Te Ramaroa celebrates the collaborative nature of art, science and technology, and most of all, the alluring ability of light to illuminate and transform, and to make a winter night a whole lot more magical!
We love how the community shapes the spirit of Te Ramaroa. Remember that most of the installations are made by folk from the community – school teachers, chocolate makers, scientists, distillers, electricians and the like, so although there are some professional artists in the mix, most works were created in people’s spare time, in their lounge room, and with an unlimited amount of passion and commitment (and endless patience and encouragement from their family and friends!).
And ever since its first inception in 2013, at every event, there was an incredibly strong sense of community: rugged out in their winter woolens, people wandered through the illuminated gardens, marveling at the mesmerising installations, and gathered around braziers and food stalls to have a chat, swap favourites and must-sees, meet the roving entertainers, and a enjoy a tasty treat.
We look forward to doing it all again this year - with dazzling installations placed all over town!
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 on our community, we had to postpone our 2020 event. While the decision to postpone was a necessity, it was still a difficult one to make knowing that it will be a huge disappointment to everyone involved.
Light Nelson returns in July 2021 as Te Ramaroa. This new name reflects the concept of a beacon - honouring the past, celebrating the present and holding a light to a bright and positive future. We could not think of a more fitting name for the joy and light our festival brings!
With the new name comes a fresh creative direction: we are excited to be expanding over a wider footprint with a trail of carefully selected installations placed around central Nelson Whakatū, NMIT,Cathedral Hill and various laneways, as well as one major work in the Queens Gardens.
But why leave the Queen's Gardens, you may wonder?
Since the event's inception in 2013, we have seen phenomenal growth in attendance and participation, with the first event attracting 16,000 people and increasing to more than 40,000 people attending in 2018. Managing these large crowds has become increasingly challenging, and one of the planning priorities since 2018 has been to address how the event can be reshaped for the future, to ensure it remains enjoyable and safe for everyone, as well as sustainable to deliver.
We are excited about this new direction for Te Ramaroa, with the extended precincts creating so many opportunities for transforming our city.