The Gathering

Lava Magazine December 1998

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"The Gathering is a festival of dance, music and participation. Your presence creates The Gathering. Take care, we are all responsible for the environment. Be nice humans."

The phenomenon that is The Gathering is a high end option for New Year's Eve celebrating in New Zealand at the end of the 20th century. As well as being a very pleasant place to be for a few days, hanging out in a pristine enviroment with 8000 or so very friendly people, it's also a kick-ass get down and go hard party, with hundreds of great DJs, live acts, visuals and kickin' sound gear to dance to. The music in all seven zones goes the full 48 hours, so you can wander from scene to scene choosing the exact sound you need at any given moment. The house tent at last year's party was incredible, the music as good as any local or international gig since or before. Or maybe it's just that the vibe's so good it all sounds better.... Anyway, behind all that great fun and largeness, invariably some serious organisation goes down. Here's some words from the crew, and some things we think you need to know....

" culture in Nelson has always been strongly associated with outdoor dance parties. The Entrain crew (which included many people still working on The Gathering) held New Year parties in the Nelson region for the three years before The Gathering was born. In the short time it has been in existence, The Gathering has become a cultural phenomenon, a model of its kind, and an inspiration.

Last year's Gathering was the second to be held at New Year and ran for 48 hours from midday on 31 December 1997 to midday on 2 January 1998. The venue is an open-air series of natural amphitheatres 2,500 feet above sea level on top of Takaka Hill near Nelson. The temperature can drop to near freezing at night and climbs to around 30 degrees during the day. The first year 4,000 people came. Last year all 8,000 tickets sold out in advance of the event, making it New Zealand's biggest dance party by far.

The Gathering 98/99 is organised by a core crew of 3 directors - Murray Kingi, Alison Green and Greg Shaw - who put together a team of around 200 multi-talented artists, technicians and organisers - all of whom are deeply into the rave scene in NZ. Add to this over 100 DJs from around the country, 35 acts creating live electronic music, 100 or so performers (such as jugglers, stilt-walkers, dancers etc) and a team of 20 VJs performing in 7 separate musical zones around the site, and you can see why people come from all over the country (and also now from overseas) to attend the event.

The party is alcohol-free and we reserve the right to search people on entry and confiscate alcohol. As a consequence of this, the local police have not felt the need to have a presence at the event, and there is no violence or trouble. It is estimated that the 1997/98 Gathering brought $4 million into the local economy, and New Year's Eve in Nelson has become much more peaceful and much less hassle for police since we started doing the event."

Alison Green (A Gatherer)

The Lineup

Live Acts

Aethyr, Alan Ray Star Rat, Animal Intelligenze (Aus), Arrythmia, Baitercell, Bambi, Beats n Pieces, Boru, Bunyip, Crude, Damn Native, epsilon blue, FreQ, Isolation, Jam Fa!, Josh & Leon, King Kapisi, LRS, Luckas, Minuit, Mystery, Non Place Urban Field (Ger), Obnoxia, Pitch Black, Pylon, Ray Indigo, Salmonella Dub, Sanctus Tr3o, Sidewinder, Solaa, Sync24, Technova (David Harrow) (UK), The Nomad, Thermaglo, UAC, Unit 23.


Action Jack, Adam & Dallas, Agent 99, Alambra, Andy B, Anine, Antsman, Argyle, B-Line, b-low, Ben Farrant, Big Matt, Blunt, Camtui, Caro, Chumbwa, Cian, Clinton Smiley, Coda, Col, D-Man, D'erb, Damnation, Defender, Disorder, Domino, Downtown Brown, Dredford, Drinian, Fat Cat, Flex, Flic, Flux, Fusion, Gild, Grapple, Grind, Gusto, Habibi, Halcyon, Helix, Hemisphere, Henge, Hijinx, Innovator, John Hughes, John Saunders, Kinesis, Koa, Larakin, Lemon, Lil Bastard, Lotus, Lunatik, Me, Medicine Man, misda nil, Missing Link, Mnemonik, Moe, Mona, Moonraker, Mr Steel, Mu & K-Tel, Orphic, Orplasm, Pacman, Paul-E, Pyre, Qua May, Rapture, Raymond, Ruffstep, Rukus, Sam, Scarlet, Scott, Sean, Septic, Skam, Solidstate, Special K, Stephan, Todd Robinson, Tofu, Toshi, Trick, Undercover Agent (UK), Victrola, Virgil, Will, Wixmix, Wizard, Yakkity, Yardie.


Automatic, Axis Visuals, Cloud 9, Ethervision, Grind, Hallucinagenius, Helm, Houdini, Knot Visuals, Liminal, Patch, Reihana Mania, Sinemah, Terra Incognita, TP, Tranceducer, Tube, Zeroine.

There'll be seven zones: Trance, Techno, House, Hardcore, Drum&Bass (also the dub zone), Tribal and, this year, a Jazz, Classical and World Music zone, set in a clearing in the beech forest which doubles as an open-air cinema at night.

What to bring

We are 2,500 feet above sea level. The temperature can reach 30 degrees during the day and drop to near freezing at night... On a rainy day we can disappear completely into the clouds.

You should bring:

  • sunblock and a sunhat
  • solid footwear
  • warm clothing / wet weather gear
  • camping gear and a warm sleeping bag
  • a torch - please do NOT bring candles - they are a fire hazard
  • food
  • water and water containers
  • first-aid gear
  • a bit of money
  • some clues

The organisers ask that you please DON'T bring....

  • alcohol
  • dogs
  • glass
  • fires or naked flames (eg candles or gas camping stoves)

The Gathering provides:

  • security lockup for your bags $5.00
  • food marquee providing a range of offerings from junk to vegan
  • friendly but firm security and a security lockup for your bags ($5)
  • a general store for all your last-minute needs
  • Red Cross, on-site doctors and our own welfare & safety team

How To Get There


0800 802 802. Places are filling up VERY fast, especially for vehicles. Depending on demand, TranzRail may be willing to put on a special Gathering ferry - check The Gathering website for details closer to the time.

By Air

Soundsair - 0800 505 005.
Flight Corporation - 0800 FLY CORP.
Coast-To-Coast Helicopters - 03 540 2546. Assuming the weather is OK, Andy will be flying people from Motueka onto the site for a very reasonable fee.

By Road

From Picton: to get to Nelson head towards Blenheim. Turn right at Spring Creek and then right at the end of that road onto Highway 6. For a more scenic route go via Queen Charlotte Drive - follow signs.
From Nelson: head south towards Richmond on Highway 6 and then go on to Motueka on Highway 60. The Gathering is signposted from there.
From Christchurch: either go along east coast through Kaikoura or through the middle of the island via Lewis Pass. If going this way take a left at Kohatu onto Highway 61. This will take you straight to Motueka, missing Nelson.

Bus service

There will be a regular bus service running between Nelson, Motueka and The Gathering.

When you arrive in town, check out The Gathering stalls at Nelson Information Centre, Takaka Info Centre, Motueka Info Centre or Zippy's cafe, Hardy Street, Nelson. They're packed full of the latest info.


[ this competition is now over so please don't send any cards to Lava! WebEd]

Lava Magazine, December 1998

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