Jenaya and her brother Toryn Argyle enjoy the Kite Festival. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Kites contend with strong winds


Strong winds grounded many of the key attractions at this year’s annual Kite Festival but that didn’t halt the enjoyment of spectators, with hundreds gathering at Neale Park to take in the sights.

On Sunday, kite fliers from around the country got what they could up in the air, but the wind made it too dangerous to put many of the bigger items up.

Organiser Gretchen Howard says wind was gusting up to 65kmh but fliers came prepared with a range of kites for different weather situations.

“Some of the kites are worth a few thousand dollars… the risk of damage is too high, and the safety side of it too.”

Gretchen says when the wind comes from the sea, the kites “sit up there happy as”, but when it comes across the land it’s a lot more turbulent, which is what happened on Sunday.

Gretchen and Ted Howard have organised the festival for 29 years and say they are looking to bring on help to keep the festival running in the future.

“Next year is our 30th year, so we’ll have another one, but after that we don’t know. We’re really keen for some kind of group to come in and say, ‘we want to keep this going’.”

She says some kite fliers plan their holidays to New Zealand, so they can fly their kites at the Nelson festival, but to continue the running of the festival they need help.

Ted says the Nelson City Council waived the fees to hire the park, but the pair wear the cost of everything else.

“We were hoping that the council might step in and take it on, much like the Teddy Bears Picnic, but they say it’s the wrong time of year, they want things in the off season,” says Gretchen.

Although some show-stoppers were unable to run this year due to the wind, like the kart rides, the kites that were in the air provided immense enjoyment to families.

Seven-year-old Jenaya and her three-year-old brother Toryn Argyle were at the festival with their dad and say their favourite kites were the penguin, because they have a similar one at home and the teddy bear.

Anyone wishing to offer help to keep the kite festival running should contact [email protected]