Coronation Park is awash with icy water and brave people this morning for the 2014 Heart Stoppers Challenge.

38 teams are plunging into 9C water and trying to sit it out for five minutes each, raising funds for children who are born with heart defects.

Bay of Plenty @Heart chairwoman Rachael Parkes said the fundraising event was a chance for people to experience a bit of what children with heart conditions go through.

"The chest is filled up with an icy slush. It's things they went through when they had open heart surgery," she said.


Mrs Parkes said she was amazed by the fundraising efforts of the Bay of Plenty.

"It's blown away any other event we've done."

Teams braving the cold: