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The record - currently at 413 people - was also tackled at Christchurch's Sumner Beach on Saturday but they also fell short of the target, with a turnout of only 226.
But participants said it was all a bit of fun, despite a few last-minute doubts.
"There were a couple of things that made us half think of not doing it, but we did it in the end anyway," one skinny dipper from England told 3 News.
For the record to count, Guinness World Records required all swimmers to be in the water at the same time for a group photo.
The skinny dips follow a recent court decision upholding the right to be naked in public for innocent reasons.
Andre Pointon's conviction for offensive behaviour was overturned last week in the High Court in Tauranga after he was seen running naked along a forest track.
He hoped the decision will change attitudes in New Zealand.
"Hopefully this sets a precedent for people that use their discretion in the naturist world, to go out into the country and be naked," Pointon said.
Pointon joined the other 298 skinny dippers at Papamoa Beach yesterday.
The current world record is held by Llangennith in Wales, where 413 skinny dippers took the plunge at the same time.
- Herald online