General Info

When and Where

  • Our 2024 Festival will be running from Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 January 2024 on the Hokitika Beach Front. 

  • Our registrations and voting centre will be at Sunset Point near the Tambo Shipwreck Monument.

  • Our guest artist and judge is Mark Whyte - see below for more about his art and inspirations. 

Driftwood & Sand are pleased to announce our 2024 guest judge, Mark Whyte.

Mark Whyte is a Lyttelton artist who graduated with a  BFA in Sculpture from the Ilam School of Fine Art. He specialises in stone sculpture, heritage restoration, public statuary in marble and bronze, and bronze portraiture. His earliest work in stone heritage restoration was with Takaka marble for the Wellington Parliament refurbishment project in the early 1990s. Since then he  has played a key role in restoring many of the iconic Gothic Revival buildings around Christchurch and Lyttelton designed by Benjamin Mountfort, most of which were destroyed or severely damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

The largest of his various public works  in the Canterbury region is the statue of double Victoria Cross winner Charles Upham at Amberley. In 2009 Whyte was commissioned by the Local Heroes Trust to make twelve bronze  busts of prominent Cantabrians to commemorate their achievements in business, culture, sport and the arts. These portraits are currently installed near the clocktower entrance of the Christchurch Arts Centre.

Whyte also has works on Waiheke Island and in Sydney and London. He plays in a local band, Into the Void, with fellow artists Ronnie van Hout and Jason Grieg.

Who can participate?

Anyone who wishes to register a sculpture may take part. This is an event for everyone, not just artists, especially people who are looking for an excuse to spend time on a wild and beautiful Te Tai Poutini/West Coast beach. Even those who only wish to watch and marvel can take part by voting for their favourite artistic creation.

Eligibility Rules

Any registered sculpture made from beach material is eligible for prizes. Fixings are allowed but must be kept to a minimum and removed later. No dangerous or poisonous substances are allowed. No glass.


$10 Adult entry
$10 Family entry (adults and juniors)
$5 Junior entry (under 16)
$30 (suggested contribution) - Para Tairanga workshop (bookings essential: email
Gold Coin HokiZoo / Taone Turehu / Goldrush Town
Gold Coin to vote

About us:

Driftwood and Sand is based in Hokitika, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and began as a community beach sculpture event in November 2002. It was conceived by local artist Donald Buglass. Who saw the driftwood-strewn beach as a fabulous creative opportunity, offering the raw materials and the inspiration for a community art celebration - a sculpture competition with a difference. Every year he is commissioned to build a large “signature piece” to inspire other artists.

Driftwood and Sand is a charitable trust and the sculpture event is run annually by a group of enthusiastic volunteers. The Trust aims to create benefits for the community and improve participation in the arts in the region.

As a beach sculpture event the Trust encourages participation by artists, novices and people of any age. It is also hoped that the unique beach venue will break down barriers and make art less intimidating by providing an opportunity for novices to make art alongside artists.

Driftwood & Sand has become a regular feature of the Te Tai Poutini (West Coast) arts calendar, providing a delightfully artistic edge to the stunning scenic backdrop that the Te Tai Poutini is famous for.

“The Driftwood and Sand 2007 event was a fantastic showcase of community, creativity and passion for the environment of New Zealand’s West Coast. Every work that I discovered along the beach was a delight, and the passion for our landscapes that I felt expressed in these artworks was energising and inspiring.” - 2007 guest judge artist from Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) Caroline Robinson

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