The Kiwiburn Organisation
So, you know a bit about what Kiwiburn is… you may have even come along to the festival a few times… but do you know how it works? How does so much chaos get facilitated and organised? How does a festival run entirely by volunteers even function? How does it all happen? It has taken some of us a long time to figure it out, because the people who have been very busy organising the event year-round and running the on-site operations have been too busy doing everything at once. So here’s a basic run down.
We’ll start with you…
You buy your ticket. This makes you a part of Kiwiburn, whether you realise it or not. This is all part of the participation. The ticket price includes your automatic annual membership subscription to Kiwiburn Incorporated Society. Members are able to attend the AGM to have their say. The money from tickets goes into financing the festival; all of it. That is why everyone, even year-round organisers, buy tickets. The money is spent on hiring the site, the toilets, the medics, security, funding Art Grants, the Temple and the Effigy, and many other things. If you want to know more about the finances, you can read about them in our Afterburn Report.
Now the structure…
The decision-making structure has been evolving over the years and, in late 2017, Kiwiburn restructured to be better able to manage the growth of the event, tweaking the structure again mid-2019. ExCom has traditionally had three officers – Chair, Secretary and Treasurer – a requirement of being an Incorporated Society, as well as an ever-changing number of committee members, mostly greater than three at any time. Now there are the three officers together with nine Facilitators, who work with the leads of the almost 40 or so teams of volunteers which make Kiwiburn run, ensuring they have the people, information and resources they need to function (see org chart below).
The Facilitators are associated with one of nine groups of departments:
This structure has moved ExCom away from discussing and making decisions at every level, into a central communications hub, effectively reducing the workload of individual volunteers and enabling each ExCom member’s workflows to be smaller and more well defined. If you are interested in knowing more about the strange goings-on of the Kiwiburn ExCom you can check out the Google Group, or the Minutes of the Monthly ExCom Meetings.
The Kiwiburn Leadership Team
Chairperson: Andy (He/Him)
Having observed Burning Man from afar for many years, Andy couldn’t get to a Kiwiburn until 2017. He joined the Finance team in early 2017, taking up the Treasurer role within ExCom in October 2017, and was on site for the set up for KB18. Andy joined ExCom to help develop a plan for the long term viability of Kiwiburn’s annual event and the expansion of Kiwiburn’s activities to include other events and happenings year round, particularly in relation to the Arts. After stepping up as Acting Chair in 2019, Andy became Chair proper in 2021. Kiwiburn is a great event, a great community, with great people – who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? Have some fun and contribute at the same time – join us now, sign up here.
Secretary: Rads (She/Her)
Rads’ path to Kiwiburn was a gradual one. It took a few attempts for her to gather the courage to fully immerse herself in the community, leading to her first full burn in 2020. Once on Paddock she was pleasantly surprised to realize that her love of the creatively absurd was as welcome as her passion for tech and occasional well-crafted spreadsheet.
You’ll sometimes find her on Paddock with her friends at Cosmic Soup, trying to answer that age old philosophical dilemma: “Is it soup?”
Treasurer (Acting): Andy (He/Him)
Arts: Cherie (She/Her)
Cherie has been Kiwiburn adjacent for many years and holds a deep love of this community and its philosophy – but life prevented her from attending a Burn until the great bog Burn of 2023.
At Kiwiswamp23, Cherie threw herself into contributing, helping out at Centre Camp workshops, creating some Art, gifting to some Theme Camps, and spreading some joy on the Paddock.
The Arts Facilitator role really appealed to Cherie! She loves helping people and finds special joy in smoothing pathways for creatives to put their passions into the world – and Kiwiburn is a community full of the most interesting and unique creatives around.
Applying her organisational and communication skills to bring more Art to the Paddock is energy well spent. After her first go in the role at Kiwiburn 24, Cherie hopes to extend this work to providing more opportunities for Burn artists and performers off the Paddock – facilitating our Art into the world beyond the Burn.
Communications: Julia (She/Her)
Julia was introduced to all things Kiwiburn via the temple build for Kiwiburn 2018 and has was been immersing herself ever since. Her team includes amazing writers, webpage gurus, super photographers, social media hacks and community liaison specialists. This collective awesomeness creates the regular newsletter, our cherished Electric Fencepost, updates the website, keeps all of you informed via the Facebook page and other social media (Instragram or Youtube anyone?). She ensures everyone is kept up to date and this has nothing to do with her fondness of talking. She can be found on the Paddock dishing out the infamous Shark Attack TM, so watch out.
Crew: Jax (She/Her)
Jax was introduced to Burn culture many years ago back in the UK and fully resonated with it as a way of being. She couldn’t get to an official Burn until Kiwiburn 2020, but it was the start of something special and ‘Welcome Home’ immediately made sense. That feeling has continued through various Burns and Burn-inspired events since, and it’s fair to say she’s now an addict.
Jax joined the Volunteer team in 2021 and stepped up as Crew Facilitator in late 2022. The Crew department is here to help make volunteering with Kiwiburn a really awesome experience – both year-round and onsite. The Crew team are incredible, warm and hilarious humans and provide support including finding and matching volunteers with available roles, supporting vols on and off the Paddock, providing training, sorting out swag to recognise all the mahi, and feeding and nourishing our hard working teams while they’re onsite.
Alongside doing this and her day job, Jax also works with KnowYourStuffNZ as co-lead for the Wellington region #bringusyourdrugs [shameless plug alert]
Infrastructure: Floyd (He/Him)
While Floyd’s first Burn was Kiwiburn 2021, he had previously worked events since leaving school (back when chalk and blackboards were the norm). From Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Grey Lynn Park festival, through to Woodford QLD – he’s mismanaged his way to the top at Kiwiburn. Admittedly Floyd’s participation at Kiwiburn21, which shot him to this celebrity status, involved leading the inaugural Sanitation team and encroaching on more established Burner’s turf with Octopussy Garden in the Devour and Delight village.
Community: Tamati (He/Him)
Wellbeing: Ryan (he/him)
Theme Camps: Bex (She/her)
Bex lost her burn-ginity in 2017 when a last minute decision brought her to Hunterville for the first time. The obsession with and adoration for this extraordinary, erratic temporary experimental community was instant! She then co-led her own Theme Camp, before moving into the Theme Camp Coordinator role for a couple of years – neither turned out to be chaotic enough, so she’s putting on the new Theme Camp Facilitator pants for KB24. The TC Facilitator role supports the Theme Camps, Sound, Event Registration & Centre Camp teams to bring you, dear reader, marvelous delights that you can visit, listen to, participate in and marvel at.
Services: Chloe (She/Her)
Having known about the Burn world some 8 years beforehand, Chloe’s first Kiwiburn was 2018. Immediately signing up to volunteer at Gate, she subsequently became a Gate 2IC for Kiwiburn 2020 and Gate Lead for Kiwiburn 2021. It was only natural that when this role opened up that she stepped into it to keep contributing to an event that has brightened her world over the last 3 years. The Services department is comprised of the Gate, Greeters, Parking, Traffic, and Ticketing teams – often referred to as ‘Front of House’. Making sure participants get on and off the Paddock safely, efficiently, and refreshed on the Principles is what they’re here for. On the Paddock you’ll typically find Chloe flitting between her two favourite camps who she’s been honoured to be a part of – Sensory Dispensary and The Rusty Joint. #uptherust
Site Safety: James (He/Him)
James’ first experience for Kiwiburn was volunteering for Crew Support in 2017. After his first burn experience he was hooked. James loved the community, the festival and especially the build. He went back to volunteer for Crew Support the following year and, ever since, have been trying to get involved any way that he can.
James camped first with MPW, then Skullfuck, MCC and now finds himself at home at the Rusty Joint. He’s met so many amazing people on the Paddock and just wanted to be able to give back to the community as best as he could with his default world expertise. Hence why he signed up to be the
paperwork fairy Site Safety Facilitator.
The teams James looks after are amazing and do their best to keep everyone on the Paddock safe. The teams are; Internal Health and Safety who cover all KB build and event documentation and procedures, the External Health and Safety team who looks after Theme Camps and Artists, and the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) who make sure that we can have all of our amazing fire fun in the safest way possible through. You’ll either find James slanging disgusting drinks at the Rusty or deep in any dancefloor playing drum and bass #uptherust
Back to you…
You’re looking for the best way to participate, right? What are you into? Perhaps you want to be responsible and busy during the event, or, if Kiwiburn is your holiday, perhaps you would like to put in a few hours doing a bit of admin during the year or writing a blog post here and there. Check out the volunteer opportunities here. And for more information check out our volunteer teams.