NZ larp history and timeline

This is a wiki post. Please contribute to it using the “edit” button

This year’s Knudebook includes a series of short pieces on people’s first experiences with larp. This has raised interest in the history of larping, so I thought we could try and nail down our own. The first post in this thread is a timeline, in the manner of CJ’s UK LARP history. I’ve only listed it till 2010 because we have fairly good records after that. If you want to throw in your own memories, rather than just a timeline entry, please add a post.

Specific requests of things to nail down in the timeline are here [Link TBA]

Timeline of NZ larp history


  • Entries are coded by region: AKL, WLG, HLT, CHC, DUN for the major cities.
  • Entries can also be coded by style: Combat larp ©, theatre-style (T), World of Darkness (W).
  • Please include important non-game events e.g. the formation of NZLARPS.


  • AKL: 22-Sep-1982 The Auckland University club TTN (Tonight’s The Night) ran at least one “Live Dungeoneering” game at Stony Batter on Waiheke island prior to this date.
  • AKL: Oct - The Auckland University club A.M.E.R.I.C.A ran a “Live Dungeoneering” game at Stony Batter on Waiheke island.
  • Dragon Slayers tabletop RPG club started in Auckland at the Customhouse. The club also organised battle games or “widegames”, including battles against the Auckland Regional Army (ARA) on the North Shore and against ALF’s Imperial Army including a large battle on North Head. Ran for 2 years with about 60 people participating in battle games. ©


  • AKL: 22-24 April - A.M.E.R.I.C.A ran a “Live Dungeoneering” game at Stony Batter on Waiheke island. ©
  • Hastings: The historical re-enactment/steel weapons group East Coast Mercenary Company ran occasional ‘wide games’ - combats with a loose storyline attached.


  • Glorantha “council game” run at wargaming NatCon in Nelson. @mundens was there.


  • AKL: 2-Mar-1985 Live Dungeon run in the tunnels on Defense Force land on the north side of Shakespear Regional Park, Whangaparaoa. (@Brent crewed) ©


  • AKL: Hymarghen Written by David Harrop, GM Anna Cruse, First game run out at beach camping ground north of Auckland (unfortunately the name of the place has been lost due in the mists of time) ran over the weekend (Saturday-Sunday) ©


  • AKL/HLT: Hymarghen Written by David Harrop, GM Anna Cruse, second game run out at a farm in Te Puke. Deer Farm was owned by a relative of one of the players (Robert provan) ran over the weekend (Saturday-Sunday) ©


  • AKL: The group that would later be named Portal Games ran its first event. Events were run until about 1998, largely on the North Shore. Organisers included @Ryan_Paddy ©
  • CHC: “Theatre Supermarket” (“The Game v1.0”) run as part of the 1990 Youth Festival.
  • AKL: AMERICA club runs last stoney batter game on waiheke island. ©


  • CHC: “Galactic Jihad” game run at Christchurch Wargaming Society by @Dillon_Burke (T)
  • CHC: “The Game” is rerun in Whangarei and Christchurch.
  • AKL: Hymarghen Written by David Harrop, GM Anna Cruse. Third game run out at Awhitu environmental camp ©.


  • CHC: “The Game” interactive theatre event.
  • CHC: “Second Crusade” game run at a FUGSoc event.
  • CHC: Students at Burnside highschool run their own “theatre supermarket” even as a school production.
  • AKL: Hymarghen Written by David Harrop, GM Anna Cruse. Fourth and final game run out at Awhitu environmental camp ran over the weekend (Saturday-Sunday) ©


  • AKL: “Gatecrashers 1” run by Stella Nova GM: Robert Provan, a fantasy larp that ran overnight at one of the club members houses, social game with some larp combat (T,C) second gate crashers game run as a sequel at the same house as the first later in that year.
  • HLT: FanAD, (fantasy Adventurers and Dungeoneers guild) a fantasy boffer larp commences. Gm’s Alista Fow, Erin Gamble, Te Kahurangi Evan Patuwai-Findlay, and Paul. Rulebook published as The Fantasy Adventurers & Dungeoneers Guild official players rule-book, or, To live and die in L.R.P. ©
  • HLT: Hamilton by Twilight VTM commences (W)


  • CHC: University of Canterbury LarpSoc founded. (T)
  • CHC: Discworld larp run at Ikon SF convention (T)
  • AKL: Third gatecrashers game run at Motu Moana scout camp rewritten by Joram Van Essen GM Anna cruse, Dread Patchini. This was the last in the Gatecrashers series going over the weekend (Saturday–Sunday) ©
  • AKL: Tekumel Larp. Written by Paul James GM’s Paul James, David Harrop, based on the table-top rpg “empire of the petal throne” and run at Camp Maynard outside Auckland. First known game with an R18 rating due to the culture and background of Tekumel etc. ran over the weekend (Friday to Sunday) ©
  • AKL: AMERICA club runs Live Shadowrun larp at Auckland University GM’s Anna cruse, Dread Patchini ©
  • AKL: Metropolis VTM game begins, runs for several months and ends later that year. GM: Aaron McFarland (W)
  • AKL: Auckland by Night begins (W)
  • HLT: Auckland players from Metropolis VTM integrate with Hamilton by twilight VTM at the Hamilcon gaming convention Masquerade game that year. (W)


  • CHC: LarpSoc runs two theatre-style games, “Graduation at the Imperial Naval Academy” and “Aeroporto del Hallucinogenia”. They are fortunately lost to history. (T)
  • AKL: LARPHS (Live Action Role Playing & Heroics System), later known as Skirmish, launched by @Mike_Curtis ©
  • AKL: Portland VTM game. GM’s: Patrick Hanley, Chris Hoggins (W)
  • AKL: London VTM game (W)
  • AKL: A different London VTM game. Apparently London was popular in 1995. GM: Shane Thurston (W)
  • AKL: Battlecry convention runs a large VTM larp based in the first London chronicle above, the chronicle continues thereafter as a standalone (W)
  • AKL: Out of the ashes GM: David Harrop accepted by OWBN as NZ chronicle for Auckland. This larp later becomes “The Phoenix Rising”.
  • HLT: Hamilton also accepted as OWBN for Hamilton both chronicles continue to integrate
  • HLT: Hamilton gets a 2nd Vampire Larp not connected to Twilight Theatre Troop, Lost Souls LARP. This one ran for several years before merging with TTT (W) (this does suggest at this time there were 3 but cannot yet conform this)


  • AKL: Rome VTM game begins. GM’s: Alex Phoon, Daniel Haddon, Chris Hoggins
  • WLG: Wellington by Night founded (W)
  • Martinborough by night founded (W)
  • AKL: Lateral Worlds founded ©. They run the first 3-day full-weekend events in Auckland. (Backdated as this is the earliest reference I can find. This date possibly should be even earlier)
  • HLT: KiL Quest (GM: TK Findlay) begins. It runs for about three years,and later moves to Gisborne.
  • HLT: FanAD ends. ©


  • AKL: Horror larp group Fear of the Dark founded. They were later renamed The Arkham Society and then The Nightmare Circle.
  • AKL: Fantasy larp group Paralex (later renamed The Dark Gate) founded ©.
  • WLG: “Nero’s Palace” run (T)
  • HLT: Hamilton conclave July: included players from AKL, WLG, HAM and the HAM werewolf pack, numbered some 164 players including a few from USA, was the biggest larp event in NZ until Crucible.


  • WLG: “The Coronation of King Aethekred IX” run at MegaRoleplaying (T)
  • WLG: “Sortilege”, a one-off game, run at Turnbull House (T)
  • AKL: Out of the ashes changes GM and is renamed The Phoenix rises (OWBN) and continues the ongoing plots and characters. GM, Blair Garret, Alan Grant (W).
  • HLT: Quest, or Quest Waikato, a new fantasy Larp commences. GM’s Alista Fow, Erin Gamble ©


  • AKL: The Gathering event draws together various Auckland larp and reenactment groups. ©
  • WLG: Aliens: Apocalypse, a large one-off weekend event with hybrid tabletop elements. (T)
  • HLT: Killquest ends ©
  • HLT: Hamilton: The 13th Hour (OWOD Changeling) chronicle commences Head ST Meghann Exley (W)
  • HLT: Hamilton by twilight splits, two groups now exist: Hamilton by twilight GM Mike Landman, and Danse Macabre GM James Beamish-white and Shay McAauly, Danse Macabre retains OWBN status and continues linked chronicle with Out of the ashes in AKL (W)


  • AKL: Rome VTM game finishes (W)
  • Kindred of the east Chronicle (no other name) commences, a smaller game run in Te Atatu GM’s David Harrop, Colin Philbrick.


  • WLG: KapCon hosts its first flagship larp, “Breakout Day”. It has run a flagship larp every year since. (T)
  • AKL: Portal Games and the Dark Gate dissolve to start running Mordavia together.
  • AKL: Mordavia: Chronicle of Renewal starts the Mordavia campaign ©
  • DUN-CHCH: Dunedin roleplayers first attend Buckets of Dice en mass, as part of an OURS contingent. They win a bunch of prizes and the myth of the voyage for the golden t-shirt begins.
  • AKL: Milan VTM game (W)
  • AKL: Lateral Worlds runs their fourth weekend game ©
  • HTL: Hamilton: The 13th Hour (OWOD Changeling) chronicle ends, (Informal gatherings - Memorial Park Formal Court - Hamilton Botanical Gardens) Head ST Meghann Exley. (W)


  • AKL: SKIRMISH launches, with their first game on 29/06/02 GM Mikaere Curtis. ©
  • WLG: KapCon Hosts its second flagship larp “The Golden Future Society” (T)


  • AKL: change in GM for Auckland by night. Game retains old name. Jacinto saggers
  • AKL: Another OWOD vampire chronicle “Auckland After Dark”, very few details available though there is a suggestion it ran separate from phoenix rises and was not part of OWBN (W).
  • Auckland University Roleplaying Group (AURPG, formerly called AMERICA) [This seems incorrect, AMERICA didn’t rename until recently - check wording] ran a “New York 1932” theatre-style LARP at “Honeys” champagne and cocktail bar in O’Connell St. Contact Danielle Lander (not sure if Danielle was the GM) (T)


  • WLG: Beanstalk, Wellington’s first “May larp”, establishes a period of standalone games which lasts until 2006.


  • Informal meeting at “the barracks” rockfield road AKL introduces the idea of a club to link players and games for promoting larps. Incorporated society of NZ larps emerges a year later, after another meeting resolves to form NZLARPS from assets of Mordavia when it finishes (July).
  • AKL: Seattle VTM game (W)
  • AKL: change of GM’s for The Phoenix rises (W) GM Chris Hoggins, Kirsten Goodall (W)
  • AKL: Battlecry convention the larp The Saturday night live game, based on Mage, was hosted by Chris Hoggins, Jason Farley and Kirsten Goodall. And there was a Mordavia afternoon scene game.


  • Formation of NZLARPS (incorporated 17 Feb 2006)
  • AKL: Mordavia: Endgame ends the Mordavia campaign (December) ©
  • AKL: Stargate campaign begins
  • AKL: MET Dark ages chronicle begins GM: Alan grant
  • AKL OG caveman Larp commences, GM Steve Shipway.
  • AKL: Battlecry convention ran the larp Exodus. Written and run by Danielle van Rossum and Alex (ran the In Nomine larps). The convention also ran a Mordavia afternoon scene on the park area either by the hall or on the girls school grounds nearby.
  • WLG: last May Larp was Guild Council, written by Jarrod Carmichael and produced by Paul Wilson. (T)


  • AKL: Pactum Serva starts the St Wolfgang’s Vampire Hunters campaign. ©
  • AKL: Seattle (W)
  • AKL: Nibelungen campaign GM Craig Neilson (Feb)
  • AKL: Ravenholme campaign begins
  • AKL: 2014 campaign. GM Brian Watson ©
  • AKL: Serenity campaign begins. GM David Harrop ©
  • AKL: Battle cry convention runs the larp “The Sainte Rose Faire of the Picaroon” by Lucy Telford and Karen Dransfield.
  • DUN: Chris Slattery runs “Dunedin By Night” a Vampire game (W), runs until mid-2008
  • AKL: Pirates larp has first game “The Governors daughter” GM Lucy telford
  • HLT: Danse Macabre VTM chronicle ends.


  • WLG: Sanctuary, run as the flagship larp for the annual Kapcon convention, strengthens connections between Wellington and Auckland larpers, and encourages higher standards of set dressing in theatre style larp.
  • AKL: Chimera, NZ’s first larp convention, founded.
  • AKL: Multiverse campaign based on the saga of Elric commences GM Mike Curtis ©
  • AKL: Jade Empire Campaign commences GM Erin Hockings ©
  • HLT: Knightshade fantasy campaign commences GM’s Dave McIsaac, Jared Hansen, primarily run in between Auckland and Hamilton locations.
  • DUN: Ian Bayard runs “Dunedin By Night” a Vampire game (W), runs until mid 2009 (not the same game as above)
  • AKL: Battlecry convention runs at the Freeman’s Bay Community Hall the Larp “The Show Must Go On” by Cameron Burns.


  • AKL: Ravenholme campaign ends?
  • AKL: Battlecry convention runs the following larps over the weekend; Masquerade on Fleet Street (Anna Klein), UN (Cameron Burns), Starwars (Adam P), Ravenholme: Circles and Squares (Peter Cummuskey), Bad Dreams (Ivan Essin), Requiem (Porl Bowdler, Phillip Brown, Joel, Rebecca Mahan).
  • AKL: Star Wars campaign begins GM Adam P
  • WLG: NZLARPS creates Wellington region.
  • DUN: Caillin Nichols and Daniel Donaldson run “Dunedin By Night” a Vampire game (W) (not the same game as above)


  • AKL: Revelations concludes the St Wolfgang’s Vampire Hunters campaign.
  • AKL: Stargate campaign ends.
  • AKL: Chrono Continuum campaign begins. GM Blair Purkiss ©
  • AKL: Teonn: The Elemental Rising begins the Teonn campaign (Nov) ©
  • AKL: New Horizons (W)
  • AKL: Requiem (W)
  • AKL: Nexus (W)
  • AKL: Battlecry Convention runs a number of larps including “Breakout Day”, “Jade Empire: The Rescue of Ue-Hori” and Bad Dreams.
  • DUN: Stuart Stoddart and Bradford Brizzell run “Dunedin By Night” a Vampire game (W) (not the same game as above)


  • AKL: Dreams in the Witch House begins GMs Matt Brunton, Porl Bowdler ©
  • AKL: Multiverse campaign ends?
  • AKL: Star Wars campaign ends?
  • AKL: Battlecry convention runs a number of larps including “Paranoia: Critically Nominal”, “Bad Dreams: The Hidden”, “Midsummer eve” and “Bunker 29”
  • WLG: Kingdom 1 is the first live-combat campaign game run in Wellington in 15 years.
  • DUN: Matt Swain runs “Los Angeles by Night” (W - Vampire the Requiem) - game runs from Feb to July


  • WLG: Hydra larp convention founded. (Mar)
  • WLG: Welcome Home begins the 33AR campaign. GMs: NIck, Mel, Thomas (Sep) ©
  • DUN: Stuart Stoddart runs Lost in Manhattan (W) - game ends mid-year
  • AKL: Winterdale, Victorian larp of intrigue GM Zara P
  • AKL: Duchy of Flint OWOD Changeling game commences GM’s: Lynn saddington, Chris evans, Wong.
  • AKL: Battlecry convention ran the larp Royal Flush written by (Clare Ahuriri?)


  • AKL: “Dilemmas and Downfalls” concludes the Teonn campaign (Dec) ©
  • AKL: Dreams in the Witch House ends.
  • AKL: Jade Empire ends
  • AKL: The Zone Larp commences GM William McCartney
  • DUN: OURS (Bruno Knewstubb and Angus Dingwall) runs Packus Dominus as its annual campaign (W). Game runs until mid-2013
  • WLG: The World That Is campaign starts GM: Sophie Melchior


  • AKL: Crucible campaign begins with “landfall” prelude games. (Jan) ©
  • AKL: Moonbright campaign starts ©
  • AKL: Mage: The Fight for Survival campaign starts (W)
  • AKL: Changeling: Fates Unbound starts (W)
  • CHC: Phoenix larp convention founded (Aug)
  • DUN: OURS (Matt Swain, then Jarrod Kaizer) runs Dunedin’s Vigil as its annual campaign (W)
  • HLT: Medusa larp convention founded (Nov)
  • HLT: NZLARPS creates Hamilton region
  • WLG: Kingdom 3; Army of Darkness ends the “Kingdom” campaign ©


  • WLG: The Last Day concludes the 33AR campaign (Mar) ©
  • WLG / AKL: Dry Spell multi-city campaign starts
  • DUN: OURS runs Changeling (Simon Ashby and Bruno Knewstubb) game as its annual campaign (W)
  • AKL: Hogwarts campaign starts
  • AKL: Hunter: the Last Haven starts (W)
  • AKL: Sabbat; Edge of Extinction starts (W)
  • AKL: Werewolves of London starts (W)
  • HLT: Fallout; Dead Zealand starts. GM: Chloe Bruce, James Win.


  • AKL: Moonbright concludes.
  • AKL: Crucible stops.
  • AKL: Musketeers campaign begins © (Oct).
  • AKL: The World That Is concludes.
  • AKL: Shadow of the King begins (T)
  • HLT: Crossroads campaign begins (W)
  • WLG: “Stirring The Ashes” begins the Embers campaign ©.
  • WLG: Reloaded campaign begins with “Banquet of the Beast” (T)
  • DUN: Honour Among Thieves campaign (T).


  • AKL: One-off game “Tournament of the Roses” marks beginning of “Exile” campaign ©
  • AKL: The campaign “The Isles” begins with an unnamed first game.
  • CHC: Contact campaign. GM Lee Patrick (T).
  • DUN: Cerberus larp convention founded.
  • DUN: Fate/Clocktower campaign begins (T)
  • DUN: Dunedin by Night is OURS’ annual WOD larp (W)
  • AKL: Hunter: The Last Haven concludes (W)


  • AKL: Miasma Theory campaign begins ©
  • AKL: Danger Days
  • AKL: Saga campaign begins ©
  • AKL: Dying World campaign begins ©
  • AKL: The Auckland Larp Faire first event, combining a market with speaker/panels


  • WLG: Consequence campaign begins (Combat)
  • AKL: The Auckland Larp Faire includes an Intro to Larp session that is advertised to first-time larpers on Facebook, followed in the evening by Sanctuary run by Naomi Guyer.


  • The great pandemic larp shutdown

This is a wiki post. Please contribute to it using the “edit” button

Things we want more information on:

  • Chapter Victoria operated in Wellington in the early 1990’s, and ran live combat games in Otari / Wilton Bush. I don’t know when it started, but it was listed in larp lists as late as 1995. Someone could dig this out by hitting VUW library and going through back-issues of Salient.
  • Foundation dates for Hamilton by Night and Auckland by Night.
  • Dates for early Auckland larps on Stony Batter
  • Date for the first larp run at Buckets of Dice (they’ve had a fairly continuous culture of them since the 1990’s)
  • Anything at all from Dunedin

Just noticed that Discourse doesn’t warn of edit conflicts on wiki posts. Fortunately I can pull the lost content out of the record and put it back in later.

Some more info from the very early days of Diatribe has forced me to extend the timeline back to 1980. paging @Derek !

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Dunedin had 4 “roleplaying tournaments” a year. Each one of those had a flagship larp. I remember 2002-2003, but its quite fuzzy at this point. I’ve added the golden t-shirt myth, as that started years of
Dunedin-Christchurch exchanges.

So the first Kapcon flagship started in 2001? Does that mean the tradition of having a flagship larp at a tabletop roleplaying convention actually came from Dunedin and Christchurch (as far as NZ goes)?

[quote=“Adrexia, post:6, topic:21558”]
So the first Kapcon flagship started in 2001? Does that mean the tradition of having a flagship larp at a tabletop roleplaying convention actually came from Dunedin and Christchurch (as far as NZ goes)?[/quote]

Yes. Buckets (or whatever FUGSoc called it before it was Buckets and before they were SAGA) had been doing it since at least the mid-90’s. We very definitely got it from them.

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I’ll take a luddite point here but I can’t find an edit button. Would someone be able to help here?

I know America’s cup/Battlecry had flagship style LARPs by the mid 90’s so I’d say not.

That’s my fault. I thought I’d changed this, but editing wiki posts was set to level 2 trust. I have reset it to level 1, so it should be easier to spot now? There should be a pencil beneath the post.

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Thanks… I can understand not trusting me with a pencil though.

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WRT Auckland vampire campaigns - am I right in thinking Phoenix Rising is the direct descendent of one or other of these, or did it have a later start date?

I first played in the game in 1995 so at least then. It may be 1994 but I wasn’t an original player so am unsure.

This is turning out quite nicely. I’m wondering if we can get a pretty picture out of it at the end for Auckland - something with different coloured bars representing the different campaigns over their lifetime.

Update: These have been acquired.

Wanted: someone with access to a microfilm archive to grab a copy of this and print/scan/upload a copy for me:

“Adventures in Fantasyland”, Christchurch Press 5 September 1992. Sup p. 4.
Reports on ‘The Game’, a form of live interactive theatre that involves the audience in role-playing.

There’s also apparently a report about larp in the “Canvas” supplement to the New Zealand Herald around 6 November 2004 which I’d like to get hold of.

(Palmerston North library sadly does not have a wide selection; Massey’s microfilm is only useable by students).

Dunedin’s Larp history has been a bit spotty; are you interested in one-offs or only campaign games? I can put in what I remember (put in an entry for 2006 which was my first larp and larp campaign)

[quote=“Adrexia, post:5, topic:21558, full:true”]
Dunedin had 4 “roleplaying tournaments” a year. Each one of those had a flagship larp. I remember 2002-2003, but its quite fuzzy at this point. I’ve added the golden t-shirt myth, as that started years of
Dunedin-Christchurch exchanges.[/quote]
Was it only 2001 that we first went to Buckets? I would have thought it was before that but my memory is fuzzy

I think we’re interested in whatever people want to add. Be bold!

Maybe in an earlier incarnation? Memory in Dunedin is almost completely lost every 3-5 years. :wink:

1983! Now we’re really getting somewhere!