Spirits climb at Christchurch Kite Festival

Shreya Paranjape

Spirits climb at Christchurch- Shreya ParanjapeBright blue sky, light winds, green grass and open spaces. The kind of day Christchurch puts up on a beautiful summer day.

January 18, 2015 was a great day in Canterbury to enjoy the ‘Kite Flying Festival’ as families got together to observe ‘Makar Sankranti,’ heralding the Harvest season, which also marks the transition of the Sun into Makara Rasi (Zodiac sign of Capricorn).

The weather was perfect for the event.

Inspiring support

While we were encouraged by the success of the first Makar Sankranti Festival held in January 2014, it was the support and encouragement of the community that inspired us to conduct the event again this year.

Halswell Domain, with its wide, open space, away from the flight path of aircraft (on most days!) and alongside the miniature railway, was the perfect setting for the Kite Flying Festival.

The Halswell Miniature Trains Group also came to the party advertising the event on its Facebook page, sharing the event with the wider Christchurch community.

Cantabrians converge

Colourful Kites, which were flown from India for the Festival, took to the skies once again, this time soaring with the spirit of Cantabrians.

An elderly couple visiting their family from India could not find words to describe the Kite Festival and Makar Sankranti, being celebrated in a remote corner of the world.

Christchurch Councillors Jimmy Chen and Raf Manji with Shreya Paranjape and Naveen Khatri.
Christchurch Councillors Jimmy Chen and Raf Manji with Shreya Paranjape and Naveen Khatri.

“We never had the chance to fly kites after we started working. We least expected the Festival to be held in Christchurch. This has been a highlight of our visit to New Zealand,” they said.

The Festival was a good avenue for fun and the whole City, which has had its share of troubles since the earthquakes and aftershocks over the past four years, seemed to enjoy a warm day out in the open. It certainly brought together the members of the Indian community.

Getting better

Councillor Raf Manji described the Festival as a ‘great event,’ while his counterpart Jimmy Chen said that he was delighted to be a part of the Indian Kite Festival.

“Such events promote harmony in the City,” he said.

Riccarton-Wigram Ward Deputy Chair Helen Broughton said, “I am sure that this Festival will keep getting bigger and better year after year. I have no doubt that Kite Flying Festival 2016 will see greater collaboration and a bigger crowd.”

Shreya Paranjape and Naveen Singh Khatri organised the Kite Flying Festival on behalf of the Indian Cultural Group, Christchurch. A Member of the Ethnic Leaders Group, Shreya was a fieldworker employed by the Electoral Commission at the general election held on September 20, 2014.


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