Next years festival dates are 25-29 Maramatahi (January) 2023

Hokitika’s annual Driftwood & Sand beach sculpture festival is once again set to wow locals and visitors with its wild untamed works of art next January 2023. The good news is that there is no shortage of beach materials for artists to work with.

Hokitika Beach will be transformed into a stunning outdoor art gallery for wild, innovative, nature-inspired artworks made from driftwood, sand, and other beach materials.

The Driftwood & Sand Festival, now in its 21st year, is a summer celebration of art and will be held from Rāapa (Wednesday) 25 to Rātapu (Sunday) 29 Maramatahi (January) 2023. Budding artists of all ages work side by side with professionals turning driftwood and other materials they find on the beach into sculptural pieces. Previous driftwood-inspired creations have been as diverse as running giants, huge eagles, stone pyramids and an enormous driftwood tap.

Residents can start planning and creating their sculptures any time and transport them to the site for the festival. ‘Work in Progress’ signs will be available from various points on the beach in the lead-up to the event.

There are plenty of prizes to be won in a range of categories, all kindly sponsored by local businesses. Prizegiving will be at 2pm on Sunday 29 January.

Children who enter a sculpture will have a chance to win a special junior category chosen by the guest judges. There will also be a return of ‘Hoki Zoo’, an area where kids and adults can create mini sculptures of animals – real or imagined, from driftwood, and any other flotsam and jetsam they can find.

Festival founder, and internationally renowned sculptor, Donald Buglass, will also be present at the event. 

The festival is being run by a keen, but small group of local people and is supported by Westland District Council. Volunteers are always welcome and interested parties are encouraged to contact the organisers for more information.

For more information contact:,

Laura Neale, phone 027 384 2508

or Sue Asplin, ph 021 188 6564