New Zealand

The Rainbow Warriors – How I became a Hippie in New Zealand

The Rainbow Warriors

How I became a Hippie in New Zealand

Brothers and Sisters of the rainbow family holding hands in a circle under the stars

We all come from different walks of life with our different colours with the aknowledgement that we ARE light. […] We are the awaken, the light, the love – gathering to live in harmony to trade ideas, knowledge, stories, ways of living, to learn,to grow, to charge our light, to heal ourselves to heal the earth, to explore our mind, to raise the consciousness. We are the rainbow warriors with no weapons but with love. We are the change. We are family, stardust from above. Children living in the path of light. We are medicine.

Loving you family!”

Quote out of a rainbow book at the punakaiki gathering 2017

Have you yet heard about a rainbow gathering? Have you met a warrior of love, made out of stardust? Sounds all a little bit too far from reality? Like a new religion or even sect? In New Zealand I had the chance to visit two of these gatherings. In the following I want to shine some (rainbow) light into these things and at the end you will hopefully understand the above statement a little bit better.

What is a rainbow gathering (in theory)?

In principle a rainbow gathering is a gathering of humans in nature. It is absolutely not commercial, there is no entry-fee, there is nothing to buy and nothing for sale. Anyone can come. There are no leaders or organizers, everyone has equal rights and is equally responsible. There are no rules, no regulations, but some basic values one should bring.

Respect for other humans and nature, non-violence, tolerance and openness. The willingness to live in a community and to take responsibility for it.

Decisions are made by everyone together and in consensus. Meals are made for everyone and food is paid for out of the magic hat. After the meals this hat goes round and anyone is free to contribute as much money as he or she can or want to. Every act for the community is self motivated and voluntary.

There are some additional guidelines which support the harmonious and peaceful living-together: Alcohol or drugs, electronic devices, apart from electric torches, particularly cameras, are not welcome. Anyone is seen as a member of the rainbow family, and people address each other as brothers and sisters.

Living in tune with nature includes leaving no traces, and after a gathering everything, every tiny piece of rubbish, is collected and carried out.

It all started in the seventies in the USA, and nowadays gatherings are held worldwide. There are small gatherings with less then hundred people, and massive gatherings with several thousands.

This framework on its own is already exciting, but another circumstance may raise the interest in such gatherings: The experiences made during a gathering are labeled by many as live-changing and seem to leave behind a deep impression. I´ve seen people crying for joy and gratitude, and almost everyone wants to attend another gathering in the future.

At the last gathering I asked some people what they liked most about the rainbow gathering. This is what they said:


In the following I´ll tell you how that works out in practice and what kind of people go to a rainbow gathering. This report is based on my own experience of two different gatherings in New Zealand in 2017. The Photos were taken at the south island gathering and as well the time before and after that, which I spend with new friends of the rainbow family.

What is a rainbow gathering (in practice)?

My feet are following the beaten path through the high grass. To my left, the trees are disappearing into the arising darkness; to my right, I can hear the rushing of the river which I had to cross in order to get to the gathering. It took the whole day to hitch up from Wellington and to walk the last half an hour through the forest. “Shout out when you arrive at the river and someone will guide you.”, was written in the email with directions. I haven´t had to shout, as people were shouting “Welcome Home!” and “We love you!” at me from the other river bank. I had waded through the knee-deep river and as everyone welcomed me with a hug, I started to forebode that I not only had crossed a physical boundary of water but a boundary into another world in which I soon would feel very much at home.

But right now I feel nervous and excited as I follow the path which will bring me to the main circle. Voices are ringing through the forest, singing and laughter, and as I get closer I can see the fire. A clearing in the forest, a big fire in the middle and around it a circle of people, holding hands and singing. I briefly hesitate, but as I walk closer, the circle opens up, and my hands find themselves in two other hands. Even before I have time to take a look around the girl on my left raises my hand to her mouth, and gives me a kiss on the back of the hand. Her beaming bright eyes seems to penetrate deep into myself, and ,with an impish smile, she indicates me to pass on the kiss to the right. Bashfully I advert my gaze but do as told. I don´t feel fully comfortable, and shy I flatter a kiss on the hand of the person to my right.


We are circling, circling together, we are singing, singing our heart songs.

This is family, this is unity, this is celebration, this is sacred.”

Lyrics from a rainbow song

I don´t know any of these songs, and singing was never one of my strengths. Hence I feel uneasy and out of place, but at the same time fascinated. This choir of voices sounds wonderful, and the fire creates a mystical atmosphere. The creatures around it look mysterious. No more than 40 people are gathered here, they are mostly in the first half of their lives. The proportion of people with dreadlocks seems to be above average, there are not many clean-shaved or make-up faces, and the outfits range from normal to freaky. It is all very mixed and colorful. Almost everyone here is barefoot. I take a look down on myself. My feet are still stucked in shoes.

Mother I feel you under my feet, mother I feel your heartbeat.”


After all songs have faded away and all hands are kissed multiple times, everyone joins into a chanted Om. This Sanskrit syllable is known as the sacred sound, the universal sound of creation, and it shall help to bring body, mind, and spirit in unison. After three Oms I watch the others raise their hands above their heads, fold them and bring them down to their foreheads and chests. Then they kneel down and stretch their arms to the front until the heads touches the ground. I can even see how one person kisses the muddy ground.

Let your little light shine, shine, shine, let your little light shine, shine, shine.

There could be someone down the valley try to come home, try to come home, try to come home.”

After that, everyone just sits in a circle on the ground. Food is served out of big pots, each one holds up his or her bowl and receives the same portion. There is rice, vegetable curry, and salad. The guy next to me starts to eat with his fingers. He loudly shouts “Salt connection!”. “What could that possibly mean?”, I think. “Salt is here”, it sounds from the other side of the circle. That guy must have felt my surprise, since he bends towards me and puts his hand on my thigh. His eyes have the same beaming intensity than the eyes of the girl to my left. “Hey brother, first time on a rainbow gathering?”, he asks friendly, and then gives me my first lesson in rainbow communication. “If you need something or search for someone, just shout out and someone will answer.” The salt has reached him by now and as to proof his words one more time, he shouts out “Love connection!”. “We love you!”, sounds back from different directions.

At one point some people get up and start to dance and sing. A hat is passed around and everyone is invited to donate money. I barely see anyone putting money in, just a lot of blow kisses.

Magik hat, magik hat. How about that it´s a magik hat. It provides the food we eat, so contribute to the magik hat! “

Some people just keep on sitting or get closer to the fire. Others get up to wash their bowls. I observe one guy rubbing his bowl with ash from the fire. “Otherwise the possums will come at night and lick your bowl. You can get sick from that. I let the ash dry and wash it tomorrow at the river”, he explains.

Someone starts to drum a rhythm, and the atmosphere is relaxed and laid back. Campfire ambience. I can see how some folks get comfortable at the other side of the fire. Some guy is stretched out on his back, holding a girl in his left, her head resting on his chest. His hand is playing with the hair of another person on his belly and just now a fourth person is getting comfortable at his legs. A hand shoots up and tries to grab a random person passing by. “Join the cuddle puddle!” a voice demands and indeed some more people make themselves comfortable until it is a single pile of body’s with hands and limbs tangled together. It looks quite cushy over there, but I don´t have the guts to just join the cuddle puddle. To cuddle with a stranger? To hold someone I don´t know in my arm and stroke his or her head? That is too much for the first day and out of my comfort zone.

With a feeling of not-belonging-here, of being-an-outsider, I walk to my tent. On the other hand, I´m fascinated by this intensity and energy which is all around, and I´m curious to find out why it is like that and what is actually going on here.

I think many people feel similar when they arrive at their first rainbow gathering. They are overwhelmed and intimidated, and don´t feel as a part of it straight away. “Everyone is a rainbow!” people will tell you, but it might take a few days until you really feel it.

Community is Communication in Unity

I wake up because people are shouting “Food circle! Now!”, the signal that a meal is ready. On my way to the main fire anyone I meet greets me, many with a hug. Everyone is friendly and smiles. The singing ritual of the evening before is repeated, then a delicious porridge with fruit salad is served. There is even enough for a second round.

What follows is the talking circle. Someone stands there with a stick in his hands and shouts “Focus Family! Respect the stick!”, and the conversations fade out until the only sounds are the chirping of the ciccades and the wind in the trees. All the attention is at the person holding the stick, and he or she can say anything what is to say and passes on the stick. This practice makes sure that everyone is heard and that a discussion is not ruled only by the louder and stronger voices. It is allowed to talk about anything and as long you want.

The matters and contents varies widely. Organizational matters are discussed, announcements to workshops or activities are made, reminders to collect firewood or inquiries about lost items. A large part of people address their experiences and emotional life. They use the opportunity to open themselves up and to say how they feel. “Thank you!” and “Love you family!” are probably the most heard expressions in a talking circle, and people just say thanks for their experiences, the last meal or often just for the presence of the others. They express how their perception changes, how everything looks beautiful and beaming. Beautiful people in a beautiful place, enjoying the infinite moment and celebrating life.

But negative emotions and problems are addresses as well. Some talk about that they feel nervous when speaking in front of the others. And so it is for me.

I sit here and listen to all these strong and beautiful people around me, and watch the stick coming closer, slowly but steadily. As closer it gets as more nervous I get. What should I say? Maybe nothing and just pass on the stick? What if I make a mistake and blush? Do the others know I´m nervous? These are the fears that everyone has, albeit to different degrees. But the environment of tolerance makes it easier to overcome your fears and to actually say something.

After my first talking circle I understand already better what´s going on here. Later a sister puts it so nicely in words:

Community is Communication in Unity!”

And that is exactly what happens in a talking circle. Because everyone can speak without being interrupted, and without having to be afraid to be judged, because people speak openly about their thoughts and feelings, they speak from the heart. Because of this honestly talking with each other, that feeling of belonging together, of community, arises. This form of communication enables to understand each other, and is central for living together in a community.

Decisions, which concern the whole group, are made by the talking circle as well, and they are made by consensus. That means everyone needs to agree or at least not to disagree. To find a solution for a problem where people have different opinions needs good communication and of course a sense of working together for the same goal and for the best of the whole group, instead of working for their own personal interests. The talking circle is the main body of a rainbow gathering, the mood-barometer and hub of the community. Everyone is free to listen and to speak.

Another important condition for the shaping of this temporary community is the place where it takes place, namely in nature.

Life in the wilderness

My naked feet are following the beaten path through the wet grass. I´m one of the early birds here; as soon as the sun appears behind the mountains, I wake up and leave my tent. I´m on my way to bush island, one of the many small camps which are scattered all over the valley. Two friends reside there and often some guests in the hammock or around the fireplace. For the latter I´m on my way there, to begin the day with a coffee. Everyone is still sleeping in bush island and I start to light a fire. Owing to the rain of the last days, all the wood is wet, only today it looks like the sun will come through the clouds.

everyone still asleep in bush island

It is an arduous task to get the fire going. Only with a lot of blowing and waving it is possible to create small flames, which always go out after a while. The smoke stays and makes my eyes watering. Eventually the fire is burning, and I just have to go to the river to wash the pot and get water. I balance it on the fire and exercise patience. Finally the coffee is ready, very much to the joy of the others, which are awake by now.

A next typical step for me is the way to the shitpit. This simplest of all toilets is a digged trench over that you squat to do your business. Often a tarp provides more privacy, and toilet paper, or at least water, is available. When you are done you cover your shit with ash, lime or soil, and wash your hands with a mix of water, vinegar and tea tree oil, which acts as a natural disinfectant. Some people need to get used to this kind of toilet, for other people it is so natural and free of shame that they invite you to join them to shit together, instead of letting you wait in an adequately distance.

Then it is time for a swim. Meanwhile, the sun is shining at the rocks and can heat up the body after the cold water. Swimming naked is the standard, and first it might feel rather unusual to take of all your cloth in front of others, but after a few times it is just normal. After a few weeks of nude bathing every thought of wearing clothes while swimming seems absurd. No one uses soap, the pure water cleans and refreshes anyway. Toothpaste can be replaced by ash and sand, and leaves are totally suitable for cleaning dishes.

Material available from nature gets used in creative ways. Sand is used to dry out muddy pathways, rocks to protect the fire places, and combined with clay and hay they form material to build ovens. Wood is useful to construct poles and tables, grass can serve to pad the ground in the tipi, seaweed as rope and palm leaves as the starting material for weaved mats.

sea weed makes a good rope

Even the medicine comes from nature. Plantain and Yarrow proof themselves useful on small cuts and wounds.When, after a couple of rainy days, a lot of people suffer from fungus between their toes, someone uses the leaves of the horopito bush to make a food bath. The anti-fungal attributes of this plant is known by the Maoris, the native people of New Zealand, for hundreds of years.

Horopitu bush

However, the limits of the bush-medicine can be seen as well. Sometimes people get wound infections, and small, normally harmless, scratches that quickly become big, swollen, and pus-leaking abscesses. One brother ended up having surgery in hospital because his foot was swollen to double its size, and several people (including me) saw no other way then to take modern antibiotics, because the body wasn´t strong enough to fight the infections and heal the wounds.

Tall trees, warm fire, strong winds, deep water. I can feel it in my body, I can feel it in my soul. Hejahejahejaheja hejahejahejaja hejaheeeja, hejaheja, hejahejaheja ho”

The lost awe

In our technological and modern world we humans have lost not only the contact to nature, but also the awe for it. Scientists explain complex processes at the atomic level, humankind seems to know how everything works and where it comes from. It seems there are no secrets, no wonders; everything is understood and formulated in knowledge or verbalized in books. Our modern way of live, with clean water from the tap, light and heat at the touch of a button, and food from the supermarket, it seems so obvious that we don´t recognize the source of these things anymore.

Among each other we connect more and more through digital channels and reduce real interpersonal relations.

But in an environment without smart-phones or computers, without electricity or technology, the following happens: You are not distracted, more in the present, and you connect more with yourself and your environment. Not only with the humans around you but especially with nature. You realize how dependent you are and how everything is interconnected. Life is determined by the day and night rhythm of the sun. Water comes from the river, precious and flowing in eternity, for drinking, washing, and cooking. The forest provides protection and firewood. All noises are natural, no traffic noise, no machines, no loud music. Just the sound of the wind rustling in the trees, the rushing of the river, and the twittered melodies of the birds. Exposed to heavy rain or burning sun, the weather influences activities and mood. This direct, permanent experienced contact with nature, with all of its fluctuations and regularities, leads to more acceptance, to more awe and fascination. Though our way of live is apparently decoupled and dissociated – here we humans and there the nature –in reality we are an integral part of nature and just a small part of the phenomena life.

It is about the return to a way of life that determined the bigger part of human history and which accepts and respects mother nature, mother earth as the giver of life.

Naturally you learn about your environment, though not through rational knowledge of facts but rather through felt-knowledge. The connection arises on a level which detracts itself from thoughts and words. If you look at a plant touching, smelling and feeling it you realise theres a different kind of knowledge than it´s scientific name or if reading in a book about its habitat. If you listen for a while, with eyes closed, to the river, then you have a different connection with the river compared if you had the knowledge of how long it is or where its source is.

If you stare into a fire, watch a particularly beautiful sunset or look up to the sky in a clear night and see the milky way and shooting stars, this intuition, this feeling of awe for the universe and at the same time the embracement with nature, that is what matters here.

Oh great spirit, earth and sky and sea, you are inside and all around me”

Together we are strong

At a rainbow gathering it is all about cooperation. Everyone contributes and brings in his or her knowledge or skills. One of the best places to see that is the kitchen. It consists of a basic construction of posts, ropes and tarps, which can be extended, depending on the need and motivation. Fires are used for cooking. Someone has collected firewood, someone brought pots, others build a table and an oven and another group went on a town mission to buy food. Another person feels inspired to guide the responsibility for dinner. This person is the focalizer, he or she takes care that everything works out fine and keeps an overview in the kitchen. A focalizer is a person temporarily in charge and they volunteer themselves to be the coordinator for working activities, for example a meal or construction. This focalizing is the only form of leadership at a rainbow gathering.

the kitchen

The call “Food circle” takes its beginning in the kitchen and is carried on as a signal that someone wants to start cooking and everyone who wants to help can come. The focalizer examines the food provisions and what meal could be prepared. All meals are vegan, without any animal products, and, if possible, the food is organic and from local sources. People start to chop vegetables, the big pots get cleaned, others take care of the fires and others play music for the kitchen crew. Many things have to be improvised, there is no table until someone builds it, the kitchen tools are often limited as is the range of food. But through cooperation of many people, who all bring in their ideas and take responsibilities, together, create a meal for the whole rainbow family. Depending on the supplies,the skills and motivation of the kitchen crew, meals may vary from burnt oat-porridge (rarely), or a menu with three to four courses(more frequently). Pancakes, vegetable curry, pasta, fresh bread, fried potatoes, the list of possible dishes is long. Apart from the occasional burnt or still hard rice, most of the meals are delicious and healthy. For breakfast musli is common, with chia seeds, buckwheat and other nuts and seeds, with fruit salad on the side.

making bread


International dishes are made, everyday it tastes differently delicious. This could be due to the hunger, because not all the time there is enough food for a second serving or it seems to take a long time until food is ready but everyone is always grateful. It is a good idea to bring some additional private supplies, especially coffee, chocolate, peanut butter and popcorn.

As soon as it sounds “Food circle! Now!” out of the kitchen, the food is ready to serve and it is time to gather a bowl (preferably your own bowl) and go to the main fire for the singing circle.

The rainbow is a place of trying out and learning. Someone brought the poles and canvas for a tipi, but no one knows how to set it up properly. So we just try out, discuss, try again and bring the poles in a different order. After many hours the tipi is erected, even though not perfect. During the gathering it will be changed one or two times, or even completely reconstructed by motivated people. This tipi becomes one of my favorite places, and the nights there I will never forget.

the tipi – here the pack down

A night in the tipi

My feet are wet and cold, and I try not to slip on the muddy ground as I find my way through the rainy darkness. I´m on my way to the tipi. Soft light and gentle mumble of voices radiating, it appears out of the dark, and through the opening I slip inside. It is crowded like every other evening. At least 20 people lay sitting around a small fire in the middle. The air is smokey, but it is dry and warm. Someone makes some space for me, and I squeeze in. Some of the faces I know already, some I see for the first time. The shine of the fire let the eyes beam and mystical faces emerge out of the shadows. But I´m most fascinated by the music. Drum-beats fly through the air, didgeridoos let every single cell vibrate, in between soft metallic sounds from instruments unknown to me. And then there is this voice. Never heard tones flow into my ears and my whole body. A female voice, hidden in the shade, sings sounds, not words, and harmonizes with the other instruments. It is intense. It is as if the musicians are connected at an invisible plane to be able to create this unity and harmony. These sounds suffuse the tipi and cast a spell on everyone who is listening and who is part of this jam session. It is not about perfection, it´s about vibration.

Smiling faces and beaming eyes, everyone feels the connection and gets fulfilled by the music. Miscellaneous instruments are handed around, drum, guitar, flute, kalimba, didgeridoo, harmonica, jew´s harp. Somebody brought a pot and prepares tea on the fire. Chocolate and joints are passed around and get shared brotherly and sisterly, it is a cosy and snugly atmosphere.

It is hard to leave the tipi. Especially if you are caught in a cuddle puddle, tangled up with others. Once you overcome your shyness of direct body contact with a stranger, or if you know the others already a little bit, it is an impressive experience and feels very good. To get touched and snuggled by different hands, one is stroking your head, another massaging your foot, and at the same time you give this love, this affection, back with your own hands. You are simply accepted here and accept others, it is not about something sexual, it is about unconditional love and nurturing between human beings, about intimacy and Geborgenheit, this feeling of security and belonging. In a cuddle puddle you feel yourself connected with the others and you get the cuddles and tenderness which is so important, so healing for everyone of us. Joined in the cuddle puddle, listening to the music and carried by the energy of the tipi, I feel as part of the whole, connected with the other brothers and sisters and the whole universe.


Deep inside my heart I got this everlasting love, that shining like the sun that radiates on everyone. And the more that I give the more I got to give, it´s the way that I live it´s what I´m living for.

“good morning tipi”

Everyone is a teacher

As well worth to mention is the broadness of knowledge which swirls around a rainbow gathering and which is passed on in workshops. Everyone can be a teacher and can announce a workshop in the talking circle.

flute making workshop

The spectrum is vast and can be of theoretical nature like an anarchy workshop, women circle, men circle, story telling, astrology workshops or future visions, or rather practical and creative like instrument building, jewelry, different arts and crafts, building with natural material, meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage, contact dance, edible herbs or bajhan singing.

The creative potential is tremendous, and shows its most beautiful results at an so called cabaret. A stage area is defined and everyone is welcome to give an artistic performance. There is this brother who can sing a song in 20 different languages, the rapping sister in a panda outfit, there are the fire jugglers and circus people, the group with an improvised theater, another one who can tell jokes and makes everyone laugh. Unimagined talents emerge here.

And then there is that guy who stands up, walks to the stage and exposes himself to the attention of all, just to admit that he has nothing to show. He just wants to overcome his fear to speak in front of many people. So he asks what people want to see, someone brings him a chair and an improvised interaction with the audience follows. At the end he gets probably the most applause.

The genuineness of the performances, the unperfectness and simple atmosphere make the cabaret, at least for me, to a top grade cultural event.

Out of Babylon

The people at a rainbow gathering are so different and colorful as the different colors of a rainbow. In spite of these differences, there are some commonalities which reinforce this feeling of community, of belonging together. Often the term Babylon is heard. That is the system, the life away from a rainbow gathering, the mainstream society. The way of life and the living conditions we all grew up in and which are characterized by many as a faster and faster developing and more and more complicated world, which is ruled by corrupt governments and powerful global corporations. Theses powers don´t seem to have the well-being of all, or the planet in mind, but are only interested in personal well-being and profit for their own group, let it be their family, company or even a whole nation. Politics and media which let you believe they act for peace, freedom, and justice, and in reality they are the ones who make wars and fuel the exploitation of humans and the earth.

A world, in which our actions are determined by fear, in which we need a job and money to survive. A world in which we live in skyscrapers, made of concrete and glass, detached from nature. A world in which we need material things in order to receive prestige in society. In which we don´t know our own neighbors and are scared of foreigners, and our path of life seems too often predetermined. A world in which we are alienated and don’t know what is right and important in life.

Most of the people at a rainbow gathering would probably agree that the world, how it is today, is steering into the wrong direction and not good for the people. In the light of the lived utopia and the experiences at a rainbow gathering you hear a lot of bad things about babylon, and it is often rejected and demonized.

In the rainbow culture it is easy to forget, that progress and technological development improved the life’s of millions of people. Easy to forget that without babylon there wouldn´t be a rainbow, and we are, no matter if we want or not, part of the system. The money for the magic hat was earned in babylon, and probably most of the people go back to babylon after the gathering. The life in the rainbow bubble is beautiful and easy, but at the same time many know that it is not a model which could be easily expanded to the whole world.

Nevertheless it is an experiment, an alternative, and it gives hope to see that there are people everywhere which think similar about the world and don´t want to put up with the actual state of the world. People who want change in their life, and who search for alternatives. People who not only take up the values of love, peace, harmony and equality but who live by theses values and expand them to the big family of humankind.

This is just a song about the rainbow people, this is just a song about freedom. Freedom!”

The search for meaning

Another common ground between the rainbow people is the belief, that the world is not so rational and explainable as the western sciences wants us to believe. Probably everyone here is searching for a deeper meaning of life, is open or is actually practicing all sorts of spiritual traditions. Tarot cards, palm reading, astrology, crystal healing, meditation, animistic rituals – there is no esoteric direction which can´t be present at a rainbow gathering. The acceptance for these things is in general large. Everyone can choose what suits him or her and in what he or she wants to believe – it is an eclectic mix. The skepticism, which nowadays many of the more educated people have for these esoteric things, can be met here. Not with rational arguments, but rather with simple inner insight and feeling. If you listen to your heart and learn to trust your intuition, you might recognize that these old traditions, this knowledge from scripts and rituals from our ancestors, might be more than just the hoping for a deeper meaning. More than the searching for understanding, or the believing in a deeper sense.

A rainbow gathering catalyses the process of awakening. It helps people to expand their consciousness and to stimulate their personal development and spiritual growth.

A rainbow gathering is about the heart, about feeling, about getting to know and experience oneself, other people and the world with all known and unknown senses. And for that you don´t need any previous knowledge or the blind faith in esoteric full moon rituals. The magic unfolds on it´s own.

And if not you just take part at a cactus healing ceremony. Psychoactive plants have been used for thousands of years and consumption of San Pedro cactus can, under the right circumstances, indeed be a medicine, which opens the doors of perception and heals you.

Everyday I love my life a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more.

Past is history, future a mystery, present reality, that´s who we are.”

san pedro ready to eat

The transformation to the rainbow warrior

The peaceful space nature offers, the simple life with the rhythm of the sun and the moon, the absence of money, of technology in form of mobile phones, computer, and television, the absence of any duty, gives you time to get to know and confront yourself, and especially to feel yourself. We get tuned in, like a musical instrument, tuned in to our environment and the other people until we are all on the same wavelength, resonating with the others. We learn to open our hearts and not to act out of fear but out of love.

The presence of people who are open and tolerant and who meet you as equals, who are full of acceptance and without judgment, creates ideal conditions for personal growth and transformation.

And this transformation is very well observed at my second rainbow gathering, which I attended from the beginning to the end.

Many of the up to 200 participants who had never before been at a rainbow gathering had to learn how everything works. During the singing circle it happened, one part of the circle sings faster than the other, or even a different song.The first food circle happens late in the day because no one feels responsible for it and people don´t use the shitpits but just go into the bush. But everyday the individuals come closer together as a group. People unfold themselves, start to flourish, take responsibilities, and the overall communal spirit arises. The ties become stronger, and a family, in which everyone feels as a member, comes into being. Everyone gives something for the community and gets something back.

And this feeling of being-part, of belonging, reaches even further than the rainbow gathering. People make friends and stay connected, contacts are exchanged and future plans are made. One or another person might run into each other at a future gathering. The rainbow family exists worldwide, and once you are part of it, you find friends and like minded people everywhere.

I´m part of this transformation as well. From the shy and self-doubting observer of the first days I become a self-confident and trusting doer. I realize that I´m a rainbow as well, an important part of the community, who has things to contribute. The first days I didn´t even go close to the kitchen, but later I found myself in the role of the kitchen focalizer, taking responsibility and making food for more than a hundred people. I brought in my humble knowledge about bread baking and made delicious bread in a simple and self made clay oven, which was received very well and motivated others to bake as well. I opened up in the talking circle and dared to talk about my feelings and encouraged others to do so as well.

I discovered my own creative potential and built, together with others, a table for the kitchen, learnt different ways to set up tarps and to find unusual solutions to problems. I rediscovered my passion for music and played harmonica with other musicians, tried out drums and didgeridoos and felt the desire to create more beautiful things with my own hands.

I realized the power of love, the power of being human, the importance to listening to others and to connect with them. I realized the healing effects of a simple hug and what joy a smile can bring.

I realized together we are stronger.

I realized that it´s me who makes the difference, who makes the change, in me, in others and in the world. I found I could flourish, beam and I had become a rainbow warrior, with no weapons, but with love.

Too quick this rainbow gathering is over and I find myself back in babylon, where it is more difficult but yet even more important to feel the learnt and experienced, to utilize it and to keep the rainbow shining, but that is a different story to tell.



21 thoughts on “The Rainbow Warriors – How I became a Hippie in New Zealand

  1. So etwas wunderschönes…..!!!! Ich habe, bis eben, nicht gewusst, dass es solche Zusammenkünfte, der “Sternenstaubmenschen” (wie ich sie nenne), bereits gibt… Ich habe in meinen Tagträumen, oft eine Lebensgemeinschaft, in dieser Art, der Regenbogentreffen, vor Augen.. und strebe an, so zu Leben. Ich danke dir, für das Teilen, deiner Eindrücke!

  2. big hugs from india flo! your article brought me to that magical place we build in the bush, thank you for recording it and writing about it. beautiful memories, rainbow energy 🙂

  3. Thank you for your beautiful words and accurate depiction. Can now show this to folks I’m explaining rainbow to. Much love.

  4. WOW! I am speechless. Thanks Florian for sharing! This is absolutely beautiful and makes me really want to experience a full rainbow gathering. I wish I was in the right mindset at the time to experience what you did. Even though I had just a few days it made me rethink a lot in my life and the way you describe everything fits just so perfectly. I know when the time comes, I’ll be ready for my own magical experience and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!! Thanks for sharing, for your love and your honesty!
    much love, kiana

  5. Wow this is so amazing! Well don, love every word. You are very gifted! Hope all is well, it was wonderful to meet you at rainbow!

  6. A blast into what feels like the distant past, but something still so very close to my heart.. I often find myself singing to myself ‘earth my body, water my blood’ in the confines of my room and yearn for that strong sense of community again.. soon i have no doubt … so much love brother ♡ this is beautiful!

  7. Greetings beautiful ones who bless Aotearoa with your presence. I am Kevin the poet from Reilly Street carpark & the River Tribe. I met some of you in Takaka. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful & profound journeys. I never got to the Rainbow Gathering because spirit called me to stay & walk the way of love (as best I can) in Takaka. I remain here writing poetry & staying in contact with the River Tribe. In the depth of winter people still live in the forrest. Again, thank you for this wonderful article. Go well with your brave & necessary journeys. Aroha Kevin Moran (poet)

  8. Dear brother, thank you for the waves of emotions I had while reading.
    The way you capture a moment with your words is magic.
    Have a beautiful safe journey, and I am sure we will meet again 🙂

  9. Brother, thank you so much for your words. They made me go back to that place and feelings. Shivers ran through my whole body and my eyes moistened re-living the nights in the tipi.
    Thank you for bringing me back there.
    Much love

  10. Dear friend… Sweet friend… I love you so… Thank you brother, for reminding me of such inspiration through images and words that capture the essence of a Rainbow Gathering. It was refreshing and incredible to live through both experiences and feel the accuracy of your post. 😌

  11. Thank you so much brother, for your words, for the emotions I feel now, for describing so well Rainbow, for reminding me our beautiful family, for your pictures and for the voices. I love you

  12. Hello sweet family !
    I am searching a girl with who i spend some time in the tipi. I was playing guitard and singing à lot under it. Remember ? I am a girl with Brown hair. When i left the rainbow i told you That you looks exactly the same of my french friend… like à sosie. And i would love to find you and show you the picture of my friend !! All i know from you is That you got “ginger” hair, that you was with your boyfriend and .. you was maybe spanish

    With hope, i love you all

  13. Hello sweet family !
    I am searching a girl with who i spend some time in the tipi. I was playing guitard and singing à lot under it. Remember ? I am a girl with Brown hair. When i left the rainbow i told you That you looks exactly the same of my french friend… like à sosie. And i would love to find you and show you the picture of my friend !! All i know from you is That you got “ginger” hair, that you was with your boyfriend and .. you was maybe spanish

    With hope, i love you all 🙂

  14. This really brought me back to some of the best days in my life in the company of beautiful people with great energy! much love & thank you for documenting the rainbow! now i have photos 🙂

  15. hello brother, lovely to read this article. i was wondering where i can find info on upcoming gatherings in NZ?

  16. Hey man! Really love your article. I will go in NZ soon and I would love to have some rainbow connection there ! Do you know how I can get a contact ?

  17. Wooooooooooooow amazing wonderfull magic so deep touching my heart thank you so much for those words nd pictures.. There is one of me the ginger possum 🙂 Dear brother made me really happy and emotional…the feeling of community love..aww!! It was deffinetly one of the most powerful gatherings in the north island new zealand!! shame i could just stay 3 days at the south island gathering. My visa ended so i had to leave. May all beings be happy; Loka Samastha Sukino Bavanthu <3 <3 <3

  18. Wow man this is so amazing to hear! <3 After luminate 2015 and 2017 i joined the rivertribe! So good that you are still there! Love connection all over the planet <3

  19. Hey ich reise demnächst nach Neuseeland und suche eine Rainbowstation. Ich liebe Rainbow Gatherings. Kannst Du mir Orte oder Personen epfehlen? Ich würde mich sehr freuen und Danke Dir sehr. Herzensgrüße Allexiss

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