The Nomadic Women of New Zealand's Biggest Traveling Fair
Photos by Kina Sai


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The Nomadic Women of New Zealand's Biggest Traveling Fair

They spend eight months of the year traveling around the country in trucks and caravans, having a riotously good time.

Made up mostly of women and their children, the members of The Gypsy Extravaganza stop for three to four days to sell their wares, then pack up their mobile village made up of elaborately decorated house-trucks and caravans. When Broadly visited they were stationed in Raglan, a coastal surf town about 70 miles from the city of Auckland. It was the last day before they set off for equally green pastures elsewhere.


The fair was founded by Melanie "Mels" Berg (above) and her husband.

Hipsy (above) travels with her daughters, and a granddaughter who is six years younger than her youngest daughter. The weeks in between fairs are hectic with travel and re-stocking, she says. The four months downtime in the season are for catching up with family and friends.

Serena "C" (above) travels with her four daughters. She built the extension on her truck as a bedroom for Harlequin, her eldest. She is married but her husband has his "dream job" at home, so he told her to go. She found a young man to drive the truck and off she went.

Ange (above) makes fire poi. Her parents traveled around, too: "It's in my blood."

Kathleena (above) does tarot. She used to have a partner and they started out together in the fair together, but he left after some years. She stayed. She shows me some things salvaged by a friend who dives, including salt and pepper shakers (below) from the Wahine, one of the worst marine disasters in NZ history.

"Tipsy" (above), does oils, herbal remedies and tarot inside her caravan. She has a placid puppy called Rune.

Kat (above) tells me she's "pissed", but she is the most gracious slightly-drunk person I've met for a long time. She runs the pedal-powered merry go round and her legs are pure muscle. She joined the fair because of her friend (and the fair's founder) Mels Berg. Mel and her husband invited her to join, so she did.