East Coast News & Events

The Shepherdess Muster 2024 - Mōtū, Te Tairāwhiti (Gisborne District), East Coast

The Shepherdess Muster 2024 - Mōtū, Te Tairāwhiti (Gisborne District), East Coast

Friday 16 February - Sunday 18 February 2024

Women are gathering from across provincial Aotearoa for a weekend-long festival that's just for you. A chance to get away from it all, with friends old and new.

A place to connect, celebrate and create. To escape the demands of family life. To embrace out-of-the-box experiences in a rural setting, and head home more resilient and enthused, with a stash of new tools in the toolbox.

Intended to become an annual event, the North Island will play host to the inaugural Shepherdess Muster, held in Motu , Te Tairāwhiti, from 16-18 February 2024. 


Motu School is playing host to The Shepherdess Muster in 2024.

Motu is a small village in Tairāwhiti, 10km north of Matawai, about halfway between Gisborne and Ōpotiki.  The community is centred around Motu River and Motu Falls.

Ticket & Accommodation Information

Limited-release tickets will be on sale from the 5th of September.

All tickets include: six meals (as well as suppers, morning tea and afternoon tea) from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch, guest speakers, workshops, a camping site (BYO tent etc.), and a refreshment on arrival. If you'd rather let us sort your accommodation, we're offering twin share tented accommodation at cost price.

Check out the FAQs on The Muster website for more details on tickets, accommodation, and general festival info.

If you have any questions about tickets or accommodation please contact Ticketing Co-ordinator Christina by sending an email.

The Shepherdess Muster is presented by Shepherdess.

What is The Shepherdess Muster all about? A question we're often asked! ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

One of the main aims of The Shepherdess Muster is to give women the chance to get away from it all, literally and figuratively, and concentrate on themselves for three days. All too often, women's needs are forgotten or swept to the side. Personal development, self-care, and chats about mental health and sexuality can be limited.

With a relaxing retreat feel and a festival vibe, The Muster is designed to give women the chance to have a go at something they don’t usually have time for like using their hands to create, sitting in on a business panel discussion, getting a massage, or simply enjoying having delicious meals prepared for them each day.

The programme works like a menu of activities. Attendees can pick and choose from a selection of workshops, speakers, beauty therapists and health services that they would like to attend each day, and everyone comes together multiple times during the day and night for meals, drinks, comedy and live music.

Vicki Crosswell East Coast Rural Support Trust, Area Coordinator for the Gisborne/Tairāwhiti region had this to say about the upcoming event:

  • "It's important that an event like The Muster exists to give women the opportunity to reset, refocus and take time out for themselves - we're only human and what we do each as minor as it may sometimes seem, does make a difference!"
  • "Rural women are facing many challenges right now, from isolation to learning to adapt and compromise on what was once their normal . We have to take each day as it comes, continually reminding ourselves and those around us that we're doing the best we can."
  • "What I'm most looking forward to, is gettng together with amazing wāhine from all around the country, enjoying the remote nature of the event in an idyllic setting."

Check out the website for more information, including the full festival programme.

The Shepherdess Muster is a not-for-profit event led by Shepherdess, a social enterprise with the mission of making rural folk feel connected through community building, storytelling, and events.

The event is being planned by a core project team, with a volunteer Committee providing guidance and advice, and comprising women from Te Tairāwhiti, across the community, agriculture and Māori agribusiness sectors, and representatives from outside the region.

The Rural Support Trust is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of The Shepherdess Muster 2024 Event

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