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Kiwiburn Summer Festival 09 - Effigy Burning, Costumes, Camping and More!

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Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

If you need an excuse to put on some hippy pants, hug strangers and practice fire dancing, I have just the thing. It all started for me last year, when I was woken in the middle of the night by an unusual text message that rambled off something about fire, explosions and burning the man. I thought “who is this man, and why is he on fire?” And then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

It turns out I was being contacted from the Kiwiburn Festival, held amongst the great thistles and rolling paddocks of the Whakamaru Domain in Mangakino. (Don’t worry, I have no idea where that is either). Being held this year from the 5th to the 8th of February (go on - take a long weekend!), punters and puntettes will congregate for 4 fun-filled days of the timeless combo - peace, love and by night, the fiery annihilation of an effigy (apparently in honour of Summer Solstice but maybe it’s just because making a big bonfire is fun). The blazing climax of Kiwiburn is perfect for dancing around while making warlike cries or beating drums. Perceived benefits include stress relief and liberation of your animal magnetism - very sexy.

If you wish to attend you’ll need to bring four days worth of camping supplies - food, water, shelter, first aid, etc. There is a weedy lake for swimming and washing, but if you wash you might be spurned as an outsider (kidding - you will not be spurned). Actually Kiwiburn is about acceptance of others, cooperation, community, and most importantly, participation. There are no paid acts, performances or gigs at Kiwiburn… nor are there spectators. Instead all entertainment is put on and provided for by the guests themselves. The participation rule is not really enforced, and nobody’s going to shoot off a pistol at your feet demanding you to dance (unless you ask them to), but you are expected to give and share. A stage is provided equipped with a generator and amplifier for whoever wants to have a go. D.J’s musicians, dancers, cultural groups, poets, comedians, body painters, drummers, and fire spinners - what unfolds at Kiwiburn is up to you. You can also participate by bringing art, food, or gifts to share. You won’t find anything for sale at Kiwiburn.

Campsites are themed, so you’re encouraged to let your imagination run wild. So far, registered camps for 2009 already include the Centre Camp (where performances are held), The Green Fairy (black light lounge), The B-Movie Camp (Twisted Toons Edition), Band Camp (for singers and bands), Balrogs Playpen (Firedancing), The Ark (chill out space with cookies), The Kostume Korner (a place to find or make a costume - clothing, fabric, sewing machines, and decorations are provided. Costumes are modelled in a fashion show), a Healer Camp (yoga, massage, meditation, etc), and Polly’s Put The Kettle On (tea, coffee, cake, etc). If you want to contribute a Theme Camp, you can register it online at to advertise and secure your site.

For more information about rules, regulations, directions to Kiwiburn and more see You can volunteer your services for the event (out of the goodness of your heart cause you’ll still be charged admission) by emailing (a list of volunteer roles is available on the website and forum pages). Admission tickets can be purchased from Cosmic Corner, or you can pay through PayPal or Direct Debit. The cost is $70 or pay $80 on the gate. If you are a Mangakino local (and can prove it) you will only be charged $40.
Seriously, if you have a freak flag (and I know you do), come along and join the Kiwiburn community - we’d love to see it.

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