The third Otaki Kite Festival was a resounding success with “perfect” conditions over the whole weekend, drawing thousands of spectators and kite flyers from around the wider region.
Attending were 20 master kite makers and fliers from around New Zealand and included two of Australia’s best known designers and makers who also ran kite making workshops. Tony Rice held workshops Otaki College with the year seven and eight students and Robert Brasington held an evening for adults to try their skills at making kites. The weekend was off to a flying start.
“Roy McCally from Rotorua, a member of the New Zealand Kite-makers Association, told me this was the best show of kites at a festival in New Zealand that he’s seen.” said Barbara Franks spokesperson for the Otaki Village Promotions Group, the organisers of the festival. And that was only three hours after the official Saturday morning launch.
There were about a hundred kites up all day. Long strings of traditional diamond shaped kites with 10 or more kites off each string and stunt kites which “raced” around the roped off area and three new huge “beach hoppers”- a pink pig and two colourful porcupine like creatures. Two Pegasus –flying horses, one black and one white appeared to be galloping across the sky as they moved in the breeze. There were birds and butterflies, a panda, crocodile and whales with an assortment of fish, as well as some traditional box kites all making for a spectacular and colourful display throughout the weekend. Otaki kite maker, Yvonne De Mille had some of her kites flying, including a vivid “stained glass” effect sun kite. Ms De Mille also made the Rokkuka – Japanese battling kites, for the business house challenge held both Saturday and Sunday.
“We believe we had a New Zealand record of 180 plus kites in the air at the same time including people bringing their own kites to fly!” OVPG chair Ian Carson said.
It was a great family day, the sun shone all day, people went for a swim between watching the kites and the Otaki Surf Club lifesavers were on duty watching the swimmers. There was a market area up on the grassed area selling a wide variety of goods, from kites to jewellery, herbal products and the essential sausage sizzles, hot and cold drinks, ice creams and sweets and almost everything in between. People also brought their own kites, homemade or purchased, to fly them from the beach, too. “As the organising committee, we’re very pleased with the outcome,” Mr Carson said. “It brought a lot of people into Otaki who wouldn’t usually be here, shops in the town and the railway all did well. Ten to fifteen thousand people came down to the festival over the weekend, with people coming and going all the time.”
They came from Palmerston North to Wellington and the Wairarapa plus some South Island people who happened to be in the area during the festival. Kapiti Mayor Ross Church was there on Saturday afternoon and helped hand out the children’s spot prizes. He was very enthusiastic and sees the event building and building over years to come, it’s becoming an icon event on the Kapiti Coast, he told Mr Carson,
Towards the end of each afternoon the Fuse Circus members produced another entertaining hour of their Camp Ground Chaos circus to the thousand or so, young and not so young, packed into the grassed area in front of the pavilion, with many finding a perch on the pavilion roof. The four very talented actors used acrobatics, juggling, and high wire antics to tell their loosely told story of life at the camp ground. Their antics were amazing, often bringing the huge audience to silence during their “dare devil” acts. This year’s storyline also included a pantomime style “escape” through the audience, much to the delight of the young ones.
There is no charge to watch the show, but as they are all professional performers, they passed around the buckets for donations towards their costs.
Mr Carson praised the tremendous amount of work, OVPG committee members, Barbara Franks and Carol Ward, put in organising the event and all the people helping over the weekend.
The OVPG members were assisted by the Otaki Community Patrol people in keeping an eye on the event and helping reunite lost children and their parents, and ensuring people stayed outside the flying area.