Massey claims apple-bobbing record

FEELING THE CRUNCH: Students get ready to bob for apples at Massey University in Palmerston North.
FEELING THE CRUNCH: Students get ready to bob for apples at Massey University in Palmerston North.

Palmerston North's newest batch of scarfies have taken a bite into student life today with a hard-core welcome to the city.

As part of Massey University-run Orientation Week activities, students and staff lined up to break the apple-bobbing world record during their lunch break.

What proved to be a spluttering start to the academic year has seen hundreds of Massey students and staff try bobbing for fruit in buckets en masse in a bid to beat the world record of 597 people simultaneously apple-bobbing.

READY: Students prepare to take part.
READY: Students prepare to take part.

Manawatu campus student life coordinator Kirsty Greenwell said organisers had hoped for more than 800 students and staff to help blitz the current world record, which is held by the Ontario Apple Growers' association, in America.

An early head count showed about 600 people taking part, Miss Greenwell said.

Participants were positioned inside a specially marked area of concourse, hands behind back and watched closely by judges.

More than 160 tables were set up holding 800 buckets filled with 10 apples each.

After a countdown participants launched into plucking 10 floating apples from a water-filled bucked and putting them into a plastic bag, without the assistance of their arms.

The attempt ended minutes later when the first person bobbed all 10 apples from the bucket in the fastest time.

First-year students, and first-time apple bobbers, Lydia Watts, 18, and Hayley Ross, 17, said it was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved record-setting event.

"It's a good chance to break a world record," Miss Ross said. "Plus it gets us out of the halls," Miss Watts said.

Event organisers are now pulling together proof, including a time-stamped film clip and an aerial photograph, to send to Guinness World Records officials.

It was slow moving to get students along at first, but the world record number was just reached.

Miss Greenwell said with thousands of students on campus  for O-Week activities it wasn't hard to garner interest but getting students to line up provided a bit tricky.

"This year is our 50th anniversary as a university ... it's fairly significant for us and our new students get to make some more history breaking a world record here."

The attempt was witnessed by the Manawatu Jets, Turbos and members of the Manawatu Striders as independent stewards.

They have to sign post-event statements saying all apple-bobbing participant competed and took part with no cheating.

Apple-bobbing was chosen as a fun way of celebrating 2014 Orientation and Massey's 50th anniversary of its world-leading Food Technology research and teaching programme.

Manawatu Standard