© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

What is madness?

Emma Turton

Madness, divergence and neuro-divergence are just some of the terms which have been up for discussion in the past week.


'Divergence - A Festival of Madness' was eight-days long with pride events celebrating people's differences.

Previously madness was an insult, but now it is a term people can use to gain a sense of community.

"Madness is those experiences that are considered to be outside the social norms of behaviour," organiser Hannah Komatsu said. 

The festival was created to celebrate how people live with their madness and give them a safe space to connect.

The government defines what is not normal with labels like autism and schizophrenia. Neuro-divergence is sidestepping the typical way a brain works and divergent is people knowing they are not typical.

Events such as the Black Dog Walk Off and Mad Wisdom Cafe, were part of the festival to support mad and divergent people. 

Komatsu wanted to create the festival to give people another way of recognising the way their brains work, rather than a doctor telling a person they have a disorder or illness.

"I actually believe that Christchurch has the potential to be the most inclusive community in New Zealand, and that excites me" Komatsu said.