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Newsphere May 2021

Greetings, friends around the world.

Here down south the leaves have turned, and almost all fallen to the ground. Nights are crisp and cold. Frosts are starting to settle. Our lives in Aotearoa are moving towards the time of Matariki (Māori New Year) and Winter Solstice. Night skies are truly stunning.The Wangapeka whenua is also quietening down, and so it is a great time of year for the Caretakers and willing volunteers to catch up on maintenance jobs. There is a call for help with these much-needed tasks in this Newsphere, as well as some lovely articles to enjoy.
In this edition you will find : 

2020 Year of Clear Vision Final Report to the Wangapeka Community and BOT by the 2020 Team
March Community Hui Report by Louise Petzold
"The Path" article by Gaye Rowley 

Wangapeka Needs :
Sangha Support Donations 
Help with Maintenance
Donations for Omahu
New Ladders


Have you forgotten to renew your membership? 

Dear Wangapeka whānau,
A big thank you to all those who have already paid their subscription this year, and a sincere request to those who have not.

Membership fees are $60 for an individual or $75 for a family.

It is very easy to make a Bank Deposit : 
Please pay to Wangapeka Educational Trust03 0703 0156597 03
Please state your name and "membership" when making a deposit. 

You can also use PayPal, and instructions for this can be found on our website

Also, we had some generous members pay for an extra subscription for anyone who would like to be a member but cannot afford it at this time. If you would like to make use of one of these gifts, please contact Louise Petzold to apply.

2020 Year of Clear Vision
Final Report to the Wangapeka Community

March 12, 2021

It’s hard to begin this for two reasons: the tsunami of this experience continues for all of us on the organizing team, powering our 2021 lives along. Challenges, personal, collective and macro, abound.

For those of you who were not involved with a Community Sharing Circle, the best way to get a sense of where we’ve been is on in the Themes and Resources and Circle Feedback sections, which will remain online for another few months and then vanish away. The Namgyal Legacy section will be added to and perhaps teachers and community leaders who were deeply influenced by Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche will continue to add to it.

Read here for the full article from the 2020 Team. 

March Community Hui Report

Louise Petzold

Kia ora Wangapeka Community,
We spent an enriching weekend at the Centre on the 27th and 28th March which marked the next phase of an ongoing consultation and visioning process for the Board of Trustees and the wider Wangapeka Community.

How come?
The Trustees have been looking into changes in the staffing structure of the centre for some time, as well as the general structures we operate with. As part of this process, the Trustees felt they would value input from the rest of the community to see where the energy rests in taking the Centre forward. They also wanted to hear from the community as to whether they felt the current shapings and programme offerings are working well. 

So what happened over the weekend?
The hui focused on two main threads of exploration. The first aspect centred around looking into what response might be shaped by the Centre going forward, to meet the needs of beings in these times of rapid change. What visions did we have about the land, the offerings and how the Centre can be of service and benefit to the whole?

The second question looked more specifically into whether our current programme structure is sustainable and beneficial, taking all things into account- from staffing needs, to availability, infrastructure and teachings.

You can read the full article here

Image Above : Aerial photo of the Whare and Pagoda
Images below : Post-it notes of Hui inspiration

Sangha Support
Donations Needed

As most of you know, our Sangha Support Fund offers a hugely valuable support for those who may not be able to afford the full retreat fee to still come and practice at Wangapeka. Countless people have benefited from this over the years, and miraculously no-one who has requested support has ever been denied. What an incredible demonstration of Dana! Our fund is now in need of donations to keep it healthy and able to continue offering this invaluable opportunity for those that apply.
You can make a direct deposit to the Wangapeka bank account
03-0703-0156597-03 with "Sangha Support" as a reference.
Thank you! 

Image : our Ancestor Beech tree on the Beech Track

An Everest of Maintenance Jobs - calling potential helpers

Dave Pooch and Tim Leyland 

Everyone knows that it was Ed Hillary and Sherpa Tenzin who first climbed Everest back in 1953. But many others helped them get there. High altitude Sherpas, lowland porters and cooks to name but a few. There is a reasonable analogy here with the Wangapeka. While the high point for most people is attending a course or doing a retreat, the ongoing efforts of many make it possible. Caretakers, volunteers and maintenance folk maintain the infrastructure and systems that are needed to support the basic need of “shelter”. Mind you, this analogy only goes so far as retreatants readily become volunteers and vice versa.

The land caretaker is restricted to what maintenance jobs can be done during retreats. Some jobs are noisy or need more than one person. And huts can be occupied too. This year, a small group of volunteers are organising several maintenance periods to do a needed Everest of work on our retreat huts, community buildings and utilities.
The scheduled dates are June 13-15,June 25-30 and then later in the year…. October 18-21 and October 22-25.

If you would like to offer service by giving some time at the Centre or have a particular maintenance skill or have some possibly suitable materials, please contact either Tim or Graham

Accommodation and food is free and there will hopefully be a volunteer cook as well. The team will be working on a whole range of jobs including: installing new smoke alarms, installing a through-the-wall fitting on the clothes drier, new weatherproof flashing on huts etc.

Know any good tradies ?
More and more Health and Safety requirements are creeping up on us like gains in altitude. Jobs that Michael Elliott would have done and some previous caretakers may have done must now be done and signed off by certified tradesmen. Wangapeka has very few members who are certified tradies. And some tradies can be very expensive, especially if they charge high rates as well as charge for mileage.

If you know of a tradie: plumber, electrician, drain layer, builder who may be sympathetic to the aims of Wangapeka, please do let Tim or Graham know.

Improvements to Omahu Hut

Ah, don't we all love this view!

As you know, Omahu is the highest and most distant retreat hut at Wangapeka, with spectacular views over the valley. It is quite a hike up and back - however, that is part of its popularity with long term retreatants. The Land Caretaker Hadleigh, along with the Maintenance Sub-Committee, are working on a number of improvements to this hut, from staining the deck to installing new lights and even developing a more accessible (and less precarious) track up there. Included in this work is the aspiration for a decent aluminum ladder to replace the rotting wooden one, and a fridge that could run off the 12V solar system. If anyone has one of these that they are willing to donate, or the funds to sponsor one, Hadleigh would be delighted to hear from you -

Looking for Ladders

There ARE ladders at Wangapeka, indeed Michael Elliott made several. These veteran wooden structures are still quite safe but warrant a prayer before using them. From a health and safety point of view we really should replace the older ones with aluminium ladders. Is there anyone local who has a spare aluminium step ladder or extension ladder? They need to be “tradesman” quality as volunteers use them for accessing hut roofs and all sorts of other purposes. Alternatively, someone might like to sponsor one. Either way Hadleigh would be delighted to get an email from you -

The Path

Gaye (Dawa) Rowley

The great gift and paradox of The Path is that it not only leads to, but simultaneously also IS only this moment.

All my life I’d yearned for a spiritual expression that made sense. Even as a youngster I couldn’t bear dogma. Then, when I was pregnant with my first child, an old schoolfriend dropped by for a visit. He was on his way down to build the first hut at something called a retreat centre at some place called Wangapeka. He’d been living, of all places, on Crete studying something called meditation with someone whose name I could never properly recall without mouthing ‘Rumplestiltskin’ under my breath first. (Apologies Namgyal Rinpoche). 

I asked questions. Lots of questions! And, suddenly, there it was! A non-dogmatic, inclusive philosophy. The notion of intrinsic human goodness. The Bodhisattva Vow. The word ‘Enlightenment’. And best of all? A methodical Path to get there.

You can read the full article here.
Gaye Rowley has a long time connection with Wangapeka, and will facilitate a short retreat in July, exploring how domestic responsibility can be a Path to freedom.

Wangapeka from the air

Check out these amazing aerial photos taken recently with a drone camera!
Images top to bottom, L-R
Main Hall, Bellbird and Workshop; The Wangapeka River; Main Hall and quad; The Whare and the Hayshed; Omahu

2021 Program

Making Friends with Death

with Di Johnston & Chani Grieve, 28 – 30 May 2021

Join us in a nourishing and restorative retreat exploring what it means to make friends with death. Death isn’t just something that happens on one particular day. Death and dying are intimately related to life and living. In this weekend workshop we will work together to explore what it truly means to make friends with life’s only certainty.
Read more.

Holistic Clearing Meditation

with Bonni Ross, 2 – 4 July 2021

For awakening, you should have an understanding of what you are trying to do. You must start with clarity. You should know that you are moving toward liberation. This meditation is designed to help you to face and begin to transform the causes of paralysis: blocks, lacks and “do your own thing” strengths. This can purify, balance and strengthen your being in order to meet the sheer, naked potential of the essence of consciousness residing in you. Read more.

Saraswati & Athena: Goddesses of Wisdom Retreat

with Mira Riddiford, 7 – 13 July 2021

For the seventh annual mid-year Western Mystery retreat we will be focussing on the wisdom teachings of the Eastern goddess Saraswati and the Western goddess Athena.

This retreat is an opportunity to unplug from the busyness and demands of everyday life, to reconnect with nature and your body, and to safely process your emotions. It’s a way to sit with and heal from the difficulties of life, and to go deeper in your meditation and mindfulness practice.

Read more.

Transforming our Emotions

Relating Compassionately in the World

with Mark Schrader and Kath Mitchell, 16 – 20 July 2021

Is it possible to harness the intelligence of our emotions so we can connect, relate and live more fully? Emotions can create both difficulty and beauty in our communication – leading to ill feeling and confusion; harmony and mutual understanding. Is it possible to meet all of our emotions with kindness and interest so as to reveal the wisdom aspect of the emotion to guide us? To bring forward healing in new and wholesome ways together with openness in our communication. 
Read more.

Where The Mind Goes, The Winds Gather

with Gaye Rowley, 23 – 25 July 2021

An exploration of the physiology of reactive emotional states and how to notice and transform them through mindful presence

In ancient medical systems the wind element (‘lung’ in Tibetan) flows through channels in the subtle energy body. If the mind becomes agitated, there’s an interruption and the wind pools or gathers, causing disturbances of body, energy or mind. The Tibetan aphorism for this rule (oft-quoted by the marvellous Teacher Cecilie Kwiat) is, “Where the mind goes, the winds gather,” meaning ‘What we give attention to increases’. For the sceptics among us, neuro-physiological science has now given objective proof that this is true.
Read more.

Body of Wisdom, Body of Love

Four days of movement, meditation and creative enquiry
with Chani Grieve, 4 – 9 August 2021

Built by millions of years of evolution, our very own bodies offer us direct access to an inner “compass” that can reliably guide us to the fundamental intelligence, dignity and beauty of the human person. They show us directly the inherent freedom that is our natural inheritance, and lead us to a life of alignment, truth and purpose. In a world where the messages we receive from our distressed culture become more confused and confusing every day, it is a profound relief to discover true refuge and sanity, right here at home. By observing and listening to our human body we learn to attune to the rhythm and intelligence of Life on Planet Earth, and open a door to our deepest nature – a song of wisdom, a song of love. Read more.

Life As It Is 2021

a Family Friendly Community Retreat

with Louise, Glenn, & Karen, 13 – 15 August 2021

In these times of rapid change, what is the most beneficial action we can take for others, our planet and ourselves? Where do we turn for a sense of true refuge and support? How do we do this in the midst of our lives?

This weekend we will come together as a community of practice, to slow down and return to the knowing of our interconnection with this earth and all things. By practising in this way, we open the opportunity to access a deep unshakable sense of support, wisdom and compassion for Life as it is.

We will spend time as a Community exploring this Earth and the living creatures and plants above and below. There will be time for group and individual meditation practice, periods of silence and child focused activities. Read more.

Chenrezig Meditation Retreat

with Mark Schrader, 20 – 24 August 2021

This is an experiential meditation course that focuses on developing compassion for oneself and therefore for others. Both beginners and those wishing to deepen their meditation practice are welcome to attend. Each day we will meditate together as a group as well as having space for people to practice independently. Throughout the retreat we will touch into a variety of themes such as: Refuge – where is my place of safety?, Wholesome livelihood – what is an ethical life?, connecting into one’s heart-felt aspiration – what is most important to me in life? Read more.

Sanctuary in Uncertainty

Insight Meditation Retreat

with Jeremy Logan & Kanya Stewart, 15 – 19 September 2021

In these unprecedented times of radical change and uncertainty, a new world is being born. Courage and compassionate presence strengthens us to face into the chaos and not turn away. With wisdom and determination, we can move forward together to create a world based on justice, kindness, and shared resources, rather than on greed, hatred and delusion. Read more.

Foundations of Samadhi: Düntün (Seven-day) Retreat

with Jakob Leschly, 20 – 27 November 2021

This retreat is held under the auspices of Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche with Jakob Leschly as his resident instructor.

The practice of Buddhist meditation allows us to uncover and experience our natural heritage of wisdom though cultivating insight or vipashyana. It is to establish a peaceful space of presence and mindfulness, allowing us to awaken a calmer and wider appreciation of our reality.
Read more.

Garden of Mindfulness Family Retreat

Star Wars & Lucid Dreaming

28 December 2021 – 4 January 2022

This year’s Garden of Mindfulness is based on the archetypes in “Star Wars” and “the Mandalorian” – including Baby Yoda/Grogu, with whom so many of us have fallen in love. By special request we will also be exploring Lucid Dreaming (and symbolism in dreams), which has captured the imagination of so many older kids right now. Journey through the mindfulness looking glass with us! Nurture the wild creative within and enhance your own and your family’s wellbeing through play and nature exploration. Read more.

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