Fly a kite

Porongahau, in Central Hawke’s Bay has prevalent westerly gales. In fact in Maori Porongahau means ‘mad winds.’ We figure it’s the perfect spot for kite flying.

Our family outing sees an arsenal of five kites and seven people manhandling the armfuls of coloured fabric to the beach.

We launch Gus’s new kite. It shoots up into the air and stays, as if velcroed to the grey clouds. He runs zig zags between the pounding waves and pale dunes, bouncing the string and wind-milling his arms but nothing seems to destabilise the orange jet.

Bella’s octopus proves more challenging. She sprints in a cloud of fluttering pink and billowing hair along the tyre tracks in the sand as we hurl the rippling green fabric into the air. And again. And again.

Thrrrrrrrt, fwack goes Jack’s pirate kite, a vibrating tangle of black and red as it alternates between soaring and nose diving into the sand.

Finally we get all three kites airborne. They pull like prize-winning fish on their lines, taut and humming against the howling wind.

Gus's confidence increases and he proudly shows me the empty spool as the amber bird flutters high above him. Until it doesn’t.

With a sudden gust and a bloodcurdling shriek, the handle is yanked out of Gus’s hands and the kite shoots gleefully up, up and away. We sprint for the dunes, running through bunny tails and spinifex in hot pursuit.

Nine year-old Jack, our fastest runner, stomps on the string, and Gus hugs him with grateful, quivering sobs.

Reported by Jo Percival for our AA Directions Autumn 2019 issue

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