Papamoa Polar Plunge a hit in and out of water

By Kiri Gillespie

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A large crowd of daring souls braved icy winds and chilly waters at Papamoa yesterday to help raise $1000 for charity.

The Papamoa Polar Plunge attracted more than 100 people to the beach in only their bathers or, for many, crazy costumes ranging from tutus and onesies.

The event was organised by Papamoa Unlimited as a way to bring people together to help look after local non-profit organisations.

Event manager Kate Percy said each participant chose a local non-profit organisation and if their entry was drawn after the plunge their respective charity won $1000.

"It's kind of community spirit that makes everyone come together for the greater good," she said.

Ms Percy said the plunge was the second of its kind and was bigger and brighter than last year.

"There's certainly a step up for the best dressed," she said.

A large contingent from Papamoa Kindergarten dressed in red and members of Bay Dragons dressed together as one collective dragon.

"I think because it's not just individual parts of the community coming together it brings schools and clubs together, it's cool," Ms Percy said.

Papamoa Kindergarten won the main prize. The team from Bay Dragons also won, being named best dressed.

Kristin Sullivan dressed as a supermum with her family for the event. Her chosen organisation was Papamoa Kindergarten.

"They are not your usual day care. It's a free kindy and they need all the funding they can get," she said.

Ms Sullivan also took part last year.

"I think it was colder this time. Last year I remember it being a bit overcast so it wasn't as much of a shock. Today it's quite sunny."

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and Papamoa councillor Leanne Brown also took part.

"My charity is Women's Refuge and it's just a fantastic idea. Papamoa Unlimited are doing great work for the community. I

"It's all about bringing people together and a community is really powerful when people have shared experiences," Mr Muller said.

Ms Brown, who also took part in last year's polar plunge, said there were more people taking part this year and she hoped the event would continue to grow.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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