The roasting of a giant wooden fish at Te Awanga has provided a spark for what is fast becoming a must-see Hawke's Bay Guy Fawkes tradition.

Thousands watched the subtly political sculpture, which was designed and built by Isaac McCormick and his mates, burn on Tuesday night.

"We just thought it is something a bit different for people to enjoy," McCormick said.

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The massive sculpture which measured up at 8.5m long and 4m high, is the second year the team have done a project like it.

"We did a cow last year as a bit of a gab at Fonterra with the issues with the waterways and called it 'Fonterrabul'," he said.

A team of locals came together to build the 8m long fish for Guy Fawkes. Photo / Supplied
A team of locals came together to build the 8m long fish for Guy Fawkes. Photo / Supplied

"This year we did the fish because we just wanted to put a little light on the issues of our oceans and keeping them clean."

McCormick said the whole process was a quick build and took just three days.

"We really only stopped when we ran out of wood," he said.

People gather as the sculpture gets in position to be set alight. Photo / Warren Buckland
People gather as the sculpture gets in position to be set alight. Photo / Warren Buckland

"It did turn out pretty good in the end and some people were even wondering why we would burn it but that's the whole point."

For McCormick the best thing of the night wasn't seeing the fish burst into flames rather seeing all the kids enjoy the sculpture while it lasted.

"The kids loved it, being able to climb all over it just like what we would have done when we were younger."

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Thousands turned out to see the fish sculpture burn on the beach. Photo / Warren Buckland
Thousands turned out to see the fish sculpture burn on the beach. Photo / Warren Buckland

But he said he couldn't stress enough that the sculpture was made by the whole community and for the whole community.

"The build was a collaboration between myself, Sophie Lamb, Fish Radich and Tom Hayton, with Joe and Anissa Talbi-Dobson offering their shed and Simon and Nicki Hinton donating their front lawn for the duration of the build.

The large fish sculpture built by Simon Hinton burns on the beach Te Awanga. Photo / Warren Buckland
The large fish sculpture built by Simon Hinton burns on the beach Te Awanga. Photo / Warren Buckland

"We wish to thank all the respective neighbours and Te Awanga campground for being so understanding of all the construction noise at odd hours, and the community for the general enthusiastic support," McCormick said.

"They really got behind it and the night before the big show we had to do some last minute wielding and rush to the finish so people walking past offered to hold something or do something to help."

People watch the sculpture burn on the beach. Photo / Warren Buckland
People watch the sculpture burn on the beach. Photo / Warren Buckland

Big crowds gathered not just at Te Awanga this year but also, as is traditional, along Marine Parade.

Emergency services said it was a relatively quiet evening.

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With in 10 minutes the sculpture was fully a blaze. Photo / Warren Buckland
With in 10 minutes the sculpture was fully a blaze. Photo / Warren Buckland

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Hawke's Bay area commander Ken Cooper said there were "very few" callouts over that period of time.

"We always encourage people to go to displays but we were quite realistic in the fact that people were going to enjoy a bonfire on the beach, and there was several but it didn't cause us significant issues," he said.

Compared to last year it was an improvement with the message of safe use of fireworks and fire getting through to people, Cooper said.

From Monday, it will be a restricted fire season for the region. Cooper says it is important to go to www.checkitsalright.nz before starting a fire.

St John Territory Manager Brendon Hutchinson said they responded to one firework incident in Hawke's Bay yesterday where one patient was treated for minor injuries.

"This is the only incident the ambulance service has attended on Guy Fawkes Night in the Hawkes Bay area as a result of fireworks in several years, and it is fortunate there have not been any serious injuries."

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