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Newsphere August 2021

Kia ora Wangapeka whanau, 

Recently we held our AGM and Hui weekend, both a rich expression of the flow of generosity and service that makes Wangapeka what it is. 

You can read about the Hui below, and the exploration of Service that has begun and will continue. We have two wonderful articles from Elders Keith Rowan and Bonni Ross on this theme. 

At the AGM, the Board of Trustees gave a deep bow of appreciation and thanks to outgoing members Kath Mitchell and Louise Petzold who have given great attention and care to all of the matters that come before the Board, and continue to serve the Centre in many ways.
Cashy Yates and Dan Burgess-Milne were welcomed as new Trustees. 
They join Shelley Taylor (Co-Ordinator), Tim Leyland (Secretary), Dave Pooch (Treasurer) and Elli Yates on your BoT for 2021/2022.

Thanks to everyone who offers their time, skills and energy to the Wangapeka! 

In this edition you will find : 

Co-ordinators Report to the Community by Shelley Taylor
2021 Hui - An Exploration of Service by Shelley Taylor
Service - A Means and an End by Keith Rowan
Service - The Practice of Going Beyond by Bonni Ross
Opportunities for Service to the Wangapeka
Request for a defibrillator for Wangapeka
Recent Retreat Reflections from "Where the Mind Goes, the Winds Gather" 
The Toilet Paper Episode article by Gaye Rowley

We hope you feel connected and inspired by what you read here.
With love,
Wangapeka Communications Team

Co-ordinators Report to the Community from the AGM

by Shelley Taylor 

What is being on the Wangapeka Educational Trust Board of Trustees about?
What have these WET BoTs been doing?

The Board can be seen as another layer of caretaking, one that keeps in touch with the pulse of the Retreat Centre and Community. Part of our role is to gather and share information, and respond with questions, resources, decisions and support to the other groups of caretaking teams and subcommittees who put in the work to achieve these goals.

Part of our role is to meet legal obligations. We must be good employers, keep finances in order, remain viable, and live within the laws of our country.

Undoubtedly the biggest part is to sit with an open heart and mind, knowing what is here today is built on the aspiration and dedication of all who have gone before, and what arises is in relationship with this as we journey the way forward. The Wangapeka Retreat Centre is a sanctuary offered to meditators of all spiritual traditions and is solidly rooted in traditions of living wisdom and engaged compassion.

Click here to read the full report from Shelley

2021 Hui - An Exploration of Service

by Shelley Taylor 

The hui's the theme was Service.This came forward as a thread to explore from a previous community hui in March, where questions were raised around what is needed for WET's wholesome evolution.
When did these seeds first get sown? Beginningless time? 
This season's seed variety has a flavour of Service...

The weekend started on Friday when a small but dedicated crew worked on a renewed vision for a sustainable salad garden, new seeds, fresh nourishment, a project to be shared, many hands involved along the way, and salads to harvest.

On Saturday we started looking at three questions
'What does ‘service’ mean to me?'

'What encourages or discourages me from freely giving service?'

'To Whom or What do we serve?'

Then we heard from the Elders, who were asked 'What does service have to do with awakening?'.
Later in the afternoon we reflected on the question
'We have an obligation (aspiration/responsibility) as a Dharma Centre to deepen our understanding that 'Service is the path of Awakening'. How might we do this?'

Taking the time to reflect on these questions certainly engaged the heart, along with nourishing food and being together as a community ....the seeds have been nurtured and are swelling with possibility.

A big thank you to Louise Petzold and Jane Hobday for organising the day. 

Sarva Mangalam

More at
Notes taken from small group discussions at the hui -
An Exploration of Service

Service - A Means and an End

by Keith Rowan

At a recent gathering at the Wangapeka the subject of service arose. There was some talk of how the Wangapeka is a place founded on the practice of service and is in itself a manifestation of service both in how it runs and in its very physical existence. I was asked to write something. Though I have nothing new to offer, perhaps these words will engender some reflection.

If we think about it we can see that service is the very heart of the practice, regardless of the level from which we examine it. Service is generosity in action. It is not demeaning but, quite the reverse, is the basis for the development of inner strength and confidence and ultimately, liberation. One definition of service/generosity is “Giving what is of value without attachment.” We give what seems valuable to us without any expectation of something in return. If we expect something, that is called trading! So our valuable time, energy or resources or just our attention are something we can give.

When it comes to what might be called our Dharma practice, at whatever level, service is central. From the basic level, service or generosity, is the primary training, the antidote to clinging and the creator of merit.

To read the full article by Keith click here

Service - The Practice of Going Beyond

by Bonni Ross

There is no awakening without compassionate action. Many practitioners find their growth and unfoldment has stalled, even though their skills as meditators are well-honed, and their lives well-founded in the practices of non-harming. How can this be?
One contributing factor is misunderstanding the importance of service, in the context of dharma practice. Like all words, service carries a load of cultural conditioning. We think of it as “performing good deeds” or “helping out” or “doing our part.” Volunteering fits into the same mental category as writing a cheque to a community charity . . . something we do in order to be responsible citizens and which makes us feel good about ourselves.

One ingredient for enlightenment is purification, which is accomplished through formal meditation and training in continuum awareness. The other ingredient is the accumulation of merit, which includes service. This prerequisite can be the source of conceptual confusion, resistance and ego- embellishment. But what if there is only a little dust in our eyes? Perhaps exploring the concept of service from a different viewpoint will help to bring greater clarity and ease.

To read the full article click here

Opportunities for Service abound! 

by Dave Pooch

A number of good people, not just our valued caretakers, are helping keep Wangapeka on course with its sail set to Awakening for all.

These individuals, interest groups and committees are very open to new people getting involved. What do they do? The maintenance sub-committee has been active recently with all sorts of fix it jobs at the centre. The programmes committee plans well ahead to set a suitable mixture of short and long term courses and retreats. The Comms group uses Zoom to talk about Newsphere and social media. There is a fund raising group too, currently in recess now that the electricity supply has been boosted. Health & safety, trees, garden and finance all have some occasional collective input. And then of course there is the board of trustees. This is the group that gets elected at each AGM and looks after overall governance and financial safety of the centre at its monthly meetings.

Some of these activities are hands on at Wangapeka. Others in this age of Covid and Zoom are hands off. Some are gently ongoing, others are intermittent or occasional.

Do you have interests or skills in any of these areas? Please consider getting involved in an area that interests you. The benefits are mutual!
If you're interested, please email Faith at and she can put you in touch with the group of your interest. 

Would you like to donate a defibrillator to Wangapeka? 

Dave Pooch
Luckily, we have never had a to deal with a sudden cardiac arrest at Wangapeka. But.
If someone did have a heart attack then time is critical. Wangapeka is too far away for a 111 call to an ambulance.  Someone on the spot would need to know how to repeatedly compress the chest of the unconscious person in the right way.
A better alternative in these circumstances is to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). They are designed to shock the heart back into operation. AEDs are commonly available in community centres and at doctor’s surgeries although there is not one in the Wangapeka valley. The nearest one is at the old Tadmor store but even that is too far away in an emergency.
An AED costs some $2,800 depending on the model. While the Centre can afford to pay the annual upkeep fees, we wonder if there is someone who would like to donate or part-donate to cover the cost of the unit. It would be kept on an outside wall of the main hall so would be available to 24/7 to anyone on the property and the neighbours as well.

Two of several New Zealand websites that describe and offer defibrillators are and 

if you would like to donate, contact Dave, or you can make a bank transfer to the Wangapeka bank account: 03-0703-0156597-03 with 'defibrillator' as a reference.  
Please send us an email letting us know you have made the donation, and if you would like a charitable trust receipt for taxation purposes. 

Recent Retreat Reflections

by Melanie, Stephanie, Nicole, and Karen

From the "Where the Mind Goes, the Winds Gather" Retreat with Gaye Rowley

I arrive, I feel anxious. This is out of my comfort zone but I feel a pull to learn and grow so I am also excited. This is my first retreat at Wangapeka and I feel the place has a strange ‘old’ wisdom, I feel like there is a presence of the people before me that have grown, reflected, learnt and developed.
Day one was a surprise! It was a day of sitting riveted to my seat as I soaked in the teaching, I couldn’t have asked for more suited learning that day. Off we went for some silence and once again a surprise – I cried and felt overwhelmed. The thing is, being a mum and a social worker, I am the strong dependable one, I do not need reassurance and rest. This is one of my constructs, I have built up this character!  

The thing is, I was exhausted. I needed to get away from worry, noise, action and busy...So busy. I wondered into the garden to realise even more just how I busy myself and don’t STOP – I see weeds and tell myself not to work, not to pull weeds, it is ok to stop and rest. The garden gave me a lovely lesson and I lay down on the path and calmed my mind.

As the weekend rolled on I was given many more lessons and insights. I was given a book – Natural Awakening - huge gratitude for this book.

I am so grateful that this place exists in the crazy, busy world. It feels extremely important and precious. Massive thanks to Gaye and Jane (the most beautiful hosts and teachers).

Read here for the lovely collection of reviews from this retreat

The Toilet Paper Episode

Gaye (Dawa) Rowley

Minds are like puppies. Excitable, inquisitive, sniffing off in every direction except the one you choose. Even puppies who grow up to take on responsible jobs like rescuing skiers from avalanches, convincing sheep to move through gates, or sniffing out contraband stitched into underwear at airports – even those responsible creatures started out about as reliable as a windsock in a hurricane. If you want a puppy to come to heel you must train it first. Minds are the same.

My mind was as biddable as a steer at a rodeo. If I tried to lasso it with a peaceful thought it tended to snort and buck and leave me in a cloud of dust. But I did believe in meditation and I wanted to give it another try.

Read here for the full article 

Publishing Tarchin's Books in Portuguese

Submitted by Juliana Griese

As you might know, AME publishing house was established with the intention to translate and publish the books of our lineage of mindfulness and Buddha Dharma in Brazil, making the teachings accessible to Brazilians. It is a non-profit collective project, we are now 21 participants supporting the publishing house. We have already published several books by Tarchin and also the book Tales of Awakening.

We are now promoting a crowdfunding campaign to be able to launch Tarchin's books "Meditative First Aid", "Natural Awakening" and a new edition of "True Refuge". In Brazil they have already collected about 50% of the necessary amount and the campaign continues.

We have developed an English webpage where the people of the Sanghas abroad can offer donations and help us realise the project, if they so wish. More information can be found at

2021 Program

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.

Exploring kaitiakitanga of the Wangapeka whenua

with Rob McGowan, 27 – 29 August 2021

Ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata
When the land is well, the people will be well.

Dharmasphere are delighted to host Pa Ropata (Rob McGowan) as he guides us through a weekend of enquiry, connecting us to the whenua and its journey back to health. As the old people said, “All you have to do is get to know the plants and they will tell you everything you need to know” 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.

Don’t Just Do Something … Sit There! 2021

with Jonathan Chambers and Chris Petzold, 24 – 26 September 2021

Want to learn to meditate? Perhaps you have tried and need some more skills and extra encouragement?

Or possibly, you already meditate and wish to develop your practice and drop into a full weekend of meditation.

If so, then this weekend retreat will support you in exploring this.

Read more.

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.

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.

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.

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