Festival organisers are counting down the last few weeks to the seventh international Ōtaki Kite Festival at Ōtaki Beach.
Begun in 2013 the festival was the inspiration of Yvonne de Mille, an Ōtaki artist and kite expert. With financial support from the Kapiti Coast District Council’s Major Event fund it has grown into a popular two day event keenly anticipated by locals and visitors
The beach is the perfect venue for the kites – a big sandy beach, Kāpiti Island as a backdrop, plenty of grassy places where people can sit and watch, and lots of room to walk around the kite displays. The site layout on the grass above the beach includes stalls that offer a wide range of food, local craft and activities promoted by community groups.
To complement the kites in the air we run a range of children’s activities on the ground and present a selection of family friendly live entertainment from local and regional performers. For kids, each day starts with the Big Dig, a very popular a sponsored event with great prizes to be won ….as long as you can find the token in the sand.
The Ōtaki Kite Festival is now organised by the Ōtaki Promotions Group, a dedicated team of volunteers supported by a part time festival co ordinator. A large working party of volunteers help run the festival during the weekend. We consider ourselves fortunate that many of our volunteers return year after year.
The Ōtaki Kite Festival strives to be a zero waste event, with more than 70 percent of all waste diverted from the landfill. A recycling service is provided by local students fundraising for their own events – a definite win/win.
Kitemaking workshops by local and international artists are held at Kāpiti schools during the week before the Festival. Students spend the morning making kites and then have a fun time getting them in the air in the afternoon. They take their kites home and are encouraged to bring them to the Festival to fly in the public flying area on the beach.
Visitors can buy a range of easily assembled kites to fly at the beach during the Festival. Kites come from Australia each year, complemented by the collections of individual flyers who work throughout the year to have new kites for the public to enjoy. Since the first Festival, the world famous Peter Lynn Kites of Ashburton have been bringing their big show kites – they are always an exciting drawcard for the crowds.
The Rokkaku kite challenge will again be hotly contested by local businesses.These Japanese style fighting kites bring out the competitive side in everyone last kite flying wins the day! The Phoenix Kite Collective from Queensland return after starring last year with their stunt kite displays.
Their precision flying of up to five kites at any one time is a very mesmerising sight you can only guess at how the lines don’t get tangled Also at the kite festival this year will be a carving symposium, which will be set up near the roadway. Carvers will be working on their creations at the site in the days before the festival and their work will be on sale.
The Ōtaki Kite Festival is intended as a family friendly event and free for the public to enjoy after all how do you fence off a large area of sand dunes and beach and stop people from looking up! During the Festival weekend we run our own onsite survey and for the last few years we have estimated 18,000 people from around the lower North Island join us on the beach to marvel at the range of kites in the air. These numbers spell out a successful event they also create a significant boost for local retailers and eateries.
It’s a wonderful day of sights on a beautiful part of the New Zealand’s coastline. Join us. For information about kitemaking workshops, stalls and other activities, contact Kirsty Doyle, 021 102 0058, or visit the Ōtaki Kite Festival page on Facebook.