Hana Tuwhare shares her experiences of becoming involved with Kiwiburn:
“I first heard about this Burning Man thing while I was in high school from a family friend named Kiwi. He never ceased to rant and rave about it. By the time I left high school, he had successfully convinced a few friends and I to head over in 2006. We got involved in a Theme Camp called The International Black Rock Burner Hostel – and I’ve been hooked ever since. Over the seven years I attended Burning Man, I was involved with various Theme Camps, the Department of Public Works (DPW), Playa Restoration, and the building of a huge Temple in 2011. I also went to the European regional event, Nowhere, where I worked in the Tool Shed as part of the set up crew.
My first Kiwiburn was 2007. I didn’t think it was going to be a big hit really, especially after the shenanigans in the desert… boy was I wrong. I was totally blown away. I started out organising a Theme Camp for a few years, then slowly got more involved in the organisational side of the event.
I was approached one year by a member of the ExCom who said Kiwiburn needed a Gate department and why don’t I give it a go? I had no idea how to do this and had never done anything like it before. I was given support by friends and members of the ExCom, and I flippin LOVED it. It became my baby and I ran that crew for four years. Dang, I still feel proud of the crew and the people who run it! I learned more from this role than I ever could have guessed. The best part was I had a blast doing it.
Somewhere during this time, I decided to join the organising committee, the ExCom. I found myself totally engaged in learning what it took to put on this wee festival. It takes A LOT. I was humbled by the amount of hours everybody was putting in and quickly discovered areas where I could be useful. Over the years I have also been involved with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Kiwiburn’s unofficial e-newsletter – The Electric Fence Post, the Media Sub Committee, Town Hall and bringing an interactive art installation to Kiwiburn.
What I really love about Burner events is the opportunity to continually push your boundaries. You may get thrown in the deep end, but you learn what’s possible, and what needs work. I never knew I’d learn how to operate heavy machinery until someone trusted me enough to hand over the keys! What the heck!? Over the last decade of volunteering in Burner events around the world, I’ve developed skills in people management, newsletter editing, carpentry, accounting, welding and had the opportunity to test my own initiative and creativity. Your fellow artists, coordinators and volunteers are working hard because they’re passionate about what they do, not just because they’re trying to make a buck. This creates a fun, creative and passionate environment that is an absolute pleasure to work in.
I’ve made so many friendships from all different walks of life, all over the world, that will last a life time. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for this community. It has filled my life with hilarious, creative and humbling individuals who continue to inspire forward momentum.”