He aha te mea nui o te ao? Māku e kī atu.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world? I will tell you it is people… it is people… it is people…

Loneliness. 

An unspoken struggle that’s come to define our postmodern existence.

A silent cause of addiction, escapism, depression, suicide — it contributes to just about every physical and mental health problem humans suffer from.

Technology has made incredible advances in our quality of life, yet it’s also made it possible for us to be more independent, and more separate.

We don’t ask our friends for a ride to the airport, because we can Uber.

We don’t stay in relationships when they get hard, we just open an app and find someone else — we think the problem was compatibility, but we forget that it’s also our capacity to love and connect with people, even when they don’t do what we want.

We don’t borrow things from our neighbours — we become completely self contained. Modern culture has successfully externalized and commercialized almost every aspect of life, but at what cost?

A lack of connection costs us our people skills.

We run from difficult conversations, we don’t ask for what we want, and we have a reactive and immature relationship with boundaries.

Our intimacy muscle is weak.

Fortunately, hope is not lost ♥️

There’s a gym called “courage”, and when you get a membership, you join a group of people who have decided that life is too hard when you’re unable to love and be loved.

That’s why we do IntimacyFest.
This year it’s coming to Aotearoa, New Zealand.

In Māori culture, Whanaungatanga is close relationship, kinship, or
the sense of family connection.

Whanaungatanga relationships are characterised by respect, aroha
(love), and care for each other and the whenua (land).

At IntimacyFest we’ll build whanaungatanga through shared
experiences, reciprocity and mutual support – looking out for one
another and contributing to the well-being of the group as we learn
and flex our intimacy muscles.

It’s a chance for us to get together and be in relationship as we
learn — we don’t just teach people skills on a chalkboard — we’re a
hands-on institution. We learn from each other and we help each
other grow.

In fact, IntimacyFest operates much like a pop-up community, and
since it’s a small event (50 people), no one gets left behind.

All you need is courage, we’ll do the rest together.

What To Expect

  • Gain real, applicable tools to deepen the connection in all your relationships.
  • Safely lean into your edges of self-expression, vulnerability and honesty.
  • Experience being seen, felt, and known like never before — and witness others as they receive that gift from you.
  • Experience three full days of well-facilitated practices, games and workshops.
  • Meet new friends who share your values of openness and authenticity.
  • Get feedback about your blind spots by receiving caring and honest reflections from other people.
  • Get plenty of personal time to recharge and enjoy the beautiful land & surrounding nature.
  • Allow yourself to drop your armour, walls and masks so you can experience being fully yourself.
  • Get the chance to express yourself and be seen in your creative greatness at our Talent Show.
  • Allow yourself to feel good in your own skin, and learn to trust your body’s wisdom and your authentic desires.
  • Become a part of a community of dear friends, chosen family, and allies who support who you want to be.
  • Have a lot of fun!

Location

Shakespear Lodge, Whangaparāoa, New Zealand

Internet & Phone Usage

We don’t have any specific phone usage policy, other than not taking pictures of people without their permission.

In our five years, we haven’t had to make any policies about phone usage, because we’ve found that when people have other things to do that are more fun and engaging than their phone, they limit phone usage naturally.


Food

There will be six meals (and mid-day snacks), all are included in the price.

Tickets

IntimacyFest 2024 will be held Oct 25-28 in Whangaparāoa, New Zealand.

Tickets include all meals.

Lower Income Ticket: $650
Regular Price: $750
Pay it Forward: $850
Last Minute Lizzy Tickets: $850

If you’d like to see our budget from previous years, it’s public and can be viewed here.

Schedule

Thursday
4-6pm—Guests Arrive
6pm—Dinner
7:30-9:30pm—Welcome & Connection Games

Friday
8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
10-11am—Brunch
11am-1pm—Morning Workshop
1-3pm—Personal Time & Snack
3-6pm—Afternoon Workshop
6-7pm—Dinner
7-10pm—Cuddle & Connection Party

Saturday
8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
10-11am—Brunch
11am-1pm—Morning Workshop
1-3pm—Personal Time & Snack
3-6pm—Afternoon Workshop
6-7pm—Dinner
7-10pm—Talent Show

Sunday
8-9am—Wake Up & Personal Time
9-10am—Morning Movement
10-11am—Brunch
11-1pm—Closing Circle

Pictures & Moments

Meet Some Past Participants


I frequently have friends ask me where to get started on their journey thru emotional/sexual/intimacy development & self-growth. This festival is so powerful, thoughtful, and created by people with intentions and heart in the right place. I’ll be there again this year. Can’t recommend it enough!

— Christina M. Host, T&A Talk Sex Podcast


I accessed superpowers I didn’t know I had. I healed wounds I didn’t know I had. I fell in love with so many of you.

I am grateful for it all.

— Kenny B., San Diego, California


I am humbled by the incredible courage, generosity and capacity for love in our IntimacyFest Family.

Thank you for seeing me, thank you for your radiant smiles, your kind words, your passion and incredible role modeling of authenticity and responsible clear communication.

— Melanie B.


I feel full of love and life. Meeting you so totally in the raw is changing the direction of my entire life. An amazing life. Thank you for guiding me closer to myself. I look forward being in your radiance and presence soon.

— Buster R., Gothenburg, Sweden


I’m still smiling. Thank you all for making my world such a beautiful place.

— Sarah W.


My heart got stretched, twisted and expanded in one amazing weekend.

After leaving the last festival disillusioned and disappointed at the lack of true human connection… this tiny event was exactly what head wanted and my heart needed.

Each day there were only two hours where you weren’t testing yourself and others to be as brutally honest and loving as humanly possible. At times it was uncomfortable, awkward and downright scary for a man like myself, but at the end I emerged a much better person.

35 people attended. I made 34 friends I’ll recognize by name next year from all over the world. The level of love, honesty, consideration, negotiation and consent was unprecedented.

Even Burning Man needs to see this level of radical inclusion.

The people were from all ages and walks of life. Incredible people who had so many amazing things to share. From the organizers, the teachers and each and every individual… each person contributed greatly. Seriously amazing.

— Adam C.


The Hosts

Hi I’m Ellie Wilde, and I’m an intimacy geek. Truth is I was struggling so hard in the area of intimacy and relating that I decided I needed some help. This took me to many weird and whacky, but also interesting places. I learnt that sometimes my truth will piss others off and that’s ok. I learnt that boundaries are an act of self love, amongst other things I discovered the more I can reveal myself the closer I will feel to others. I still sometimes find myself running away from the intimacy I want but these days I usually catch it, and if I can, I lean in. I’m a mother, a Somatic therapist and Nervous System Coach most mornings you’ll find me wandering the beach with my golden retriever Luna.


I’m Janet. An entrepreneur and creative, love all things connecting. I’m theco-founder of homegrownprimalnz which is a company that promotes the ancestral principles which I lean into daily. These principles shape my life and my expression in it. I regularly blog and podcast about ancestral living. Connection with the land, and people is my main focus this year and intimacy fest is a festival that will tick these boxes for me!! I love to get outside on the water or in the bush or mountains and feel life in all its fragrances. I’m looking forward to sharing this time together and extending my tribe!


I’m Jil, a therapist, a facilitator, a mother and a lover. I dance between the scientific and the spiritual, the mainstream and the mystical. I bring my deep love for ritual and ceremony to integrate with somatic psychology, process work
and embodied counseling – supporting people in feeling more ease, safety, aliveness, and fulfillment in their bodies, relationships and lives. As a therapist, I support clients with a mind and body-based approach to mental and physical
health, trauma recovery, and emotional well-being. As a facilitator, I love to weave brave spaces for the exploration of pleasure, connection, and intimacy. As a mother and a lover, I believe deeply in love. Over and over I’ve experienced the power of love to heal, to bridge, to connect and to awaken. And my belief in the restorative power of love is my ‘why’ for being part of IntimacyFest Aoteraoa. I’m so excited to bring my lived experience to dance with yours as we live, work and play together for four days of building incredible intimacy.

Guest Facilitator

Dave Booda is a writer, musician and social entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of IntimacyFest and hosts The Darkness Experiment. He has led over 400 workshops on connection, touch and relationships and has consulted for and facilitated experiences for companies, communities, retreats, festivals, conferences, birthday parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings of all kinds — with the intention to inspire authenticity, connection and group cohesion. He has published over 200 essays for boodaism.com and played over 1000 shows as a touring singer/songwriter. He is a former Naval Officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, currently serving on the board of directors for the Foundation for Intentional Community while touring and living at different intentional communities in North America.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I be attending with a partner? Is this for couples?

Not necessarily. We typically have about half and half couples and singles. While attending IntimacyFest with a partner would be brilliant, it is by no means necessary. There will be many people there who are flying solo, in fact attending alone often gives you the chance to meet and connect with more people.

2. What if I don’t know anyone going? Is that okay?

Lots of people come to IntimacyFest not knowing anyone. Because IntimacyFest is a small festival (typically between 40-50 people) everyone gets to know each other very quickly. In many ways, this is a perfect festival to go to if you don’t know anyone, because the exercises and games are designed to create group cohesion and bonding.

3. Will there be nudity?

Our land is very private, and people are welcome to be naked if they’d like. Often we have a handful of people who enjoy being naked, but it’s not an event where that is particularly endorsed or seen as a goal.

4. Is intimacy about sex?

We use the word “intimacy” to describe a simple feeling of closeness, which can include sexual energy, but can also be very easily limited by it.

In the past we’ve experimented with different levels of emphasis on sexuality, including having a dedicated tent for it, and also a facilitated play party. We no longer host a play party, or have any designated areas for sex — however you are welcome to enjoy whatever you would like in the privacy of your tent or room.

None of the exercises or events will involve any sex acts or intentional sexual energy. Please feel free to email Dave if you have any further questions or would like more clarification.

5. Does this festival promote polyamory or open relationships?

No, this is a festival for people in all relationship styles.

6. What time does it start on Thursday? When does it end Sunday?

Guests arrive between 4-6pm, and our first event is a group meal at 6:30pm. On Monday we do a closing circle right after brunch, and typically we’re done around 1pm.

7. Can I come for 1 day?

No, all of our guests arrive Friday afternoon and stay until Monday, there are no one or two day passes. We start together, and we finish together.

8. Is IntimacyFest LGBTQ friendly?

Yes, we have people of all kinds of sexual orientations and gender expressions. The exercises and workshops aren’t based on gender or designed in a hetero-normative way. We start from a place of humans relating with humans.

9. Are kids allowed?

No, we love kids but this is an adult-only event.

10. What is your return policy?

Life happens, we understand. You may get a full refund up to one week before the event.

Got another question?

Send Dave an email: davebooda@gmail.com

To join the mailing list to be notified of the latest news and updates.

Kurt Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope:

“Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babies. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And I’ll ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is – we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it’s like we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”

(from the book “Man Without A Country” by Kurt Vonnegut)