Wind Caravan Aotearoa (NZ) -- An Encounter with Real Wind

Wind Caravan Aotearoa (NZ) was a complete change -- from the gentle breezes of Sanda to the stormy gales of Hauraki Gulf. On this uninhabited island, 12 kilometers off Auckland, I encountered "real" wind for the first time in my life.
Motukorea, or Browns Island, a lovely grass-covered island 800 meters in diameter is a heaven for oystercatchers, dotterels, pukekoes and many other birds for there are no snakes or animals there. It is an area strictly preserved by the Department of Conservation, whose permission it was that allowed us to take Wind Caravan there. The first few days of installation proceeded smoothly, starting with the transporting all the parts by helicopter and then setting up the windmills and sculptures. It was then that there started up a strong westerly wind. In the morning of November 2nd, I was trying to take off one of the sails of the windmills and was standing on top of a ladder. Suddenly the sail in my hands received a gale so strong I was blown off the ladder, landing full-force on the ground. Although I was taken to a hospital and spent three days there because of a fracture on my spine, luckily it was nothing serious.
The forceful gales damaged more than just a few of the sails of the sculptures. Since we happened to be in the famous "City of Sails," all the damaged sails were quickly repaired and reinforced. Thus the opening was postponed for only a week.
On Saturday, November 11th, the weather was nice and mild. The opening ceremony started with the parade of 21 dinghies, sailed by the children of Glendowie Boating Club, with such wonderfully colorful sails each designed by the children of Orakei Primary School. The 21 designs were selected from among 200 entries of this unique competition at Orakei Primary School. It was magnificent to see those sails of such color and striking patterns approaching the island. By that time, about 350 children and adults had gathered on the island. Since Motukorea is a sacred Maori land, we joined a tour visiting the historic Maori sites. Pita Turei, the leader of one of the Maori tribes, guided us and explained to us about the history of the Maori and spirit of Wind Caravan. When we returned to the site of sculptures, Sushi rolls were served. The rice for the Sushi had been planted and harvested by Japanese children at the previous site of Wind Caravan in Sanda, Japan. It was like a big family; we were all spread out, sitting on the grass, enjoying a peaceful time in the rich expanse of nature of the island.
Many visitors came by yacht, by canoe, by boat, in water taxies and even by helicopter for a few days after opening day. However, as the stormy weather returned later in the week, record gales of 30 meters/sec., the strongest to hit Auckland in the past 15 years, were recorded on November 19, 2000, the last day of the exhibition. The only visitors during the last weekend were a courageous father and son pair who came paddling across completely soaked through.
The windmills continued producing electricity, far more than we could consume, during the entire storm. In spite of the bad weather, however, Maori people stayed overnight in turn together with us on the island. We learned so much from them; by the time we left Auckland, I felt we had really bonded.
November 30, 2000
Susumu Shingu