Danger Cliff!

Jan 18, 2021 | Kiwiburn, Policy

Saga three, help a girl out…..

Can we have a chat about cliffs? You can fall off ‘em, they can fall on you. They are generally more hazardous  than expected and in the context of Kiwiburn create way more controversy than you would give a geographic feature credit for.

So here’s the thing, remember that not so polite sign there was a hoopla about on Facebook after last year’s event? I made that sign and I want to tell you why and why I’d do it again in a heartbeat. 

Saga one – In case you are new here or have somehow missed the fact there are cliffs down the length of the Hunterville valley: There are. Cliffs, big cliffs – and as two separate people found out a couple of years ago, these 100-foot cliffs are about two meters past the property fence before the Kiwiburn site. The good news is that by some miracle, both these humans lived and will walk again. The bad news is that I now know how to call an emergency helicopter at 2 am (significantly less fun than it sounds). The moral of the story is: please don’t try and sneak into Kiwiburn via fence jumping and attempting to skirt the gate. There is a really long drop waiting for you. Please tell your friends who didn’t get tickets this year. Cliff is not your friend, he means business!

Saga two – Cliff also strikes from above! Scene two is a peaceful water hole suddenly disrupted by a deluge of falling rocks. I know that unless you have actually seen such a thing, it looks pretty damn harmless. However, the fact is that this happens at least a couple of times while we are onsite and there is nothing we can do about it. We also can’t really stop you from swimming directly under Cliff or climb Cliff without cordoning off the entire swimming hole.

The following is a list I like to call due diligence and yet seems to have no effect on your desire to climb cliff.

  • Signs. At least 8 of them (yes it means that cliff)
  • Coms pre event (erm that’s this)
  • Reminders at Greeters
  • Pre-checking and removing dangerous falling parts where possible
  • The ability to evict people for dangerous behaviour if need be
  • Hazards marked on site map
  • Site manager and security patrols to check area
  • No there will not be an interactive art installation at the swimming hole contrary to popular belief, I do have life

So I know that Burns are supposed to be places you can be wild and free, take a couple of risks. Personal responsibility or lack thereof should be your choice right? Well, in a perfect world sure. As a punter I can see the appeal, but as a first responder I want to ask you to consider my point of view. In reality, when Cliff attacks I am one of the people who shows up, who deals with the blood and guts, the tears, the ambulance (we are not even going to go into how lame H&S forms are) and then has to support all of the other volunteers who show up to try and save your life. We are all out there volunteering our time, not partying with you,  so people stay safe. Part of being a member of a community is that if the worst happens, you will not be alone.  The other part is that your actions have consequences beyond your immediate safety. So maybe you jump off the cliff and absolutely nothing happens, then again maybe the guy who sees you and thinks it looks fun is not so lucky.

So yeah, I made the sign and though some muppet swam over and removed it from the cliff, it actually did its job. It’s created more interactions on a Facebook post I have ever seen before. Which means more people than I ever expected now know what a hazard that cliff is, and in the very imperfect world of event management that is a win.

As far as saga three is concerned, I would like to request in a very polite and respectful manner that you chose a different geographical feature to torture the Safety team with. In the words of the amazing Poppy “The goal is to always have new and interesting problems!”


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