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Women Sharing their Wisdom

Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

“Every stage of life has both purpose and gift,” says Joan Chittister in a recent email, “and there is nothing a youth centered culture (like ours) needs more than it needs its ‘elders’.

We have set aside 3 dates in 2018 for older women (anywhere from 50 onwards!)
March 23rd – 25th (Two spaces available due to cancellation – be quick!)
June 22nd – 25th   (Sorry waiting list only available already!)
November 23rd – 25th  (Places full. Sorry waiting list only)

You are invited to explore this vital time of life into which more healthy, well educated, aware, compassionate women are moving into, than ever before in history.

We want to reclaim the ancient awareness that getting old is a privilege and comes the sacred responsibility. A Kaumatua of Piha’s Te Kawerau a Maki people named this responsibility as ‘holding the beingness of the tribe’.

By giving yourself the gift of these 3 weekends, you will eat, sleep, walk, swim, talk, listen, write, and draw towards your aim of finding, exploring and consciously living your own ‘organic’ spiritual dimension to life.


After a leisurely Saturday’s breakfast we will meet at 9.30 a.m. for our first session. Our basis for this will be the poet Robert Browning’s lines:

Grow old along with me,

the best is yet to be;

the last of life for which the first was made…

”A whole was planned, Youth shows but half; trust…

See all, nor be afraid.”

The rest of the morning is free for reflection. We may want to walk;  sleep;  talk;  write;  or even swim.

We meet again for lunch – hopefully in the garden weather permitting – when we share as much or as little as we want from the morning’s reflections.

After lunch, free time to rest or reflect until 3.30 pm when we meet again for our 2nd session – the meaning of eldership is about ‘holding the beingness of the tribe’?

1.  Te Kawerau a Maki’s ancient meaning.

2.  Te Kawerau a Maki’s current meaning.

3.  Our personal ancient and current meanings.

Drinks, dinner and sharing of reflections from 6.30 pm. Retire for an early night.

Sunday, we meet again for our 3rd session. Lunch, final statements of ‘understanding and awareness’, and leave for home around 3pm.

Our Aim:
Mrs Joan Erikson, of the “Stages of Human Development” fame, admitted at 93 years of age, that when it came to explaining the final stages of life, she and her husband, Erik, “we got it wrong”.

What women have been asking for a chance to get together, share experiences and concerns of this unique journey of aging, in order to discover insights and possible beliefs that could enable us to live in such a way that we offer hope to ourselves and young women that  “there are some paths in aging that can feel ‘right’.

Come to whichever weekend you can, or better still, plan to come to all three. The dates again are:

March 23rd – 25th (Two spaces available due to cancellation – be quick!)
June 22nd – 25th   (Sorry waiting list only available already!)
November 23rd – 25th  (places available)

The cost is the normal price for a weekend at Te Wahi Ora – you can even ask for the accommodation you’d like to have – first in first served!

Looking forward to sharing this weekend with you,


Click here to book>>

Te Wahi Ora Women’s Writing Weekends 2018

Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

The Te Wahi Ora Writing Weekends continue by popular demand! Below are the dates for 2018. Places on these weekends do sell out so PLEASE, if you are interested in participating in one of these wonderful creative weekends please consider booking early.

Spend and enjoyable with like-minded women interested in creative writing. Share your thoughts and writing (optional) or write in companionable proximity. The focus of this weekend is making time and space for you to write.

All meals are provided and let us know when you book if you have any dietary requirements.

First Women’s Writing Weekend 2018
9th March – 11th March 2018 (all places on this weekend are now filled)

Second Women’s Writing Weekend 2018
6th July – 8th July 2018

Third Women’s Writing Weekend 2018
9th November – 11th November


Please use the online Booking Form or email us to check availability.


Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

Talking of having inspiring guests to stay! KH had a transformational weekend!  She was able to find this image and write this poem to help capture a little of her inner experiences.


Seduced by the frothy white foam between her thighs,
distracted by the azure of those vast skies,
she ignored the wisdom of Sofia
to leave the safety of terra firma.

Cool water lapping, replaced by churning water crashing
as pounding, roaring waves rolled her over and over and over,
‘til drowning or transformation
were her only options.

She emerged with seaweed hair – dark and glistening,
with sand dune breasts and paua nipples,
with shimmering skin of sand and salt patterns
and with a powerful tail of blue and gold scales.

EM recently wrote, “Te Wahi Ora is one of my favourite places To go by myself or others when I need a real rest and retreat. Its beautiful setting, comfortable accommodations, delicious food, and warm welcome are always a joy. Invariably I meet interesting women, some becoming good friends. Te Wahi Ora is a gem of a place located not far from Auckland [but a world away].”

Lisa wrote “It’s fantastic to see all the progress and great news happening at Te Wahi Ora. I’m glad you finally gave people the opportunity to support something so worthwhile. I’ve just donated a year’s worth ($120) for your 400 x 10 campaign.”

For Example Liz wrote this at our last Writing Weekend ….

I said, “I don’t just want to support our country’s new government with my vote, I want to be part of the change that it promises for Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Bev described the story she had been told of Piha’s Mana Whenua’s “elders” living at the north end of Piha beach with the sacred task of ‘holding the beingness of the tribe’. She asked me if that was what I was meaning.

Hilary said, “Write about it.” So, I had a go.

Against all odds and against the toxic flow of these turbulent tides, the people of Aotearoa, our little country in the South Pacific, have been given the most precious gift – the opportunity to transform the way we live in our country.

We have a Prime Minister who talks about kindness, empathy and a collaborative approach to government. Jacinda wants people to feel that our government is open, that it listens and is different.

The start has been promising. Teina Pora is to get his due; the refugee quota will be increased; a Climate Commission will be established; extra parental leave awarded and three strikes are out.

So far so good then! Yet, all the time I am on tenderhooks. I’m fearful of sabotage of this miraculous opportunity by political divisions, greed, lies and self interest.

The question that I pose to myself now, is, “what can I (and others like me) do to be the container for this great and glorious project, to join Aotearoa’s sacred tradition of holding the ‘beingness of the tribe’?

We all witnessed how brilliantly Moondil constructed our handsome tin shed. Moon writes from USA that she needs to move to a sympathetic country to earn money working in conservation biology or native conservation in general in order to then find a way to finish her PhD. Can any of us help Moon obtain a job in New Zealand and therefore be able to get a working visa.

KG was overheard saying that she “wasn’t sure if Te Wahi Ora has any idea of the magnitude of what happens in the rooms where we stay. Do they truly realize the life changing experience they offer women?

It is a magical place of healing on every level. Your body is fed nutritious food; your senses are deliciously overwhelmed by the smells and sounds of the ocean.

Te Wahi Ora is, to me, a place of hope…. A place you can come back to again and again and each time you learn something new about yourself.”

And from Carolyn Hughes who stayed with us recently from the South Island …..

We were friends, Lis and I. Both of us liked to rethink how to ‘do’ politics, society and the economy!   So Lis and I started The Land Trust NZ

Our aim is to bring together older farmers with land, but no succession plan, with young growers who seek land but have no means to buy it!

The Land Trust NZ can match both parties and guide them through the legal and financial process. The result being happy people living on the land and trying out new enterprises that keep farms alive and viable.

Tragically, Lis passed away. Yet her formidable energy and wisdom is nourishing us still. The Land Trust NZ is achieving its goals.

Bronnie wrote saying that she returned home restored, full of love and joy again. The food, she described as, ‘a gift,’ so lovingly prepared and presented.

And as for Pohutukawa, her chalet,well, it felt like sleeping in the middle of a veggie patch. “Paradise to a keen gardener,” so Bronnie says

Hilary came up with a very welcomed surprise the other weekend – a recipe for bread like we used to enjoy in the old days – the ultimate “fail safe” Keto Buns!  Gluten Free!


150 gm of Almond Meal Flour

40 gm of Psyllium husk

60gm Coconut Flour

75 gm Flax Seed Meal

2 tsp granulated garlic

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp Cream of Tartar

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp sea salt

6 whole egg whites

2 whole eggs

2 cups of water


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.

Use SCALES TO MEASURE all the ingredients carefully.

Mix all the dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, flaxseed, psyllium husks powder, garlic and onion powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

Add the egg whites beaten until stiff, and whole eggs, and process well until the dough is thick.   Add boiling water and mix well.

Make the buns and place them on a non-stick baking tray – usually makes 10.

Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them cool down to room temperature.


We have plenty of accommodation available for January and February 2018 if you too would like to taste Keto Buns, sleep in veggie patches, enjoy lovingly prepared food and be inspired to change your life and the lives of others! Click here to book

Want to go back to the Newsletter? click here >>


Posted in Te Wahi Ora News


Our greatest improvement is having Ange Wilcock on the team. Ange drives into Piha around 9.30 a.m. She hostesses Te Wahi Ora for 4 days. Then on a Monday evening, you’ll find her driving the 2.5 hours home. Welcome to Te Wahi Ora Ange!

Retreat Centre Improvements

At last, the tin shed, needed to protect our water pump and precious generator donated by the supportive Trillion Trust, is FINISHED! And the new garage-bathroom door is fab! Next improvement on the list will be mozzie screens in bedrooms!

Returning Home Improvements

And Michelle, on returning home from Te Wahi Ora, put some home improvements in place – like bulk meals in her freezer for later use and a friend who brings dinner every Thursday (Michelle’s nightmare day) and joins in the family meal! Good planning, Michelle and fantastic self care!

Kirsty’s Cottage available for women ‘carers’ for koha

Kirsty Garner, now of Otago, has just come through the years of caring for an increasingly unwell partner, and has journeyed through the grief of his dying. Her vision of ‘improving’ the lives of similar women, is to make her Kirsty’s Cottage available for women ‘carers’ who need a break – somewhere to rest and be looked after. The cost is by Koha! Click here to enquire >>

Expanding our understanding of the second half of life

“Every stage of life has both purpose and gift,” says Joan Chittister in a recent email, “and there is nothing that a youth centered culture (like ours) needs more than it needs its ‘elders’.

We have set aside 3 dates in 2018 for older women (anywhere from 50 onwards!) to come and explore this vital time of life into which more healthy, well educated, aware, compassionate women are moving into, than ever before in history. We want to reclaim the ancient awareness that getting old is a privilege and comes with the vital responsibility that the Kaumatua of Piha’s Te Kawerau a Maki people named as ‘holding the beingness of the tribe’.

Let us become part of the global shift towards expanding our understanding of the second half of life.

If we could untangle the mysteries of life and unravel
the energies which run through the world;
if we could evaluate correctly
the significance of passing events;
if we could measure the struggles, dilemmas
and aspirations of mankind
we could find that nothing is born out of time.
Everything comes at its appropriate moment.
J. Sizao

Photo: The north end of Piha Beach where the cliff looks like a reclining woman! Piha, with its Kaumatua traditions at the northern end of the beach, is a great place to explore our developing future sacred role as older women. Our special weekends for developing this awareness are:

March 23 – 25th 2018
June 23 – 25th 2018
November 23 – 25th 2018

Read more

Keeping Te Wahi Ora Afloat

Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

Our big news is that the ‘equivalent’ of 103 women have joined the 400×10 project (that aims for 400 women making $10 monthly automatic payments). That’s great. We are blessed. Plus other women who contribute monthly to the Wynsome Fund.

The Wynsome Fund is in memory of our co-founder whose generosity always wanted to give ALL women access to healing breaks. It is this spirit that has turned Te Wahi Ora into a Charitable Trust. “I sure am in need of a break and am ecstatic about this chance,” we read on one application for sponsored accommodation.

Bronwen stayed with us in November and wrote “I am keen to support Te Wahi Ora as I totally believe in the need and it is growing greater by the day. I will do what I can for now by volunteering my gardening services when I can and donating $10 a month to the 400 x 10 project. La aroha me rongo (with love in peace)

JB is promising to donate towards a pump that would assist the water pressure in the Seaview Suite!

KP is offering to pay the carpenter for fitting the new door into the Garage Bathroom.

How heart-warming is all that! And there’s lots more …

Moana, who worked for us for many years, has spent the winter picking lemons off ‘friendly’ trees for Te Wahi Ora’s use.

And SB warned us when she returned home from her weekend retreat, that she had made a “sneaky, little donation” for Te Wahi Ora – her $2,000 arrived just as our Trading A/c went into OD and the accountant sent in his bill for the year!

Amazing – thank you, thank you everyone.

Annette, who knew nothing about us !! discovered the work of Te Wahi Ora on line, and wrote,

“Kia ora, What a beautiful kaupapa, to find people to donate for other wahine in their time of need. Mauri Ora. Just donated for 400 x 10 – please email a reminder each year. Nāku iti nei” Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

No wonder the Team at Te Wahi Ora have courage to keep going – thanks, everyone!

In case any potential new sponsors were wondering what they could do ?

We have broken Chairs that could be fixed for $258 and $50.

We have the chance of Mozzie Screens in each bedroom:
Seaview Suite $285
Chalets $160 each (2)
Daisy Lounge $155
Caravan $155

Click to email us if you’d like to join the 400×10 project or sponsor a one-off improvement!

or go to the 400 x 10 Project page on our website under DONATIONS in the main menu.

As Te Wahi Ora Women’s Retreat is a Charitable Trust all donations are tax deductable.

We had BIG issue with our email…

Posted in Te Wahi Ora News

We have had a major EMAIL PROBLEM! During a recent email changeover we didn’t realise our incoming emails were being redirected to Jupiter… or maybe it was in to an intergalactic portal in an other dimension… the main point is that the email did not get through! You were emailing us but we were not receiving your welcome communications for what seems could have been… weeks. The problem is now fixed so PLEASE RESEND YOUR EMAILS. We’d love to get them!
And please pass this message on to anyone you think may have needed us and thought us so busy and rude we wouldn’t reply. And a big thank you to those of you who persevered via Facebook etc and alerted us to the problem.