View this email in your browser


p: +64 3 522 4221

Gratitude and Growth

It (almost!) goes without saying - it's been a challenging year. The kind that makes you really appreciate what is important, and what is worth giving your precious life energy to. In spite of many changes and challenges this year, Wangapeka remains healthy and well, and in some ways stronger than ever. Somehow the right people seem to come along when it is most needed, and many more continue giving their precious life energy to ensuring the place keeps operating and offering the teachings of Liberation to all who come, for the benefit of all beings.

In a stressed, stretched and struggling world, Wangapeka truly is a place of refuge - devoted to the cultivation of the causes and conditions beings need to flower and awaken. This is worth celebrating! 
To all of you who contribute to its continuation, in ways large and small, deepest gratitude.
Things change, are always changing.
We never know what's next!
Life wants to heal, to grow and unfold.
Life keeps budding, in spite of it all. 
May the irrepressible budding of Buddha Nature keep bursting through.
May the difficulties be met with a strengthening of courage and the Aspiration to Awaken. 
May peace prevail on Earth and through space, and
May all beings everywhere always be free!
Wishing everyone in our wide Wangapeka community web a peaceful and happy Christmas. 

December Kumanu -
A Busy BoT,
Introducing Volunteers, and New Caretakers on the way! 

by Shelley Taylor - Board Co-Ordinator

The BoT has been busy the last couple of months with : a visioning weekend in late November; farewelling Caretakers Amber and Patrick; enlisting Faith's services as our offsite Caretaker; supporting new volunteers (Fred and Ramon) and an Interim Land Caretaker (Paul) to keep the Centre humming through the next few months. 

With the departure of Amber and Patrick, we have been very appreciative for Faith providing office continuity, Fred, Ramon and Paul for arriving when needed and being willing to learn about the Centre and support its workings.

We have reflected on all of the roles of Caretaking and have seen the changes and increased demands over time. From this position we have made a commitment to experiment with a new way of supporting the Centre through keeping the office role offsite, and having two onsite Caretakers to focus on land, hosting retreats, volunteers and other developments that are evolving.

In December we have been very fortunate to receive applications for our two onsite Caretaker roles, and are very pleased to be able to welcome Hadleigh and Malu on board in February 2021. 

We will miss having Hadleigh on the BoT, however the insight he has gained during his time with us will be very useful going forward.

What should we do to fund the Crew?
Your input is requested

by Dave Pooch

Wangapeka has become more complex over the years. More tracks, more buildings, more courses and more Government rules. Originally, one caretaker was enough, then two were needed and now we are moving to 2.5 caretakers. And we are still highly reliant on the volunteers like Fred, Ramon and many others who freely give their time and energy to all sorts of projects at the Centre.
Wangapeka is a non-profit activity. We aim to roughly break even and have successfully achieved this result for five years now. The food budget breaks even and accommodation fees neatly cover caretaker wages and other overheads. So how do we pay for the extra half caretaker? The trust board is actively thinking about this and has asked Dave Pooch to go away and come back with some strategies. And of course, there is a plus and minus with strategy. Options include : 
  • Increase the accommodation fee but we don’t want Wangapeka to become unaffordable.
  • Increase the number of courses and retreats but a “busy” retreat centre is a contradiction in terms.
  • Charge a premium for retreat huts but this increases admin complexity.
  • Charge higher accommodation fees for weekend and short courses but this also increases admin complexity.
  • Fund raise to bring in the extra costs but we want to ensure there is good fund raising energy for bigger capital projects.
Early in the new year Dave Pooch will be seeking feedback on these options so the trust board can make decisions in February.
If you have any thoughts on this please email him at
The Young Shoots Are Budding

Reviews and photos from two recent retreats for young adults,
Bodhi Seeds and YAR

Bodhi Seeds Gratitude

by Juliana and Kushla

Dear friends of Wangapeka, 

We want to share with you this special journey that Wangapeka has been a part of.

During the waning months of 2020 a group of six young adults and three slightly-less-young adults set off on a journey into the wild together. Twenty-three days as a community of friends exploring together what it means to be a part of the living earth. Deepening our capacity to meet all of this life with kindness, interest, patience and love. Holding the question: how can we make space for the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible? In our bodies and minds, and together as a community. 

My prayer is to know my belonging 
Deep within the Earth,
The heart of the stars,
The night sky,
The loving womb of it all,
To feel the aliveness and oneness of this sweet, beautiful thing,
To celebrate it with the outpourings of my heart,
Warm food on the table, nourished by the deep roots of gift - given and accepted,
May there always be plenty for everyone, 
And may we all be pleasantly surprised 
To find this current of peace and homecoming
Has been quietly flowing within us all along. 

Read here for the full story.

Participants of Bodhi Seeds Retreat on Jaime and Juliana's land, "Treesong"

Homecoming - a life of returning to the Wangapeka

by Jimi Knewstubb 

My name is Jimi Knewstubb. I’ve been going to the Wangapeka since I was born and even once before then, in the womb. I’ve always called it home. My first memory of the Wangapeka was at campsite #4 (above the caretakers house). This was before the electric fence was moved below the campsite. Outside our canvas tent, there was a pig rummaging around and dad went to scare it off. As a 5 year old I thought this was pretty exciting.....

I went to my first young adults retreat when I was about 22 years old. This was very different to Garden of Mindfulness (GoM). My connection with the Wangapeka was to the land and the people, not strongly the Buddhism. It was quite the shock for me doing a silent retreat and I broke down on the second day of silence. At the time I was definitely still trying to avoid all my suffering and that’s what I did for about 7 more years. When more life problems and suffering would come up, I would put them on the avoiding pile too.
After the last 18 months being filled with anxiety and depression, also the year that was 2020 in general, it was time to try anything I could to turn things around. My best friend Dan, Elli who I grew up with on the GoM course and Chani, an under arm bowling Australian (I presume that’s how she plays cricket), were taking the young adults retreat (YAR) this year (2020). I decided that it was time to give it another go and I was ready to face the suffering.

Read here for the full story.

Listen - Spoken Word Poetry

"Going Home" by Michael McMillan
One of the YAR 2020 participants
Participants of Young Adults Retreat (YAR) on the deck at Omahu

Send in your Stories! 

We welcome contributions to Newsphere anytime. If you have photos, stories, reports, reflections, poems, art, songs or videos you'd like to share with the community please send them to

Garden of Mindfulness Family Retreat

Alice in Wonderland Edition

28 December 2020 – 4 January 2021
This year’s Garden of Mindfulness is based on the themes in “Alice in Wonderland”, including by special request a focus on the Fool archetype via The Mad Hatter, and the rivers of creativity flowing through Sarasvati via Alice. Read more.

2021 Programme

Beginning Now!

An Introductory Meditation Retreat

with Chani, Kath, and Mark, 7 – 12 January 2021

Where do I start?
I’ve never done a retreat before.
There is so much going on in the world. How can meditation really help me and others?
I wish my busy mind could be more quiet and calm.
Silent for 5 days- how could anyone do that?

Read more.

A Glimpse Through The Keyhole

the Preliminary Practices of the Diamond Vehicle

with Bonni Ross, 15 – 29 January 2021

The Individual Vehicle is like walking to India.
The Altruistic Vehicle is like driving to India.
The Transformative Vehicle is like taking a rocket ship to India.

– HH the Dalai Lama

Read more.

Wisdom, Compassion & Non-clinging Awareness

with Tarchin Hearn, 12 – 25 February 2021

Meaningful living begins with an intuition,
life, as vast-mystery-unfolding,
birthing the deeply compelling question;
how to live well in the midst of this dancing of everything and everyone.

Read more.

Inner Wisdom and Penetrative Insight

The Practice of White Manjusri

with Bonni Ross, 16 April – 14 May 2021

To those whose motivation to awaken for the benefit of all beings is strong and determined, this practice of the inner wisdom manifestation of Manjusri, the Bodhisattva embodiment of Transcendent Wisdom, is offered.

Read more.

Be sure not to miss our emails

Please add our email address to your contacts, and if you use gmail for your emails drag this email into your primary inbox tab.
The Wangapeka is now on Instagram
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Website Website
Instagram Instagram
Facebook Community Group Facebook Community Group
Email Email
Meetup Meetup
Copyright © 2020 Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp