Meet Kali – Event Manager for Kiwiburn 2020

The Electric Fencepost

head shot of Kali Zahira, Kiwiburn Event Manager 2020. 3/4 pose, smiling, black and white, long dark hair, wearing a white shirt.

In our series to introduce you to some of the behind-the-scene volunteers who help make Kiwiburn happen, we would like to introduce to you to… drumroll please…

Kali, who is our brand-new Event Manager, a freshly created position for Kiwiburn 2020. However, Kali is not new to Kiwiburn, nor are the skills that she contributes.

Kali has attended seven Kiwiburns, volunteering across the Paddock from working on effigies to holding several vital roles in Operations. After being involved with Burning Seed as Operations Facilitator 2IC for two years, she is now the Operations Facilitator and Contracts Manager for Burning Seed 2019, as well as project managing for the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI). Performance and arts are in her blood – including being a part of the Fire Conclave at Burning Man, working in several international performing arts festivals, managing a jazz club, and producing dance and circus shows in Auckland. 

Here’s a little more about Kali and what she gets up to:

Firstly, what does this new Event Manager role involve?

The Event Manager always existed in some form, lately as Poppy kicking arse as the Operations Manager. At the moment the Event Manager really has two roles, they oversee all activity on site during build, making sure all teams communicate and work together to set up the infrastructure to make Kiwiburn run smoothly. They are also the person who is in charge of rallying the troops in an emergency or evacuation scenario. Year round, the Event Manager sits on the ExCom, taking on tasks such as developing traffic plans, sound policies, and contracts. Most of the time, they are a sort of project manager, making sure team leads are on track and have all the resources they need to make the magic happen. 

How do you spend your time when you are not running the Paddock? 

Lol, if you’re asking if I have a life outside of Burns, I don’t. As the saying goes, Burning Man ruined my life.

Managing events can take a lot of energy. How do you re-energise? 

I dance, once upon a time I was a professional dancer and circus performer. A night spent on the dance floor is my equivalent to a day at the spa. I always try and make sure I have at least one night off during a Burn to get down with my bad self.

Do you have a favourite burn outfit?

Ah, I’m not really a very burnery Burner. Does flannel, a scowl and a bottle of whisky count as a costume?

What are you most excited about for Kiwiburn 2020? 

I am super keen to see our new teams work well together on the Paddock. I think we have a whole new level of communication and understanding between teams that should really make the volunteer experience much more effective and rewarding.