• OurStory

last modified November 10, 2015 by strypey

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Seasonal Newsmail


OurStory of the Aotearoa rainbow gatherings

This page is for stories, images and impressions from past gathering of the Aotearoa family, as well as a brief account of the origin of the rainbow gathering tradition. ­If anyone has any records (articles, poems, photos, art etc) from our gatherings, or anything else they would like to contribute to this shared story, please do. To find Instructions for editing this site, click on 'What is this website?' above. Here are the rainbow gatherings we know have been held in Aotearoa, starting with the most recent.

Karamea River Valley, Karamea, Te Wai Pounamu - Fourteenth Aotearoa national gathering - Late Summer (March 2015)

Next gathering in Karamea, west coast or the south island.

Seed camp - new moon to full moon Feb 2015

Main gathering - Full moon to new moon March 2015 .

Directions: the site is at the end of Umere road , 8 ks from the Karamea petrol station , so enter Karamea , pass the Global Gypsy shop on your right , turn right after petrol station on Umere road , 8 kms, pass the creek, pass the metal gate, keep on going and you' ll see the parking.

Tua te Awa, Coromandel, Te Ika a Maui - Thirteenth Aotearoa national gathering - Summer (Jan/Feb 2015)


Kauearanga Valley, Thames, Coromandel - Twelfth Aotearoa national gathering - Mid-Summer (Feb/March 2014)


Cobb Valley, Takaka, Te Tai Tapu - Eleventh Aotearoa national gathering - Late Summer (Feb/March/Apr 2012)


Kauearanga Valley, Thames, Coromandel  - Tenth Aotearoa national gathering - Mid-Summer (Feb/March 2012)

"Haere mai haere mai haere mai te whanau uenuku!

Rainbow brothers Eben, Ian, and Koru are calling the rainbow family to a gathering on their land - Feb full moon to March full moon 2012 - and beyond...
Bring your love, your joy, your music, your seeds, your songs to the Kauearanga Valley near Thames, Coromandel, te Ika a Maui
Just look for the Rainbows....
Theres a beautiful river, lots of lush land, an organic feijoa orchard next door, welcome to come and gather - Rainbow family come together, let's keep spreading the light in Aotearoa and amp up the vibe for 2012 - In Love We Shall Rise...
Vego - Drug Free - No electrickery - Pet Free
Focaliser: Eben - poolsunwater(at)yahoo.com
Blessed be!"

Honeymoon Valley, Kaitaia, Te Tai Tokerau - Ninth Aotearoa national gathering - Early Summer (Dec 2011/ Jan 2012)

The period following the world gathering was a time of regrounding and reflection. Various visions were hinted at for another national gathering, including a suggestion  but none of the seeds took root until late 2011, when Annalee put out the call for another gathering in her turangawaewae of Te Tai Tokerau.

Many of the whānau were involved in the Occupy Aotearoa movement, which kicked off on October 15 with protest occupations of public squares and parks around the country, and this was one of the networks through which word of the gathering spread. Consequently, most of those who made it to Honeymoon Valley had been involved in one or more of the occupations, and most of them were exhausted, and frustrated by the difficulties of trying to live up to potential they'd seen in the occupations to spark off a grassroots movement for consensus democracy in our country. This gathering was a good opportunity to reflect on the successes and failure of the occupations, and what we'd learned from them as free human beings of this earth, and nodes in a network of love and light within the wider earth defence movements.

The world gathering had given us a fresh sense of the way rainbow families operate around the world, both the depth of the commonalities and the breadth of the different approaches taken in different parts of the world. One consensus which emerged was that we need to be sticking to the kaupapa of the vision circle at the end of each gathering, where consensus on rough dates and a region of the country for the next gathering. This way, whānau who choose not to use hi-tech communications (internet, phone etc) have as much time as possible to hear about the next gathering by word of mouth, knowing the key information will not be changed by online discussion. Any information about the gatherings passed through the internet can only widen the circle, opening a portal for brothers and sisters to come to their first gathering, not change the decision made by rainbow family on the land. Consensus was reached in Honeymoon Valley to hold the next national gathering in Golden Bay, at the end of that same summer.

Rappahannock Valley, Te Kopi o Kaitangata, Te Wai Pounamu - Tenth world rainbow gathering Dec 2009/ Jan 2010

These news updates were put up to keep the whanau informed about the world gathering 2009/10

News - 19 Dec, 2009: The new site has been found, a unanimous consensus emerged on the land, with NO discussion required! :) We are in the Victoria Forest Park, in the heart of Te Wai Pounamu (the south island), near te Kopi o Kaitangata (Lewis Pass), and about 2 1/2 hours from Mawhera (Greymouth), Whakatu (Nelson), or Otautahi (Christchurch). The closest international airport is Christchurch Airport.

Access to the site is up the Rappahannock Valley, on Highway 65, about 30km north of Springs Junction or 54km south of Murchison. Turn east onto Rappahannock Rd, which is 10km north of Maruia Village. Car park is about 3km along, visible from the road.

The streams we are gathering by are tributaries of the Rappahannock River. Wikipedia claims that "The name "Rappahannock" comes from the Algonquian word lappihanne (also noted as toppehannock), meaning 'river of quick, rising water' or 'where the tide ebbs and flows.'". So, plan for wet weather, as well as sun. Although sandflies are few so far, bring plenty of all-natural insect repellent. Due to fire risk, communal fires only, approved by talking circle. Bring strong food containers to keep out rats and mice. Bring tarps and pots and tools. Bring musical instruments, and good things to share, and love and light. leave your drugs, alcohol, electronic devices, dogs, chainsaws, and helicopters at home.

Seed Camp activities are being rushed along, the gathering is starting! All family are called to come welcome the land, and start seeds for a beautiful gathering. Magic hat is in need of love, send to aotearoacaravan @ gmail.com via http://www.paypal.com. (Strypey)

News - 12 Dec, 2009: I have just come from the base camp at the rained out gathering site (Doughboy Creek). Arohanui to everyone who was part of this rainbow adventure in South Westland.

Everyone is out of the main site now, all are safe, warm, and fed, if still a little damp ;) River was still impasable, so magic hat paid for a helicopter to bring them out. All gear except a few tipi poles came out of the site with them, no problems. Welcome home camp has also been packed up and carried out to base camp, except for a tipi and a tarp which need to dry out. The rest of this update can be found in the email list archives. (Strypey)

News - 2 Dec, 2009: Seed camp for the world rainbow gathering starts today. For answers to frequently asked questions about the this world gathering, click on the link above. Strypey put out his last seasonal newsmail last Saturday. You can read it in the email list archives.

A couple more pieces of news spent some time on the front of the hopepage after the world gathering, a time of exhaustion and reflection for many of the local rainbow focalizers, especially because less than a year after that gathering, Ōtautahi was hit by a series of catastrophic earthquakes.

Breaking News - 8 Sept, 2010:  Cloud texted me today from Otautahi, about a proposed rainbow relief camp:

"Calling all rainbows, gather all your information and ideas and come together at 97 Scarborough Tce, Sumner, from 6pm tonight, for a pot-luck tea and chat about prepare..."

He and others are focalising an effort to:
"get a camp going that we could build showers etc and kitchens and help people who are becoming homeless".

News -  8 June, 2010: Matariki is nearly rising! Time to put the past year to rest, and envision what the new year holds for us in Aotearoa. Will there be a gathering this summer? Kaimanawa (Desert Rd area) and Motu Aotea (Great Barrier Island) were suggested as possibilities as the world gathering last summer. Any scouts who want to put forward ideas, or reports, can send them to the email list, or make a CoActivate account, and add them to the 'next gathering' page linked above. (Strypey)

Update - 18 Apr, 2010: As usual, the gathering featured many talented (and some less) musicians and singers. A few audio clips from heart songs at the gathering can be heard on this page about rainbow songs, and Isaac's banjo can be heard on this page about rainbow culture. Most of the rest disappeared into the ether. (Playful)

Kahurangi National Park, Te Tai Tapu (Golden Bay) - Eighth Aotearoa national gathering - Nov/ Dev 2007

The 2007 summer gathering was the first time te whānau uenuku had contact with Black Bear, who lives on a piece of land on a few minutes drive from that gathering site in the Kahurangi, which he calls 'Spirit of Nature, Nature of Spirit' ("Mt SoNNoS"). This message spent some time on the front page of this hopepage:

News - 5 Jan, 2009: a local in Taitapu (Golden Bay) has shared info about a "rainbow healing and learning camp" being promoted by a man called Ursus Shwartz/ Black Bear. This man has been calling three-month long "rainbow gatherings" every summer for the last few years, often using references to actual rainbow gatherings to borrow credibility. At least now he has stopped calling them gatherings, but his ongoing attempts to bring workers to his working bees, his land and his projects by using the rainbow name are misleading at best. I have visited Black Bear at "Mt SoNNoS", his scrubby hillside "paradise" in the Bay, and my impression was that of a harmless, well-meaning old eccentric. However, word from rainbow family in Europe is that he has caused a lot of confusion and frustration there, and one Golden Bay local has commented,

"you may want to inform people of the dangers of this man and his attempt to make this project sound amazing when it is full of shit. people can still choose for themselves but an informed choice is always better".

The text on the site asks for a 3 week minimum stay. Kia tupato - take care! (Strypey)

Hokianga, Te Tai Tokerau - Seventh Aotearoa national gathering - (late 2006/ early 2007)


Kaimanawa Regional Park, Desert Plateau - Sixth Aotearoa national gathering - Jan/ Feb 2006


Moehau Community, Coromandel - Fifth Aotearoa national gathering - Oct/ Nov 2004

"Well the recent 2004 national rainbow gathering at Moehau on the Coromandel Peninsula was a great success. I think about 100 people were there to participate in our full moon ritual. It was great to see some familiar faces and plenty of beautiful new ones coming into our growing family."

- Strypey, 'Aotearoa Rainbow Newsmail #5'

Rainbow Valley Community, Anatoki Valley, Golden Bay - Fourth Aotearoa national gathering Jan/ Feb 2003­

The 4th Aotearoa gathering of the rainbow family of living light finished recently after 6 weeks in the beautiful Anatoki Valley, near Takaka in the north of the south island. This began as a small camp to commemorate the succes of the third gathering, and hold a vision council. Word spread like wildfire and before long a full scale gathering was in progress.

Seed Camp began on January 8. This is when our scouts arrive to open the welcome centre, prepare the gathering site and establish communal facilities like water supply, kitchen, chai tent, main circle where we have our meals and of course dig shit pits ;P

Main Gathering began with a full moon ceremony on Saturday January 18 (at this stage I was at the Kaikoura Roots Festival and didn't make it to the gathering till after reporting on Waihopai) and carried on for four weeks, culminating in a wicked full moon party on Sunday February 16.

Throughout we enjoyed communal brunch and dinner cooked by the family with food provided by donations to the 'magic hat'. Family members shared their skills and knowledge through informal workshops and discussions. The health of the family was monitored and treated with natural remedies. At night we gathered in the communal tipi, in the chai tent and around the sacred fire in the main circle to sing bajans, rainbow songs and even some Māori waiata :}

It was a magical time and an amazing opportunity to meet and hang out with an awesome crew of international rainbow brothers and sisters. Some of them are rainbow veterans, for others it was their first gathering. Either way it wouldn't have been the same without them, arohanui ki a koutou, cool runnings, love and best wishes to you all in your travels.

Of course I don't mean to downplay the contribution of our kiwi brothers and sisters, especially our elders who called the gathering and provided momentum at seedcamp. Enormous thanks must go also to our hosts at Rainbow Valley Community, whose land we were camping on for so long. Kia ora koutou katoa.

(Text adapted from an article published on Aotearoa Indymedia by Strypey)

Rainbow Valley Community, Anatoki Valley, Golden Bay - Third Aotearoa national gathering - 2000/01(?)


Te Tai Tokerau - Second Aotearoa national gathering - 1998


Baton Valley, Motueka - First Aotearoa national gathering - 1998

The first Aotearoa gathering happened in Baton Valley, in the Motueka River Valley, in autumn of 1998.

Gathering 0

There are stories of a gathering in Aotearoa in the early years of the rainbow family coming into existence. If this happened, then for some reason, rainbow did not take root in this land at that time.This story assumes that the first Aotearoa rainbow gathering was in 1998.

The Origins of the rainbow gatherings

The first rainbow family gathering was held in the USA in 1972, an organic outgrowth of the hippy movement with a strongly spiritual peace-on-earth focus. Originally planned as a free one-off meditation for peace, the US gathering has become an annual tradition. A truly miraculous yearly event that sees thousands of people gathering peacefully for weeks, providing for their needs through communal cooking and donations to the 'magic hat'. Since then the rainbow family has spread out across the world, with regional and national gatherings held throughout America, Europe, Australia, even Israel! In the last few years there has been a series of world rainbow gatherings beginning in Australia in 2000. The second began in Brazil on March 4. Ten years later, the tenth world gathering was held in Aotearoa.

Many brothers and sisters believe the rainbow gathering movement is the manifestation of Native American prophecies, particularly the Hopi prophecy, which talks about Rainbow Warriors and the emergence of a new tribe who live in the ancient ways and defend the Earth. Many of the Aotearoa whanau feel a sense of connection to the Waitaha, a previously unknown iwi whose oral histories of living in peace in Te Wai Pounamu (south island) before the arrival of Kai Tahu were documented by Barry Brailsford in 'Song of Waitaha'. Misuse of this oral history by the author of Song of Waitaha is described in this article by Makere Harawira, and we aspire to avoid falling into these traps of reinforcing colonization, and instead support the aspirations of all the world's indigenous people to have their autonomy and traditional stewardship of land and resources respected.