Kite Festival Poster 1995




The Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune Saturday, March 11, 1995

Kite festival adds to richness of Hawke’s Bay

IF THE historians are right, kites began flying in China some time around 1000BC and in Europe since the 13th century. In today’s aerospace age they are still flying and the best of them are currently going through their paces in Hawke’s Bay.

We have travelled a long way since kites were exclusively kids’ stuff. The simple aerodynamics of paper, glue and string have been superseded by a new generation of hi-tech materials.

Design and flying a kite is no longer simply a matter of testing the wind and holding on to a tethering string that becomes exhilaratingly alive as the kite becomes airborne.

Now Hawke’s Bay is hosting an extravaganza that has drawn kite enthusiasts from around the world to mount a spectacle that is attracting international attention and adding to the province’s reputation for an ability to create and sustain a festival mood.

WE SAW this happy atmosphere when Napier staged its art deco weekend and people entered into the swing of turning back the clock to enjoy the happier parts of what life was like in the 1920s. That echoed the carefree successes of vineyard concerts with international class artistes and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

It also echoed the vision and the entrepreneurial skills of men and women who saw not only the opportunity to bring top-class entertainment and sport to the area, but also as a medium to promote the province as a whole, not only as a tourist destination where things happen, but also as a desirable place in which to live and to invest.

The organisers and the sponsors of the kite festival, headed by James White, are cast in a similar mould. They bring fun, the colour and the excitement of a festival and add it to the wellbeing of the whole community.

IT IS a unique occasion with its roots not only deep in history, but also joyous childhood days with home-made paper kites aloft at the beach or park and the thrills and delight of harnessing the wind for pure enjoyment.

That, of course, is still the basic reason why grown men and women turn to the sophistication of the modern kite. The limits to design are governed only by the imagination of those who fly them. Fish do fly! Strange animals and abstract shapes and forms take to the skies!

All the elements of technology, engineering, artistry, colour, movement and control come together to provide a spectacle in which everyone can share, staged by devotees from around the world.

The kite becomes an art form aircraft and it is easy to forget that not only has it been used down through the ages to bring pleasure, and sometimes to inspire wonder, but has also had its place as an instrument of communication, a weapon of war and a tool in industry.

NAPIER’S World Kite Festival deserves the success it has won. The planning and the logistics which have brought kiters from Europe, North America and Asia, as well as from around New Zealand, to a venue described as world class by expert fliers are not on display. Neither is it always recognised that in today’s social and sporting environment, sponsorship assumes a special importance.

None of these things should be taken for granted. The carnivals that stud the Hawke’s Bay calendar – and the kite festival is one of them – surface and succeed only because of the foresight, the dedication and the sheer time-consuming hard work of those behind them.

This weekend we can hope for days that are clear but not windless as the kites soar in an international spectacle of colour, movement and skill that is unique in our own country.


Perfect launch for largest kite

By Mary Shanahan
Staff report, Napier

Light sea breezes lifted the world’s largest kite in a perfect launch at the opening of the 1995 World Kite Festival at Napier’s Anderson Park yesterday afternoon.

About 60 people secured the 550-square-metre airfoil kite as a fan filled it with air before it was released to fly alongside a New Zealand flag kite.

Singapore commentator Shakib Gunn pointed out that the kite was from the Netherlands and that its area was equivalent to two large, two storeyed New Zealand houses, four averaged-sized apartments in Singapore or eight apartments in Tokyo.

Mr Gunn also introduced some Asian folklore when he invited fliers to stake out onions and chillies skewed on satay sticks to ward off rain and ensure warm weather.

A practice he began at festivals 20 years ago at the urging of his wife, he said: “I should not do it, but it works.”

The huge kite joined a colourful array of kites already flying, including a sea goddess, an insect, a striped cat and a string of birds. The crowd was entertained with stunt kite flying.

The four-day festival was officially opened by John Banks, who was introduced by festival chairman James White as one of the greatest kite fliers in the political world.

Mr Banks said Hawke’s Bay was capitalising on event tourism with the Mission concert, the charity wine auction, the Art Deco weekend – which he plans attending next year – and the kite festival.

“You are doing lots of good things and doing it right.”

Thousands of kites are expected to take to the skies during the festival and Mr White said he was anticipating stronger winds which the fliers would welcome.

Today was earmarked for schools taking part and during the weekend spectators would see aerial ballets performed by Hawaiian fliers working their kites to music, free-style displays, an “aquarium in the sky”, stunt flying and kite buggy racing.

The grand finale will be held on Sunday.

Photo captions – The world’s largest kite soars above Anderson Park, dwarfing a spectator at the 1995 World Kite Festival which opened yesterday.

Balinese flier Ngoman Adnyana, right, presents a book on Indonesia to Mr Banks while Napier mayor Alan Dick looks on.




The Daily Telegraph
Monday, March 13, 1995

Kite festival does city proud

Napier doffs its hat to the city’s kite man, James White, and his team for the stupendous display organised at Anderson Park at the weekend.

The four-day New Zealand World Kite Festival, which honoured a pledge to hold the event in Napier by Mr White four years ago after the highly successful inaugural 1990 festival, was marvellous entertainment that drew thousands of onlookers and participants not only from around New Zealand but from all around the globe.

It was a rare treat at the perfect venue. It is unusual to have such fare available, free of charge, without having one’s nose rubbed in the sponsors’ messages. While the display had combined value of about $2 million, commercialism kept a discreet and tasteful presence and was no less effective for it.

The festival must have been every bit as impressive to the accomplished kite fancier as it was to the uninitiated, for whom kite-building has previously been confined to brown paper and string. The progeny of some of the finest kite-building minds in the world revealed at close hand the extraordinary richness of invention that is possible in such creations.

A colourful airborne menagerie kept thousands of necks craned in awe. There was a massive crimson squid, a dolphin, a beetle, a pterodactyl and assorted birds. There were several delightful sailing ships (courtesy of the Indonesian team), disembodied human legs (British) and fantastic kites in which imaginative design triumphed over aerodynamic requirements (such as huge multi-coloured puffer fish and the French team’s basketball-booted devil). They were appreciated no less for flying only a few metres off the ground. At the other end of the scale was the demonstration of a high-tech multi-winged parafoil that in strong gusts lifted its nimble operator into the air.

The flying demonstrations revealed disciplines many would not have imagined possible. The formation kite flying by the five-man Hawaiian team, the Canadian flyer who holds the world record for keeping three kites in the air for more than 12 hours and the kite fighting by the Japanese team brought amazement and delight. Many onlookers would have been content to watch those displays of dexterity and verve for hours.

The festival was a triumph of diversity to which even the weather added its own kind of variation.

The organisers deserve accolades and should be happy their efforts of the past three years will have sparked a continuing passion for kites in many of those who attended.

However, all the planning has been punishing. Mr White says the festival has become too large for voluntary effort and he has declined to become personally involved in another. That is a shame, because it is that infectious enthusiasm of Mr White and his team that has driven the festival to greater heights.

Can, or will, Napier do it again?

After the phenomenal success of the weekend, and the prominence it has given Napier, it would be a bitter blow to let go the string and allow the festival to crash to earth.


DT [Daily Telegraph] 28th Feb. 95

Banks to attend Napier kite event

Tourism Minister John Banks will be among the guests on the opening day of the New Zealand World Kite Festival in Napier next Thursday.

Mr Banks had accepted a tongue-in-check invitation to try his hand at flying a real kite instead of a political one, said festival organiser James White.

Other commitments meant Mr Banks could not attend the first day of the festival until 3pm and kites would be flying before he got there.

However, he would be given a Maori welcome and a special kite-flying display would be held while he was there.

Mr White said he was thrilled Mr Banks had agreed to attend (although his attendance would depend on him being given leave from Parliament) and said the Tourism Minister’s presence would reflect the fact that the festival was a major attraction on Napier’s events calendar.

During his visit to Napier, Mr Banks is also scheduled to visit the Hawke’s Bay Museum, to hear the Hawke’s Bay Cultural Trust’s plan to establish the New Zealand Dinosaur Centre there.



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International Kite Festival, Napier, 9-12 March, 1995


Format of the original


Date published

March 1995

Creator / Author

  • Mary Shanahan


  • Ngoman Adnyana
  • Mayor Alan Dick
  • Minister John Banks
  • Shakib Gunn
  • James White

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