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About Rongo

Rongo Backpackers & Gallery grew out of a desire to build a centre for artistic excellence and a place for artistic and creative people to meet and share their knowledge, abilities and talents for mutual benefit – The Living In Peace Project.

Rongo, which means “Peace” in Maori, was formally the Karamea maternity hospital. The building was purchased in June 2004 and converted into a backpackers hostel and gallery space. The backpackers and associated motel business (Karamea Farm Baches) provide accommodation for visitors to Karamea, trampers, mountain bikes, travellers and holiday-makers from all over the world.

Rongo is now a world-class hostel that has hosted visitors from over sixty countries. People come from all over the world to experience the vibrancy of the hostel and spend time with the friendly people, share in the creativity and fun and get involved in the daily life of real New Zelanders…growing our own organic food, catching fish from the sea and rivers, collecting firewood, cooking, playing music…country life.

The Rongo building has been transformed inside and out into a fabulously vibrant, colourful and creatively inspiring place, which now includes a community radio station, organic vegetable and aesthetic gardens, a fire bath and gallery of exceptional local and international art.

The concept of Rongo is to create an artistically inspiring and relaxing environment where people can find their own pace of life, with the only rule being to respect the rights of others and to take responsibility for your own actions – common sense.

Guests are encouraged to stay a minimum of four nights.

Wwoof, Wwoof!

Rongo Backpackers & Gallery has been a Wwoofing host since 2005 and we have hosted about 500 Wwoofers from all over the world. Wwoofers help us run the business, tend the gardens, look after the guests, maintain the buildings, manage the permaculture farm and keep the radio station going.

We ask prospective Wwoofers to stay a minimum of two weeks (most stay much longer) and we provide accommodation, some food and all the facilities and services available to our guests – Internet, firebath, radio station, library, kitchen etc, etc.

We work hard, but we also have a lot of fun. Fun is a Top Priority at Rongo!

This page is also available in: Japanese