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International Kite Flying Festival 2006 - New Zealand country of honour
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Traditional Māori kites on display during the Sunday morning parade, at Dieppe. Māori culture officially opens the festival on Saturday 9th September at 15h.

The International Kite Flying Festival takes place every two years, in Dieppe, France. This year New Zealand is the country of honour, and at the invitation of the Festival - and after over a year of organising this special event - a group of 22 Māori arrived in Dieppe to represent New Zealand.

This is the first time ever that a group of Māori are presenting ancestral Māori traditions outside of New Zealand.

The group is not only presenting - and flying - traditional Māori kites, but will also be demonstrating Māori cultural activities such as song, dance, action songs (poi) and haka. These activities take place several times each day on the main stage, just alongside the New Zealand stand. Traditional Māori games are also being presented to the public, such as Ki-O-Rahi and Mu Torere. The French public will have the occasion to learn and participate in these ancestral activities.

Inside the New Zealand stand arts, crafts, pictures and traditional kites are on display - such as the kite to the right. Māori are present to answer questions - or even launch spontaneously into traditional song, on request. One Māori lady has a genuine chin moko, of which she is happy to explain the process and the signification. Maori kite

The Festival was officially launched on Saturday 9th September at 15h by a cultural performance from the Māori group - made up of young people aged between 14 and 19 years. The young people fabricated their own costumes, and some songs presented were of their own composition.

A particular highlight at the end of the performance was an interpretation of "La Mer" in French, sung by one of the Māori participants. Bravo !

The next day a grand parade took place through the streets of Dieppe, with each participating country in traditional costume. When the parade terminated, on arrival back at the beach front, an area was cleared and the Māori group launched into a haka, followed by song and then poi - to a large and captivated crowd.

Maori kite

On Sunday 17th September the Festival officially ended.

The final Māori culture perfomance took place on the podium at 14h to the usual large and appreciative French crowd.

Afterwards, the young performers found themselves signing autographs, posing for photographs, and were then requested to perform yet another haka on the lawns just in front of the New Zealand stand.

The final event was marked by the releasing into the Dieppe skies of a Māori kite, following a traditional prayer from the Māori leader.

New Zealander Peter Lynn was also present at the Festival. Peter Lynn, "roving kite ambassador" is present at each Festival in Dieppe, and his large and colourful kites are are an appreciated addition to the Festival.

We hope there will be further occasions for Māori to present their culture and traditions in France.


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