Kiwiburn is New Zealand’s Regional Burning Man festival, styled after the Burning Man event held in America but with its own unique atmosphere and ethos. Kiwiburn includes performance, music and visual arts, limited only by the imagination of the participants. If you wish to truly understand and comprehend Kiwiburn, you need to attend the event – it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!
Kiwiburn will be held at 136 Cooks Rd, Hunterville. This site is approximately 190kms from Wellington and 460kms from Auckland, with the closest large regional centre being Palmerston North. Please see the Location page for directions and information on local resources.
The 2016 event, Pot Luck and Emotion, will be held from Wednesday 27 January – Monday 1 February.
Saturday, followed on Sunday night by the Temple burn.
The theme for Kiwiburn 2016 is... Pot Luck and Emotion
Come one, come all. Camp, cook, celebrate; Laugh, cry, levitate.
What's better than a shared lunch with your work mates? A sensory feast with your burning besties! Dine on dance, masticate on music, and gorge your heART out.
Whether on the Paddock or down in the trees, treat yourself to a healthy slice of community. Let the sights and sounds conjure up an unforgettable mix of joy, humanity and sweet, sweet, oneness.
Like nana's best summer ambrosia, Kiwiburn will leave you weeping tears of joy and asking please, please, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE!
‘Pot Luck and Emotion’ is a theme inspired by the sense of community created within the guiding principles framework, and the transformative experience common amongst burners. A traditional ‘pot luck’ brings people together for a singular moment to share, without prejudice, the tastes and customs of each individual. The excitement of creation, and anticipation of the unknown, is magnified by Kiwiburn’s scale and scenery, while maintain a unique ‘kiwi’ flavour. The colloquialism of ‘bring a plate’ goes to the heart of what we wish to achieve within ourselves and for our loved ones. Like food for the soul, Kiwiburn is a smorgasbord of internal and external delight. Within the space of only a few days it is possible to sample the entire palate of human emotion, guaranteed to satisfy even the most famished of seekers.
Children 15 and under will be admitted for free. Children aged 16-18 require full-price tickets. Be prepared to show proof of age. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If you plan to bring a child, please read more in the Kiwiburn survival guide.
*Note: The 2016 event is sold out. Tickets will not be available at the Gate (check closing times on the ticket page). Check the ticket page for current pricing.
The gates into the site will be open:
10am – 2am Wednesday
8am – 2am Thursday
8am – 2am Friday
8am – 8pm Saturday
After the gates close at 8pm on Burn Night, there will be no admission. We’d suggest that you plan to arrive as early as possible to fully enjoy the event.
While leaving the Paddock during the event and returning to the default world will probably be the last thing on your mind, In & Out passes are available at the Gate for $20 per vehicle. If you leave without receiving a pass, you will not be able to return without paying full price for a ticket again.
*Note: The 2016 event is sold out. An extra 100 tickets will be available at 9am, Saturday 16 January 2016. The 2016 event is capped at 1200. Ticket sales are expected to be brisk and limits may be imposed at some point. Because tickets rise in price throughout the year, we encourage you to purchase your tickets early as we prefer to encourage people to buy the highest price ticket they can afford.
Kiwiburn is an experiment in temporary community. Relationships are created, neighbours meet one another, and fun is had by all. This is not a spectator event. It is difficult for you to take a role in the community if you are on the Paddock for less than 24 hours. In order to experience the true essence of Kiwiburn, you will want to become part of the community. Therefore, there are no day passes sold, and no discounts given based on your length of stay. Of course, it is not necessary that you come for the entire event. You are welcome to stay for just a portion of the event.
No complimentary tickets are available for anyone. We can arrange an hour or so guided visit for free if you contact us by email before the event. Otherwise you will need to buy a ticket.
No. Unlike many other festivals, Kiwiburn is an entirely volunteer-driven, participatory event. Because of this, everyone, including volunteers and the organising committee, buys a ticket for the event. Kiwiburn is non-profit, and all the ticket money goes into a pool to pay the expenses of the event, such as art grants, toilets and infrastructure. If you find the cost of a ticket expensive, consider the following: buying a ticket early gets you a cheaper price. The Kiwiburn community can often help out with rides, floors to sleep on and other help, especially if you’re coming a long way. If you’re making art for Kiwiburn, there is an art grant programme that can help with expenses. Kiwiburn is amazing, and better value than most other festivals in New Zealand, let alone overseas.
Kiwiburn is held on private land. As such, we ask that you notify our Art & Theme Camp Coordinator during registration if you need to arrive onsite prior to the event to set up. Please do not be offended if your request is refused! Before the event opens, the site is still a construction area – it’s important that we maintain safety while we are still setting up our infrastructure.
Kiwiburn’s Gate crew issue everyone with wristbands to help create a safe event for the community. If you see people onsite without a wristband, please let the nearest on-duty volunteer know.
Thank you for asking the million-dollar question. Kiwiburn is an exercise in radical self-sufficiency. You have to bring all you need to survive, and then some. Some people bring only the basics; others bring everything including the kitchen sink.
Water, food and shelter are imperative — you will be asked to turn around at the Gate if Gate personnel believe you cannot meet your basic survival needs. Carefully read the Survival Guide (PDF) and prepare accordingly.
There are quite a few sandflies – bring bug repellent! The New Zealand sun is pretty brutal, so you also need sunblock.
After you have taken care of your survival, everything else is up to you.
If you are fond of sleep, earplugs are a participant’s best friend.
For maximum enjoyment of the event, bring toys or costumes with which you can express your creative spirit.
Kiwiburn is a commerce-free event. You can buy ice at The Depot during its opening hours for around $4 a bag. Nothing else is sold on the Paddock.
You need to bring ALL supplies, food, water and tools you will need for a week’s camping. No food or sundry items are sold anywhere on the Paddock. If you forget something vital, your best bet is to make friends with your neighbours. If you really need something, you can leave and re-enter Kiwiburn for a $20 fee per vehicle.
Hunterville is around 10kms from the site, where you can find a 4 Square, BP Service Station, and numerous other small businesses like cafes and pubs.
For more esoteric needs, Palmerston North is about 70kms drive away, and Wellington is the nearest large city, 190kms away. Asking on the forums may help in meeting your requirements.
Radical self-reliance means participants are responsible for their own water supply. Sometimes water has been available onsite, however it is not Kiwiburn’s responsibility to provide you with safe drinking water, and we cannot guarantee a water supply. You should bring some drinking water with you in reusable containers as Kiwiburn has no control over the water and it could fail or get cut off without warning. Allow 4–6 litres of water per person per day for drinking and food preparation. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. Coconut water /Electrolytes will help keep you from being dehydrated.
In Nevada, there is a saying: if you don’t like the weather, stick around for five minutes and it will change. Oddly enough, we have the same saying in New Zealand, only in our case it’s actually true. Summer temperatures in the Central North Island range up to 35C in the daytime and down to 10C or below at night. Rainstorms are not uncommon – we have had some rain every year at Kiwiburn, but it’s always cleared up.
Be prepared for volatile extremes, and ready for anything and everything. Come with ample shade producing shelter, warm clothes and sleeping gear, and lots of water. Please read our Survival Guide (PDF).
Winds up to 40km/h are quite usual, and anything up to 120km/h is possible. So are earthquakes. And supervolcanoes. You are advised to secure your tent, shade structure and loose items in preparation for this possibility. You might want to visit the Burning Man “Securing your Structure” page for valuable information about creating a weather-worthy campsite. Rebar is your best friend!
Having said that, the weather is usually pleasant, but participants should be prepared for anything the climate can throw at them.
No driving is allowed on the Kiwiburn site at all times. This is a serious safety issue and will be strictly enforced. When you arrive, you will be directed to the Parking Paddock and driven with your gear to your camping spot by MPW. Only approved infrastructure volunteers can drive durign the event. Theme Camp builders can drive on site before the event starts.
Yes – if you have modified the vehicle sufficiently for it to be considered mobile art! We will not give you a Mutant Vehicle Pass if you have simply draped a sheet over your car or put a couch on top. Show us what you can do! Please register your art car and we will send you an information pack including H&S requirements and other guidelines.
Our current parking policy means that cars are to be parked in a separate Parking Paddock. A shuttle ute will be running to move their gear from vehicles to camping spots from the Parking Paddock. Parking or driving in the Forest is prohibited, as is driving around during the event.
General Tent Camping is allowed on the upper and lower paddocks in and around all areas not occupied by Registered Camps, Art Installations, and Festival Buildings unless marked on the map as NO CAMPING.
Permitted on site:
- Vehicles used for sleeping
- Up to two vehicles per Theme Camp.
- Site vehicles
- House trucks and buses
- Art cars
- Any vehicles deemed necessary for participants at the discretion of Traffic Warden and Town Planner.
Full details are available here: http://www.kiwiburn.com/parking/
The nearest domestic airport is just North of Palmerston North (60km). Wellington Airport is about 190km drive.
Auckland is the only airport in New Zealand with direct services to the US and other intercontinental destinations.
If you have a personal aircraft, then, wow! We’d very much doubt there’s room for a fixed wing aircraft, but floatplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons and Harrier JumpJets might be able to land. Contact us and the CAA, and we’ll try and make it happen.
There are a whole range of options:
Post on the Rideshare page on Facebook. Lots of burners are looking for people to share a vehicle and we encourage this to save on energy and emissions.
Join one of the Kiwiburn volunteer teams. We love our volunteers, especially those from overseas and can often sort people out with transport.
Join a Theme Camp. A lot of camps will organise carpools for their members.
There are affordable, regular bus services to Hunterville. See the Naked Bus page or the Intercity Coachlines website for details.
New Zealand rental cars are amongst the cheapest in the world. You might be able to combine with others to fill a rental. Make sure you leave room for all your essential stuff!
RVs are fine. Remember, this is wilderness camping and there are no hookups. Do not discharge gray water or sewage. There is no servicing, so make sure you are set up to free camp for the time you’ll be at the event. Note that unlike other events, Kiwiburn doesn’t really “stress” vehicles so RV rental companies should have no problems with you coming to us, provided you leave the van in a reasonable state. Also, note that in New Zealand you can rent basic “camper vans” as well as full-size RVs. These have no plumbing, etc, but are way cheaper!
It’s an interactive camp designed by the camp members with the intention of engaging participants. More information can be found on the Theme Camps page. Theme camps are located throughout our village. Assigned placement comes after approved advanced registration. Please register your camp in good time so we can update the theme camp list and put you in the Event Guide.
Fill in a few questions at our Theme Camp Registration page. We’ll send you some quick H&S paperwork and talk to you about placement, sharing resources with other theme camps, and anything else you’d like to know!
It is not necessary to join a Theme Camp. Kiwiburn is small enough that you can camp independently and still meet people and participate in many fun things. If you have an idea for a Theme Camp, consider creating one yourself. The Facebook Group page is a great resource for floating an idea and organising a new camp.
If you want to join a Theme Camp, we’d suggest making contact beforehand. Most camps like to get to know their members, and sometimes have limits on numbers. There are details of registered camps on the Kiwiburn website and on the forum.
Building a Theme Camp usually involves costs, which may be a few dollars or several hundred. A Theme Camp may require a financial or participatory contribution from those in the camp to cover costs and get things done. Theme Camps (and Kiwiburn as a whole) are non-commercial and all camps should be run on a not for profit basis. This isn’t considered commerce, but we’d suggest that people get the money stuff out of the way before the event.
Theme Camps are a bit like a house party or camping trip. The members decide who they want to form their group. When Theme Camps throw events, these are nearly always open to all participants, but it may be that some camps will decide to have partly closed events. This is their choice.
Absolutely. You can either build your installation as part of your camp, or place your art in a different part of the paddock. If you’d like to stay near your installation you may want to build it as part of your camp. You should register your art in advance to arrange placement, obtain safety approval and get your art in the Event Guide. You may also apply for an Art Grant to help fund your art.
We aim to place everyone’s Theme Camps and art in the best possible place on the Paddock, allowing for traffic, noise, safety and other factors. Therefore, it is best to register your Theme Camp, village or art installation early.
Kiwiburn has survived and flourished through sharing, trading and the giving of the gift of yourself. We have found the buying and selling of goods is a distraction to connecting and creating relationships. Selling is a transaction-based activity. There is NO VENDING at Kiwiburn. Participants who are found vending will be asked to leave.
There is no Main Stage at Kiwiburn. We have a Town Hall which provides a space for performance art and music. This will have a limited PA facility. See the Town Hall coordinator to schedule a performance slot.
Many Theme Camps feature music and performance – if you would like to play music or DJ, for instance, then make contact with the camp organisers, who are usually happy to get new members.
You can also set up your own performance based theme camp.
Many Kiwiburn participants enjoy amplified music. Use of amplified music needs to take place with consideration for other campers and for the community outside the Kiwiburn perimeter. Because of this, we place large scale sound camps in dedicated areas, and have a quiet zone as far as possible from these areas. If you use an amplified audio system at your camp, the volume must be held to reasonable levels. Speakers must be elevated off the ground, and backed by a truck, camper or anything large and solid enough to prevent the sound from traveling backwards. If a problem with sound levels continues after sufficient requests and warnings, the source of power for such device or system will be disabled.
The hum of generators can become annoying over a long period of time. Please keep your neighbours in mind. We recommend generators that are sound insulated. Do NOT dig a trench to sound-insulate your generator – enclose it in a wooden box. High volume sound (greater than 90db at 30m distance) is only permitted in registered sound camps in the sound art zone. As a guideline, sound systems should not exceed 70 dBs at 10m a 180 degrees off-axis from the speakers. Speakers must be directed away from the main camping zones. If we receive noise complaints from the neighbours, you may be asked to turn it down. In the quiet camping zone, noise must be kept at a minimum. Musical instruments or stereos cannot be played there at night, and conversation should be kept to a minimum.
You are! Kiwiburn is a participant driven event. Everyone who performs at Kiwiburn does so as a participant, and there are no paid or booked performers. Based on previous years, there will be a range of DJs and musicians playing on theme camp stages and at the Town Hall.
If you want an idea of who’s playing or what styles of music are being featured, many of the Theme Camps have web or Facebook pages, or check out the registrations on the Kiwiburn website.
If you have a musical style you’d like featured, or a performer you want to see – think about starting a theme camp and persuading your favourite artist to come to Kiwiburn.
Yes! We have a live one! You can volunteer in advance by contacting [email protected] Or you can find the volunteer coordinator on site – but we prefer you make contact in advance because that helps us to be organised. We also need volunteers for all kinds of year-round positions, from the Media Subcommittee to Accounting and beyond! Check out our Volunteer page to see what’s up!
As soon as you pass through the Gate, you’re at Kiwiburn! Certain fields are designated quiet areas, while others are for sound camps. The area around the Town Hall is the core of Kiwiburn and has a lot of daytime activity. Stay tuned for a map of this year’s layout!
Registered Theme Camps will get placement in an appropriate position. Other camping is first-come first-served. Come early if you need space to add friends, but don’t grab more land than you need!
Kiwiburn is alive 24 hours a day, and much activity takes place at night. We ask that each person respect their neighbour. If you are fond of quiet for sleeping, we recommend earplugs. There is a quiet zone where you can camp if you prefer, but we can’t guarantee silence.
Put mudgrips on your wheelchair and bring an enthusiastic able-bodied assistant. There are wheelchair accessible portable toilets during the event – one near the medics, one in the middle of the lower paddock. We’d suggest you contact us in advance to discuss facilities.
Yes, we provide portable toilets. The toilets are serviced on a regular basis during the event. We do our very best to keep them clean and stocked with toilet paper.
NOTHING other than human waste is to be put into a toilet. We are encouraging participants to think of the portable toilets as if they were your own home toilets. ONLY HUMAN WASTE or TOILET PAPER should go into them. At other events, numerous discarded items in portable toilets have caused tremendous problems and prevented the timely cleaning of the portable toilets. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen at Kiwiburn!
We encourage radical self reliance and first aid kits. However, medical needs can arise. Kiwiburn contracts with a local emergency services provider. The medics are here to help and can be found near the Town Hall. If there is a serious medical emergency, and the participant cannot be moved, contact a volunteer, Security or anyone with a radio for assistance. The St John Ambulance Service provide national paramedic services in New Zealand, e.g. if a person needs to be taken to hospital. Note that like most overseas travel, those from outside New Zealand should have travel insurance to cover any medical expense. First aid treatment provided by the onsite medics is funded by Kiwiburn.
No! Gas powered barbecues, stovetops and lanterns are okay though. Here’s our official Fire Safety Policy:
a. No camp fires are allowed unless given a special permit in advance of the event by the Health & Safety Officer.
b. Permitted fires only. Key fire management personnel are allocated and are on duty whilst fire is lit, equipped with fire suppression equipment and a radio to communicate with Site Manager if and when required.
c. A clear perimeter will be maintained around fire at all times.
a) Fire performers shall be permitted in designated areas
b) There will be designated fire safety person during performances, and safety equipment (fire extinguisher, fire blanket) will be visable.
c) All fuel will be clearly marked and stored appropriately.
d) Fire suppression equipment (extinguishers, sand and water) will be on hand at all times.
e) First aid is available from qualified medics 24/7 throughout the event.
Burn Nights (Sat – Man Burn, Sun Temple Burn)
a) A perimeter shall be clearly marked and staffed by designated safety crew around effigies.
b) Local fire services will be in attendance at effigies.
Gas bottles and any other fuel should be stored out of the sun and away from any any open flame (ie stoves), with “NO SMOKING” signs displayed prominently. Make sure you check your bottles and hoses for leaks before you head to site. Your camp should have at least one easily accessible fire extinguisher in working order for use in case of an emergency.
We love it when people take photos of our event, but please make sure you are sensitive about other people’s boundaries. That naked person running around the fire may well be a tax accountant who doesn’t want to be tagged on Facebook for employers and family members to see. Don’t publicly share any sensitive photos, unless you have expressed permission to do so. Not sure if it’s a good time to take photos? Just ask. Consent is key!
Commercial use of all imagery taken at Kiwiburn is forbidden without expressed permission. All professional photographers with intent to receive compensation for a Kiwiburn image including editorial or gallery must check in with the organisers. Pre- or post-event, photographers should email our Photography Liaison for information and permission.
ALL motion-capturing video and film cameras must be registered, whether for personal or professional purposes. There is no filming without expressed permission. Read more on consent here. Read our guidelines here: http://www.kiwiburn.com/wp-
No. You need to treat Kiwiburn as free camping, provide all services that you need and haul all waste away.
No – you need to provide your own power source, if required! If you want to share power with neighbouring camps, that’s great. If you want to help build better and greener power sources (like solar panels or wind turbines) then that would also be great!
NO! Absolutely not. There are many reasons why you can’t bring animals of any kind to Kiwiburn:
Our agreement with the site owner forbids animals.
New Zealand has a unique ecosystem with no native mammals. Introduced animals can chase and kill birds and damage plants.
Pets are prone to responding adversely to loud noises, huge sound systems, explosions, fireworks and crazy costumed people.
Kiwiburn is surrounded by fields with farm animals – these can be harmed by pets. Farmers are entitled to shoot animals that are disturbing their stock.
Participants with animals will be turned round at the gate. There are a number of kennels around most New Zealand cities than can look after your pet during the event – making a booking early is recommended.
Kiwiburn is a pedestrian-friendly village that is easy to navigate with a bicycle or on foot. We encourage you to decorate your transportation. You may not drive your car at the event. This is a serious safety issue – moving cars create dust and we have little room for people to drive. Please recognise the importance of this rule. The sole exception to the no-driving rule are official cars, art cars and mutant vehicles, which must have been pre-registered and have a safety plan.
The Kiwiburn site is small and friendly enough that you should find your friends really easily. Or maybe find some different friends, as well (or instead!).
If you do need help finding your friends, especially if it’s dark, here are some suggestions:
There may be mobile coverage. However, many people choose to turn their phones off during the event.
There will be a whiteboard at the Town Hall to leave messages on.
You can also leave messages at the Greeter Station. Or, even better, volunteer for Greeters and be there when your friends arrive!
If they are involved with a Theme Camp, you can find them located on the map at either the Depot or Artery.
We’d suggest in this case that you do get a mobile phone and leave it switched on, or check in with your family.
NO. Nein, negatory, absolutely not under any circumstances. Did we mention that we have NO trash disposal? Leave no trace.
You are responsible for removing all waste you bring onto the Paddock. This includes cigarette butts, boa feathers, pistachio shells and couches.
When preparing your belongings and planning the construction of your campsite prior to arrival, keep in mind that you will have to take everything back with you.
Separating your garbage makes it easier to get home.
There might be a recycling camp. This will be a participant driven venture – do not rely on it!
You must dispose of your waste properly. Do not leave trash in gas station or town facilities, it’s rude and illegal. Ideally, take your waste home, though airlines may not wish to transport week old rotten fruit.
There are landfill/recycling sites in Hunterville, Marton and Bulls. A charge is made for waste disposal.
Try contacting [email protected] and they will do their best!