and said it has to change," Watts said.

The story has attracted attention from international sources, with GQ and Time featuring it on their websites, and the story has appeared on news sites in Australia, Britain, the US, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Russia and Malta.

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