Guiding Principles: Radical Self-reliance and Participation

Dec 19, 2022

This week, as part of our Guiding Principles series, we’re diving into the 4th Principle: Radical Self-reliance, and the 9th Principle: Participation.


Kiwiburn is unlike other events. There are no main stages, no paid artists, no market stalls, and there is nowhere to buy beer, coffee, or water (Decommodification, yo). Kiwiburn is created by us, the participants, for us. Participation means contributing and being fully immersed in the experience, rather than just being an attendee. This could be in the form of a Theme Camp, Paddock Art, signing up for a volunteer shift, or simply lending a helping hand to someone in need. Take a gander at this blog on Participation – it may help spark some ideas on ways you can participate.


On the Paddock, we’re surrounded by people who will no doubt help out if someone is in need, although it’s still your responsibility to ensure you have everything required for your own comfort and survival. Radical Self-reliance means you, and only you, are responsible for ensuring both your physical (water, food, shelter etc.) and emotional* needs are met. 

*While there are services onsite to assist with meeting emotional needs, it’s up to you to identify, locate, and use them – Rangers, Know Your Stuff, Consent Club etc.

If each person practises Radical Self-reliance, we create an environment where everyone’s basic needs are met, allowing us to fully engage in Gifting, Radical Self-expression, Radical Inclusion, Participation, and every other Principle. Radical Self-reliance may appear to be individually focused, when in fact, it’s an essential ingredient in ensuring you, and everyone around you, can fully enjoy the Burn – Radical Self-reliance is the backbone of the Guiding Principles. Check out this most excellent blog for a deeper dive into Radical Self-reliance.

Photo: Mike Nelson/Getty Images

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