Kite flying is all the rage in Ōtaki, now that the sixth annual Kite Festival has been and gone.

Experienced kite makers ran workshops for a number of local schools as well as the Levin Veterans' Home. There was also a public workshop.

"We've had about 375 kids in those workshops, while 30 adults came to the public workshop," said festival coordinator Kirsty Doyle.

Several locals had brought their own kites to Ōtaki Beach on the weekend to fly them and kites were also available for sale.


The festival attracted an estimated 10,000 people on Sunday and 12,000 on Saturday when the wind was blowing more fiercely.

"Lots of stalls sold out of their food and our own sausage sizzle was closed down by 2pm on Sunday. There were no more sausages available in town by then," said Doyle.

The local entertainment proved popular and many local clubs and organisations had a stand promoting their services and activities or sold food and drinks to raise funds.

"This is a community festival. It is from us, for us and by us and we want it to remain free for all," said Doyle.

This year the Kāpiti Coast District Council, NZCT and creative communities provided sponsorships, though the council funding has now come to an end.

"Council funding is only meant to help you get started, but we are determined to keep our festival free." They will have to find money elsewhere.

Harcourts organised the big dig for kids, giving away four bikes. The surf club allowed the team to use their building for the weekend, while police and community patrol had a big presence.

"Community patrol provides security for us."


She said the community response has been great so far.

The festival has a lot of volunteers who come back year after year, though more are always welcome.

"We aim to be zero waste, so recycle stations with a person guiding the visitors on what to put where, were everywhere. We have also had a few people who spent their weekend sorting rubbish. The volunteer input is amazing."

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