Shrieks of delight and regret filled the air as hundreds of people braved the icy ocean water in the fifth annual Pāpāmoa Polar Plunge.

Despite the sun peeking out behind some light cloud, the wind whipped across the beach in front of Pāpāmoa Domain on Sunday.

People paid a gold coin entry fee for the plunge that could see them win money for their favourite local non-profit organisation.

Hot chocolate was the most popular drink ordered at the coffee cart and bystanders were kitted out in warm clothes.


Ahead of the plunge, participants of all ages were warmed up with a series of jumping moves to Pharrell Williams' pop hit Happy.

With the blood pumping and anticipation high, contestants were given the green light to take the plunge.

They charged into the pale blue water, battling against a surging on-shore wind and tossing waves.

While some mothers chose to stand on the shore watching the others take the plunge, Pāpāmoa painter and mother-of-three Esther Campbell was right in the middle of the action.

She turned up along with her three young daughters and partner after kitting out the family with impressive homemade Power Trooper costumes.

The costumes were inspired by a performance on the television show X-Factor.

"We thought it was really groovy."

Campbell made the costumes from cardboard and other items around the household.


It took her a week to finish the five costumes, which included intricate helmets made out of foam, Domino's pizza boxes and lots of duct tape.

It was the second time the family had geared up to attend the event but the first time they had actually made the plunge.

Last year, they came dressed as the green toy soldiers from Toy Story but, thanks to some car keys going missing, they ran late and missed the plunge.

"I made sure we were well organised this time," Campbell said.

Another plunger was Brian Hurren, who attended the event for the first time after his grandson roped him in.

Ahead of the plunge, the Pāpāmoa resident in his sixties said he hadn't thought about the temperature of the water but he had his plans set for afterwards.

"I'll have a beer - or two - and a hot shower."

Papamoa Unlimited event and marketing manager Julia Manktelow said this year's event was the biggest so far with an upbeat atmosphere to match.

"There are so many wicked costumes. The community vibe here is great."