Luminate’s purpose is to co-create a thriving festival of music, arts and inspiration, activating positive change beneficial to the ecology.

Luminate’s vision is heart-centred community flourishing in resonance with nature.

Luminate’s Culture is earth-friendly consciousness, innovation, participation, co-creation, self-responsibility, respect, compassionate communication, integrity, unity in diversity, knowledge sharing, music, arts & creativity, sacred geometry of nature, holistic health, celebration and aroha/love.


Our culture encompasses our values, how we do things, what is most important to us, what we feel most aligned with, and the guiding principles that help Luminate achieve its purpose and vision.
The well-defined culture of Luminate, which has evolved in depth and refined in clarity over the years, has always remained true to the fundamental principles that we began with in the creation of Luminate’s first festival in 2008. The resonance that participants feel with Luminate’s purpose, vision and culture has led to a growing international reputation for the festival, especially within the transformational festival community worldwide.


Luminate’s environmental consciousness is fundamental to the ethos of the festival.

Innovative strategies to reduce waste and generate net positive effects for the ecology have been in place since the co-creation of Luminate in 2008. Thousands of participants have engaged with these strategies over the years and we regularly hear of events locally, nationally and worldwide that have taken inspiration from how Luminate approaches ecological consciousness.

In 2018 Luminate was nominated as one of the top five finalists for “Outstanding Green Event” in the international FestX Awards

This was a significant achievement considering the huge number of events globally. We feel grateful for this acknowledgement of the innovative ecological strategies that are fundamental to Luminate.


Luminate has created this 2min eco-video for you to showcase it’s eco-initiatives >>>



Luminate invites all participants (all people who attend the festival including ticket buyers, supporters, volunteers, music artists, workshop presenters, healers, market traders, crew and suppliers) to engage with strategies that result in effective waste minimization.

A core principle is the educational aspect whereby all participants are required to take self-responsibility for any rubbish or recycling that they may generate.

As the festival itself produces very little waste, participants really get to see how their own personal choices can make a huge difference in reducing the potential for waste to be generated in the first place. The crucial factor is that each individual has a significant role to play in helping to create a clean environment and a thriving ecology

Bring your own containers

  • Participants either need to bring their own plates, cups & cutlery for the cafes, and a dishwashing area is provided for convenience, or
  • Participants can hire ceramic plates & cups and cutlery from Luminate’s Eco-dishwash & sterilisation facility.
  • Bring your own water bottle/container to refill from water supply points on site.

No rubbish bins or recycling on site

  • There are no rubbish or recycling bins at Luminate.
  • All festival participants are required to take responsibility for any rubbish or recycling that they generate, to pack out what they bring and to leave no trace – this extends to everyone on site.
  • Packaging can be reduced at source with conscious product buying before the festival.
  • Participants are advised to avoid bringing unnecessary packaging or disposables.
  • Luminate has a range of cafes and food vendors engaged to provide a wide range of organic nutrient dense food and drinks at very reasonable prices. Using these cafes reduces the need to bring lots of packaged food and greatly minimises the creation of rubbish.
  • Directions to local recycling and refuse centres are listed in the Festival Guide booklet provided at Luminate Festival and published on the website.
  • All recyclable materials need to be washed and sorted to be accepted at the recycle centres
  • Rubbish needs to be taken to a refuse centre in a TDC (local council) approved rubbish bag which can be bought at local supermarkets and visitor centres.
  • To maintain a clean environment at the event, carry a container for cigarette butts, avoid using glitter or other products that can end up as litter, and if you see any micro rubbish pick it up and take it with you.
  • Market Traders are not permitted to sell any single-use products or items in packaging.
  • Luminate is a non-alcohol event which avoids the creation of rubbish & recycling.


Energy Efficiency

Luminate seeks to maximise energy efficiency from natural sources, and to utilise highly functional, low-tech solutions where possible.
  • Solar hot water heating for the showers, using coils of black water pipe in the sun which generates a constant supply of hot water while the sun is out.
  • Rocket-stove (very efficient wood burning) water heaters for cafes & dishwashing facilities and some showers.
  • Natural gas hobs used for cooking rather than electricity.
  • Solar power is used where possible, currently on a small scale.
  • Solar powered lighting used for composting toilets.
  • LED low energy lighting used in all music zones.
  • Rechargeable batteries for torches and equipment used by the Crew.
  • Firewood is sourced from waste from sawmills and slash from forestry.
  • Wood-fired earth oven for Pizza Café.
  • Open fires for warming people at night by some zones of the festival.


Luminate’s transport initiatives stretch from pre-festival delivery scheduling and lift sharing to vehicle restrictions on site and a second-hand bicycle pool for crew use.
  • participants are encouraged to car pool
  • crew collaborate to combine transport trips
  • all deliveries to site are combined by pooling transport
  • any single runs are done on smaller vehicles
  • crew carpool to and from site
  • large containers remain on site to reduce volume of transport for set up/pack down
  • vehicles are not permitted in the festival site
  • a large second hand bicycle pool provides crew and volunteers on site transport

Local Carbon offsetting

Luminate believes in putting emphasis on localising carbon offsetting.
  • As a member of the Canaan Collective, we have co-created land management protocols to help regenerate the native forest, manage grazing animals, protect young seedlings and plant trees where possible.




Most aspects of the festival are organised and run in-house by more than 100 crew and over 600 volunteers in alignment with Luminate’s purpose, vision & culture.

We have successfully achieved this by establishing a large and dedicated team of zone coordinators & support crew (the Luminate Flotilla), who work alongside the management team and directors (Flotilla Hub) to collaboratively co-create and manifest a multi-faceted arts, cultural and educational festival in a beautiful natural mountain environment. 


This means organising everything required to facilitate up to 5000 people coming together as intentional community for 8 days in a fairly remote location, along with providing an extensive and inspiring schedule of music, workshops, performing arts, holistic health and many other features.


The Luminate Flotilla work together to provide the festival community with a wide range of infrastructure & amenities, medical, security, fire safety, traffic management, information, admission systems, art & decor, ceremonies, 5 music zones, 5 workshop marquees, healing hub, circus space, village market, a visual media team of photographers & videographers, sound & lighting & vj teams, artist liaison, cashiers, electricity, plumbing, composting toilets, solar showers and lots more. 


Plus we run a coffee shop and 5 organic vegetarian cafes to provide high quality nutrient dense food & refreshments, which are also fundraisers for Luminate.

All of these aspects of Luminate require large teams of volunteers to help the festival to run smoothly and efficiently during the 8 days, as well as the set-up and pack-up of the event. 

Volunteering is a meaningful way to help co-create and participate in this transformational festival, and there are many roles available requiring a broad range of skills and experience along with some roles that require specific qualifications and experience.

For 2019 Luminate recruited over 600 volunteers, so there are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved.

Taking care of all these requirements ourselves means that we can co-create a cohesive and harmonious festival, whereby the wide range of zones, services & features are integrated, resonant and in alignment with Luminate’s culture. This approach reverses entropy and welcomes synergy and balance. 

Our hope is that by all of us working and co-creating together in this way, not only do we achieve Luminate’s purpose, but we also help to manifest Luminate’s vision of heart-centred community flourishing in resonance with nature.


Luminate Trust & Canaan Collective members invest in the land for long-term community benefit and protection of the natural ecosystem.

The Canaan Downs Collective formed in 2011, founded by Directors Jules Harper, Rita Davies and Mark Carswell. Members of the Canaan Collective raised sufficient funds to purchase the land, becoming responsible kaitiaki-guardians of this beautiful space. This project is an example of cooperative land ownership, sustainable land management, community participation and innovative environmental initiatives.

The aims and objectives of the Canaan Downs Collective include:

    1. Manage the land in an environmentally and financially sustainable manner.
    2. Assist regeneration of the existing Beech forest, re-establish native trees, protect and enhance the biodiversity of the native flora and fauna, and provide a sanctuary for at-risk endemic species.
    3.  Ensure that Canaan Downs remains available and accessible to our communities for future generations for visitor access, events and activities in keeping with the nature of the environment and the values of Canaan Downs Collective.
    4. Develop organic food producing initiatives, such as establishing fruit and nut trees and food gardens.
    5. Encourage and support the continuation and sustainability of events on the land which attract significant visitors to the region and have benefits to the wider community.

Canaan Downs covers 200 acres, with approximately half in native beech forest and half in open grassland. The geomorphology includes karst (limestone) features, deep caves and marble/quartz outcrops. The land contains some of the oldest rock formations in New Zealand, and sits at around 750m elevation in the Pikikirunga mountain range.

Canaan Downs is one of New Zealand’s most iconic, natural outdoor venues, and has a rich history of music events from the mid 1990s to present times. The land also featured as one of The Hobbit film locations, with several sites featuring in the Hobbit trilogy.

Currently there are close to 40 members of the Canaan Collective, comprising of people from the local Nelson-Tasman region and throughout New Zealand, and Luminate Festival Trust is also a key member.

Luminate Workshops


Conscious Food is a key part of Luminate’s culture to ensure that participants can access the best organic, nutrient-dense fuel to keep at full power and optimum health.

Luminate’s Cafes

Luminate chooses to run 5 cafes at the festival (Kai Organic, Superfood Cafe, Earth Oven Pizza, Chillounge Café, E-Zone Café) plus a coffee outlet (Canaan Coffee). Luminate menus are designed to be nutrient-dense, packed with superfoods, and offer options for people on various diet paths.
  • all outlets offer vegetarian and vegan options
  • ketogenic, paleo-friendly, grain-free, raw and gluten-free options are available
  • a focus is put on conscious eating education
  • organic produce is sourced locally and from New Zealand where possible
  • preferred suppliers are small sustainable (ideally local) producers
  • all eggs are organic, free range and locally sourced
  • milk is organic and locally sourced
  • local cheese is used as priority
  • bulk foods are organic and from ethical suppliers
  • no trans fats, additives or preservatives
  • all cooking oil is organic coconut oil and organic New Zealand butter

Market Food Vendors

  • market vendors are encouraged to be at least 75% organic
  • all food stalls are vegetarian or vegan and eggs must be free-range
  • food vendor guidelines state no GMOs, additives, preservatives, trans fats
  • raw, vegan and gluten free options are available throughout the festival.


Luminate’s design of thermophilic, aerobic compost toilets, plus composting food leftovers, builds soil to complete the nutrient cycle.
  • We have created specially designed hand-built composting toilets so that all toilets at Luminate have a net positive result instead of creating a waste product. They avoid the many problems that chemical porta-loos create.
  • Organic matter (grass mowed from the event site) is added to the humanure to form a thermophilic compost system which creates optimum pathogen breakdown.
  • The toilets and thermophilic composing solution complete the loop, creating much needed nutrients for the land.
  • Inbuilt pee-separators result in no black-water being produced.
  • Men’s urinals also help with collecting the urine separately, and we look forward to introducing female urinals at the next festival.
  • Sawdust is used to cover the solids in the toilets. The sawdust is sourced from local timber mills, turning an industry waste by-product into a useful resource.
  • The toilets are built entirely from recycled and natural materials.
  • The toilet paper we source is made from unbleached recycled paper.
  • Transportation costs and carbon footprints are reduced, as the toilets and compost remain on site.
  • Shift Happens – We recommend reading The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins for detailed information on composting toilets, especially if you need to take a shift 😉
  • All food scraps from the market and cafes are composted, and Participants are invited to put personal food scraps in the compost enclosure.
  • The compost resources can be used to grow food and trees on the land.


The water on site at Canaan Downs comes from natural spring sources in the mountains, well above any farming or other human interference. This is living water, and arguably some of the purest water in New Zealand.

Drinking Water

  • The spring water on site is living water and is not treated in any way.
  • The spring water is tested by the Cawthron Institute in Nelson.
  • Water is also supplied in a water tanker from a local potable source.
  • Participants are requested to conserve water at all times.
  • No plastic bottles of water are sold on site.
  • Participant guidelines include “bring your own water or container”.
  • Participants are requested to avoid using any soaps or products in the nearby stream.


  • Innovative and effective water management systems are used to naturally filter greywater from the food outlets and showers in a safe and hygienic manner.
  • All food outlets are vegetarian or vegan, so the cafes are not creating black-water (which occurs with meat products), and the greywater is filtered to remove solids.
  • Urine separation in the compost toilets also avoids significant amounts of black-water as contamination with the solids is avoided.
  • Guidelines for all participants include using only biodegradable shower & dishwashing products.
  • Luminate supplies biodegradable, eco-friendly products for use in the showers, toilets/handwashing and dishwashing.


Luminate supports local food growers & local businesses where possible, providing a range of opportunities and benefits for the local community.
  • Luminate works with local food growers in the community to plan and provide fresh ingredients on a large scale for the festival-run cafes .
  • Local businesses are chosen where possible to supply the festival-run cafes with a wide range of food and ingredients.
  • The services of local businesses are utilised as much as possible depending on needs.
  • Developing connections with local businesses creates mutual beneficial support.
  • Luminate provides a special local business pass option for employees who can only attend the festival for 3 days or less due to work commitments.
  • A wide range of local businesses advertise in the festival brochure.
  • Many crew and volunteers live locally and benefit in many ways from helping to co-create the festival.
  • Luminate has created supportive relationships with Fire & Emergency New Zealand, local Police in Motueka and Takaka, representatives from TDC and from DOC, along with various community and non-profit organisations such as Whenua Iti Outdoors, Anahata, Golden Bay Sustainable Living Centre.
  • Luminate has invested in training for local crew members such as Zenergy (facilitation and group work), Security training, Eco-reporting and Compassionate Communication training.
  • Luminate attracts over 3000 people to the Nelson-Tasman region which has significant benefits for the local economy.


Infrastructure, décor, furnishings & amenities are created by re-purposing second-hand resources and from natural materials sourced locally.

Reusing resources

  • Infrastructure, art and décor are created using re-cycled materials and by re-using, re-purposing and up-cycling resources.
  • Natural materials are used for building and décor where possible, including recycled and sustainably milled timber, local bamboo & flax etc.
  • Décor, furniture, equipment, materials and appliances are bought second hand, repaired if needed, up-cycled and reused as often as possible.
  • Single-use items are avoided and creative solutions adopted.
  • Luminate chooses to avoid buying new wherever possible, and prefers to re-purpose existing resources, to help preserve the ecology and minimize resources ending up in landfill.

Earth friendly marketing 

  • T-shirts are bought second hand and screenprinted with the festival logo
  • participants can bring their own clothes to be screenprinted at the festival
  • printing of booklet, posters & fliers is eco paper with veggetable (non-gmo soy) inks
  • printing of promo material is kept to a minimum and online promotion is favoured
  • envelopes & packaging are re-used
  • ink cartridges for office printers are refilled
  • eco-paper is used in the office
  • all redundant paper is recycled or composted
  • stationary materials are re used, reclaimed or up-cycled where possible.


All participants at Luminate are invited to engage with a range of strategies that help to manifest the reality of living in resonance with nature. Luminate demonstrates how our own personal choices can make a huge difference, and each individual has a significant role to play in helping to create a clean environment and a thriving ecology.


  • more awareness about packaging, re-using resources, avoiding generating waste at source.
  • increased consciousness around rubbish and waste minimisation
  • generation of compost for use in planting projects
  • completing the nutrient cycle, creating a resource
  • festival site stays clean and tidy throughout the event
  • avoiding significant amount of waste going to landfill
  • providing best practices in conscious event management


  • clear communication of common values and ethos
  • education for festival participants
  • individual responsibility and self-reliance
  • reduce generation of waste at all sources
  • strategies permeate all strands of the festival
  • “net positive” impacts rather than only “sustainable” impacts
  • creates a legacy of empowerment and inspiration

Learning skills of self-reliance, growing food, alternative health techniques, natural & traditional building methods, composting, minimising waste & maximising use of resources, practicing compassionate communication, taking time for personal development, and utilising the therapeutic benefits of music and creative arts, are all opportunities available at Luminate, and valuable assets which individuals can share to help co-create resilient communities.

If we wish to see an ecology in balance, thriving and healthy, then we must make decisions and take actions to support this.

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