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2021 line-up coming soon

Previous lineup: 2020

School Strike 4 Climate

Key organisers of the nation-wide school strikes will be at the camp to talk about how they did it and what is coming next. 

Tina Ngata – Decolonisation

Tina Ngata (Ngāti Porou) is an advocate for sustainability and indigenous rights, a researcher, teacher, activist and writer (thenonplasticmaori).  

Russel Norman – How Change Happens

Russel Norman has been the Executive Director of Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand since November 2015. Before this he was a Member of the New Zealand Parliament and Co-leader of the Green Party from 2008-2015. 

Leah Bell – Remembering the NZ Wars

Leah Bell is a co-signatory to the successful 2015 Petition to Parliament seeking a statutory commemoration day for the NZ Wars, spear-headed by Ōtorohanga College students.  Leah and her peers have advocated for this pivotal history to be included in the New Zealand school curriculum, which  will be rolled  out in schools in 2022. Leah will talk about why they did it, how they did, what obstacles they had to overcome and the lessons they have learned. 

Dean Baigent-Mercer – a history of the natural world of Aotearoa: politics, tragedy, and hopefulness.

Dean is a conservation advocate for Forest and Bird, an activist, writer and researcher. 

Nicky Hager – Research and Writing for Change

Nicky Hager is an investigative journalist and writer, and will be talking about research and writing as a way to expose wrongs and create change. He’s also an experienced tramper, and will be one of the outdoor trip leaders on a tramp up into the mountains. 

Evelyn Marsters and Thomas Nash – The New Zealand Alternative

Evelyn Marsters and Thomas Nash are co-directors of New Zealand Alternative, an independent organisation working to promote a progressive role for Aotearoa New Zealand in the world. Come and join them for a breakfast session to talk about the role our South Pacific nation should be playing in the world.

Mike Joy – River Ecology Walk

Renowned water scientist Mike Joy will will lead a trip to the Ōtaki Forks to explore the river ecology and discuss water issues in Aotearoa. 

Ben Peterson – Unions

 Ben Peterson will speak at Ōtaki Summer Camp about the campaign for living wages for people working in the retail sector — and about how working people come together to change the world, both historically and today. He will describe the way trade unions work and why are they an important pillar of progressive politics.  Ben currently works as an organiser supporting retail workers at FIRST Union, and is the co-convener of Unions Wellington. He has also worked with fast food workers at Unite Union, and briefly for the Public Service Association. Before moving to Aotearoa he was an activist for refugee rights and in the climate movement.

Debra Ashton – SAFE

SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) is a remarkably effective organisation. Year after year they choose new and very specific targets: rules around chicken mistreatment, pig crates, lobbying hotel chains stop using inhumane eggs… and often win. They are creating real change. Debra Ashton, who heads the SAFE Wellington office, will be at Ōtaki Summer Camp to talk about how they do it.

2020 entertainment 


WAI.TAI is a Maori-World Fusion band with unique, contemporary and original music from right here in Aotearoa. The band merges it with music from all over the world and seamlessly infuses it with Te Reo Maori language. The results can be in one moment contemplative, and the next upbeat with driving rhythms. WAI.TAI is into conscientious, environmental and social advocacy from an indigenous perspective and loves to share with diverse-friendly audiences because “we want to spread the good stuff everywhere!”


Orangefarm are an indie rock band from Wellington. They pair ‘cinematic’ lyrics and dreamy harmonies with amazing instrumentation, where “deceptively low-key music is a framework for complicated emotions and some cosmic ideas”.  Orangefarm are:Nigel Mitchell (vocals, guitar) Vivien Reid (French horn, keyboard, vocals) Karen Apperley, (drums) and Celia McAlpine (bass, vocals). 

Glenn Colquhoun

Glenn Colquhoun is a doctor, youth worker, poet and award-winning writer living on the Kāpiti Coast. He’ll be reading poetry and speaking at the camp.