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Newsphere November 2021

Kia ora koutou Wangapeka whānau,

Welcome to the November Issue of Newsphere.

This is the first Newsphere I have put together for a long time. The last time was when I occasionally helped Bridget Musters put an issue together. Then everything was printed, folded, stamps affixed, and posted - when 'posting' meant physically pushing items into a box on the side of the street !

This issue covers many varied items, maybe the least interesting of which is that Newsphere now has been given its own ISSN number by the Department of Internal Affairs. This will mean that this newsletter will be indexed by the National Library of New Zealand.

In this edition you will also find : 
  • Tributes to Thelma Rodgers
  • New Arrivals into the Wangapeka Sangha
  • The Naming of the Whare Wānanga - a Wangapeka Heritage Story
  • Te Tiriti Focus group
  • Wangapeka Archive project
  • Seeking a Fundraising Team for Volunteer Accommodation
  • A recent issue of Kumanu by Cashy Yates
I hope you will find something of interest and be inspired by what you read.

Ngā mihi nui
Graham Sandlant
for the Wangapeka Communications Team
Here is a link to our August Newsphere 2021.
Earlier newsletters can be found on our Wangapeka Publications page.
Thelma Ann Rodgers

Thelma Rodgers died in Nelson, New Zealand on 12 October 2021.

Here we honour her multi-faceted exploration of life, and the many ways she supported the unfolding of Dharma. Tributes from Mary Jenkins and Tarchin are followed by those of many others whose lives she touched.

Photo: Thelma and Sadie, 2020.

Remembrance of Thelma and Scattering of Ashes at Wangapeka - date coming soon.

There will be a gathering of Thelma’s friends and family, to remember and celebrate Thelma’s life and to scatter her ashes at Wangapeka (as she wished). We are planning this with her family and will notify the Wangapeka community once we have set a date.

If you would like to share any photos or stories about Thelma, but can’t attend her remembrance in person, please send them to Kath: These will be shared at the remembrance.

Read the tributes to Thelma here ...

New Arrivals in the Sangha

The sangha is expanding with 3 new arrivals recently. First on the scene was Sol Francois Milligan-Yates on 14 May 2021 born to parents Elli Yates and Willow Milligan.

Sol was soon followed by the arrival of Felix River McInness, born 29th May 2021 to parents Ronnie Englard and Ross Inness-McLeish.

Then on 15th September 2021 Orla Gaia Dawson was born at home to parents Shea Dawson and Chani Grieve.

Congratulations to the new families, and sending you much metta for your family life together.

Above: L-R Shea, Chani holding Orla, Elli holding Sol, Willow
Below: Felix
The Naming of the Whare Wānanga - A Wangapeka Heritage Story

Earlier this year the sign ‘Whare Wānanga’ was taken down during a retreat, and questions were asked about the original naming of the Whare, and of cultural appropriation as this is currently recognised within Aotearoa.

The Board kept the sign down while seeking the story of the Whare’s name, cultural advice from Māori colleagues and friends, plus guidance from Elders.

Ray Caird who was on the Board of Trustees and one of the whare’s builders in the mid 1980’s was able to give us the story. The new meditation hall took several years to fund and build. During this time it was frequently referred to by Norm Howarth, Mike Elliott, Lily Hill and others as "the Chapel". Several Board members felt that a more appropriate Aotearoa related name was required.

Read the full story here ...
The Wangapeka Educational Trust
Te Tiriti Focus Group

The Te Tiriti Focus Group is newly formed and meets monthly via ZOOM.

This group has a willingness for open-hearted exploration and engagement with Te Tiriti o Waitangi in an ongoing process.

Louise Petzold is the contact person and she is very happy to speak to anyone with questions or interest in being involved.

She can be contacted at

Archive project

For those who seek it, the Wangapeka Centre holds many historical treasures and artifacts. From the mundane to the maudlin to the magnificent, and stashed in the strangest of places, there exist piles and piles of records, photographs, maps, blueprints, artworks, minutes, and miscellanea.

The Caretakers and several community members have recently started gathering these materials and cataloguing them. Some will be digitised, and some we are hoping to archive in a more secure environment. With an awareness that the Centre will soon turn fifty years old (2025), conversations about how we record and preserve our stories, our taonga, are beginning to take place.

If you are interested in joining in these conversations or finding out more, please contact Hadleigh at

Wangapeka Fund Raising Opportunity – A Request for Support

After almost three years of planning, obtaining resource consents, building permits, cost estimates and tactical discussions, the Centre is moving ahead with its plans to develop a volunteer and member’s accommodation block on the site of Mike Elliott’s old workshop and caravan.

The Board of Trustees, it’s maintenance sub-committee and caretakers are acutely aware that, as the Centre approaches its 50th birthday, buildings, gardens, forest and facilities on site need increasing amounts of maintenance and upkeep. The workload for this is high and there appears to be a steady stream of volunteer enquiries to support the Centre.

The challenge with utilising this volunteer goodwill has been the capacity to manage the volunteer labour over extended periods of time and to have a place for them to stay, particularly when retreats are in progress. The conversion of Mike’s workshop will solve the accommodation problem and at the same time be a resource space for Wangapeka members to use.

Read the full story here ...

Report from the Board Meeting 28 September 2021

At the last WET Board meeting there were a couple of new matters to discuss.  The first was about archiving the written and photographic records of the Centre, and the possibility of doing something (a book, film?) to mark our 50th anniversary in 2025.

The second was about the Life Before Birth course recently offered by Bonni Ross.  As this is the first on-line course offered by WET we want to assess it carefully, to guide our future approach to this sort of on-line course.

Other Board business included:
  • Progress on issues relating to the naming of the Whare Wānanga, and especially the Board’s response to participants on the Athena and Saraswati retreat, and the revitalisation of the Treaty partnership group.
  • Confirmation that work on converting Mike’s workshop into accommodation for volunteers will begin in November, and the need to fundraise to ensure it can be completed.
We received reports from the Treasurer (we’re OK, despite courses being cancelled because of Covid), the Caretakers (lots of work done while retreats weren’t happening), health and safety (new COVID-19 management plan to facilitate course being run at Level 2), and the Communications committee (website upgrade possibilities).

The new COVID-19 management plan, along with the information for participants and the information for course managers, have been ratified by the Board. They will be kept under review, because they will  have to change to accommodate a changing situation.

If anyone wants to find out more about what the Board is doing please contact the Secretary, Tim Leyland, at

Cashy Yates

2021 2022 Programme

Bodhi Seeds Retreat 2021

Awakening Through Our True Nature

with Jaime Howell, Juliana Griese, and Andy McIntosh, 6 – 17 November 2021

To learn and deepen the art of meditative self inquiry immersed in the beautiful nature of Wanagepeka mountains and valleys.

To build new relationships with other young people who are empowered to be a part of a communities of practice.

To experience a meditation retreat that will bring together gentleness, body work, periods of noble silence, nature inquiry. Facilitated by people who are inspired by the works of Bill Plotkin (Nature and the Human Psyche), Joanna Macy (Work that Reconnects) and Tarchin Hearn (Author of Breathing a Natural guide to Meditation) to name a few of the sources of innovative inspirers.
Also - There is a "full journey" option scheduled from November 1 to 31.

Read more.

Chenrezig Meditation Retreat (New Dates)

with Mark Schrader, 19 – 24 November 2021

5 day or 2-day (weekend only option)

This is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation that embodies the union of wisdom and compassion. It is an exploration of rich symbolic imagery alongside sound (mantra) that enables us to connect deeply with these two qualities.

Both beginners and those wishing to deepen their meditation practice are welcome to attend.

The course is limited to 14 participants so registering early is advisable.

Read more.

Foundations of Samadhi: Düntün (Seven-day) Retreat

with Jakob Leschly, 20 – 27 November 2021

This retreat has been cancelled for 2021, and will be offered in November 2022.

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.

Time Out for Peace

for Humans who want to Change the World

with Bonni Ross, 3 – 10 December 2021

We begin by pacifying ourselves by putting out the fires of conflict in our conditioned perception. We continue this healing through an exploration of harmony and beauty in the natural world, in ourselves and others, and in our concepts and thoughts.

Based on Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche’s Meditation on Peace, supported by universal principles of the path of liberation, the energy of the land, creative activities, compassionate listening and the gifts of clarity and wisdom that arise in us all, we may vision a more wholesome way to live with the stresses of our time and our world.
Read more.

Young Adults Retreat (2021): Embracing Life

A toolkit for living with Wisdom and Compassion

with Daniel Burgess-Milne and Jaime Howell, 13 – 19 December 2021

YAR provides the opportunity for young adults (18-35) to come together to explore the art of meditation, to experience a retreat environment at an affordable price, and to build connections and community amongst young people with wholesome aspirations in Aotearoa.

Explorations will include meditation, conscious dance, group processes, explorative art and nature connection. There will be periods of silence and reflection to allow you to connect with your own inner wisdom. Guidance will be available for those who are interested in learning to meditate, as well as for those who wish to develop their meditation practice. 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.

Beginning Again!

An Introductory Meditation Retreat

with Chani, Kath, and Mark, 7 – 12 January 2022

Want to learn to meditate? Perhaps you’ve tried and need some more skills as well as some extra encouragement? Possibly, you already have meditation experience and wish to refresh and deepen your practice. If this sounds like you, then this 5-day retreat will support you to explore this.

For those new to meditation, it is an opportunity to build your confidence and ask those questions you think everyone else already knows the answer to. For people with experience, it provides an overview, context and skilful tools that will enhance your practice as well as supporting you in any further retreats that you attend.

Read more.

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