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Gabe Newell has been chilling in New Zealand, says thanks with a festival

Sometimes weird things happen and they're really good

Everyone’s favourite gaming billionaire, Gabe Newell, has had a big year. Half-Life: Alyx shipped earlier in the year to critical acclaim, and to celebrate, the Valve co-founder decided a trip to New Zealand was in order with some buddies (which includes Spanish racecar driver Alex Riberas for some reason?). And then, as we all know, Covid-19 happened and he soon found himself stuck.

Now, given New Zealand is such a cool and good place, they’re Covid free and Gabe found himself wanting to say thanks and give back to the country that housed him through it all. He recently spoke on TVNZ1’s Breakfast show about how he intends to give back with the help of Alex Riberas and his partner, Teigan Klein. The three have announced that they’re helping put together ‘We Love Aotearoa‘, a free event/concert in Auckland on August 15th.

The event will have food trucks, live music, workshops, activities, virtual reality stands, art installations, and from 4:30pm onwards there’s performances by some big bands, including: The Black Seeds, Ladi6, Leisure, JessB, Clicks, Sola Rosa, Frank Booker, Flamingo Pier and Tina Turntables.

The about page for the event reads:

We Love Aotearoa is a group of friends from around the world who found themselves based in Auckland as COVID-19 spread throughout the globe. Whilst being here they have been overwhelmed by the manaakitanga and aroha they have received from the people of Aotearoa.

These events are a thank you to the people of New Zealand for being so kind and welcoming, and also an acknowledgement of the hard work that the team of 5 million have gone through to get us to where we are now.

To celebrate Aotearoa’s tremendous efforts to moderate the impact of COVID-19, a range of activities, performances, and workshops will take place across The Cloud and Shed 10 in a two-part event.

Gabe himself had absolutely glowing praise for New Zealand during his interview, as well as concerns for friends and family back home, and even referring to his job at Valve as his ‘day job’:

“We’ve continued to connect with more people and discover more things about New Zealand, and that’s made it very easy. The hardest part by far is being worried about friends and family who aren’t in New Zealand. When I talk to people back in Seattle, it’s a very strange time. It’s very challenging. They’re very isolated.”

So, while it’s not exactly a dedicated gaming event and is instead a big all ages family friendly thing, there’s video games there. And you might even run into Gabe himself, who knows! I wish I could go, but again, New Zealand would probably laugh me out of the airport because I’m from Victoria.

Have fun without me, New Zealanders. ;_;

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