Sea creatures will be dancing high above the waters of the Waitemata Harbour today, playing their part in Matariki Festival celebrations.

Yesterday, chief kite flyer Craig Hansen was testing out huge 30m by 10m stingrays at Takaparawha Reserve, Bastion Pt, where festival organisers are inviting the public to bring along their own flights of fancy to a free family day to mark the Maori New Year.

Mr Hansen, an Ashburton enthusiast who recently completed a crossing of the Sahara Desert with multi-sport athlete Steve Gurney using kite power alone, said optimal flying conditions for his stingrays, shark, turtles and cuttlefish weren't complicated.

Anything stronger than 25 knots and the kites could literally get away on him. "All we need is a bit of wind, a bit of sun and plenty of kids."

The kites weigh 10kg and are held in place by cars or buildings.

With air in them, their pulling weight is 50kg to 120kg. They're sent high connected to "anchor kites", which act as stabilisers so they're not moving all over the show.

Festival producer Mikki-Tae Tapara says that during Matariki, kites are significant as they are seen as connectors between the heavens and Earth. The event also includes traditional manu aute/kite making at Orakei Marae, storytelling and lessons in poi and haka.

"We are targeting non-Maori. It's an event where we want people to feel free to walk up to the marae and be a part of things and not feel shy."

The event is from 10am to 5pm. Entry to the reserve is through Kitemoana St.