The world sandcastle building record has been smashed in an effort that turned Wellington's Lyall Bay Beach into a two-kilometre construction zone.
In one hour yesterday, more than 1000 people hurriedly built 1564 sandcastles, all of which had to meet Guinness World Record requirements.
"We absolutely shattered the world record," organiser Linc Gasking, of Adventure Wellington, said.
The previous record of 683 sandcastles was set less than two months ago in Britain.
Gasking said the fun people had building the sandcastles was contrasted by the "serious military operation" carried out by adjudicators from KPMG and Opus, who had to count and inspect all the sandcastles to make sure they measured up.
Each one had to be at least 60cm high and have four distinct turrets.
One hundred specially designed buckets were created for the event by Sir Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop.
Gasking said he was not allowed to say whether any stars from The Hobbit were on the beach, in advance of Wednesday's world premiere in Wellington, because "it's not an official Hobbit event".
However, Canadian actor Evangeline Lilly, who plays the elf Tauriel, was there with her family. She gave the prize to a group of diggers who put up 40 sandcastles.
"We moved sand across the entire two kilometres of beach," Gasking said. "The only thing faster than the sandcastles going up was the speed of the children who took out most of the castles in about five minutes after the record was announced."
The event raised more than $5000 for the Neonatal Trust.
- The Dominion Post