Goodbye to the Gathering

Dave Williams, Nelson Mail, 20 July 2002

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A Stardust New Year celebration-cosmic rave on Takaka Hill will step into the space left by the Gathering this New Year's Eve.

The Gathering company was placed into liquidation earlier this week with debts of over $400,000.

The liquidation meant "a sad day for me and many", Gathering organiser Murray Kingi said.

The Stardust event will be held at the old Gathering site at Canaan Downs.

Organiser Janet Marshall said Stardust would never be as big as the Gathering. She hoped to attract about 2000 people to the two-day party.

Ms Marshall said she had already organised three Stardust dance parties at the site.

"It won't take the place of the Gathering, but something needs to go up on the hill."

She said the Gathering had been a wonderful event and it was sad to see it go.

Chartered accountant Richard Ineson was appointed liquidator on Tuesday. Mr Ineson said the Gathering company was put into voluntary liquidation by Mr Kingi, its sole shareholder.

He was preparing a notice to creditors with a summary of the situation.

"We will be assessing the assets, the company situation, be realising the assets and whether we can return anything to the creditors."

Nelson Hirequip was owed money from a previous Gathering. Manager Trevor Tuffnell said he was not surprised by the liquidation, and any money that might come out of it would be a bonus for Hirequip.

"Now there's going to be a gap that somebody can come in and do a dance party. It can be geared down. I still think it's an option."

The Gathering had run into trouble with lower than expected ticket sales, and was also affected by the success of other New Year dance parties.

However, Chubb Security owner-manager Shane Kemp , who said he was owed a five- figure sum by the Gathering, said the liquidation was "excellent" news, despite the slim chances of him getting any money.

Mr Kemp said he would have tried to put the Gathering into liquidation himself 18 months ago, but was persuaded not to by Mr Kingi.

"The Gathering is a good idea and good for the region; it's a pity we have to lose it. But I have no sympathy for Mr Kingi and the management."

Meanwhile, the rival Vision party in Golden Bay has no plans to expand in the Gathering's absence.

It was "steady as she goes", Vision trust member and site coordinator Michael McKenna said. The trust was going through the process of getting resource consents for the event.

"We are trying to stimulate the Tasman District Council that something does have to happen. Golden Bay has got to have an event over the summer period."

A fundraising event for Vision will be held at the Wholemeal Cafe in Takaka this weekend.


Caption: Murray Kingi,

Dave Williams, Nelson Mail, 20 July 2002

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