Te Wahi Ora Womens’ Retreat is here because of the countless hours of precious time and energy donated by the women that have come and stayed here over the years.
So, who are we then? …
Perhaps we are like Wynsome who, when Te Wahi Ora began would arrive from Paeroa on a Friday afternoon, with a car laden with amazing food, a heart full of enthusiasm for the coming weekend workshop and brimming with empathy for all who came.
Perhaps we are those like Inga, who, in those early days, never came without a gift of towels, soap, biscuits or fruit. Or like Moana in these later days, who stews apples, squeezes our gifted limes and grapefruit for summer iceblocks and helps in many other ways.
Perhaps we are like Lois D who for our first five years made sure that $100 per week went into our bank account to pay for essentials like rates, petrol & repairs. As I write this there are over 50 women who monthly link together in the 400 x 10 project thereby enabling our first full-time paid worker!
Perhaps we are like Jenni, Judy & Sally who after Wynsome’s death came out for weekends of cooking and cleaning while Bev ran the workshops.
Or Jill, Eileen, Sandra, Ann, Lavourney & Janice who helped run those workshops.
Or Barbara, Jill & Lenore who came two days a month for years to write their books, encourage Selma and me in the ‘up-bringing’ of Gavin and who often brought the Older Women’s Network Committee with them for Retreats and training.
Who are we? Perhaps we are the staff who, paid or unpaid, worked to clean, cook, serve, do accounts, newsletters & hostess all who come ensuring that the needs of guests are met as fully as possible.
Perhaps we are like Selma, Carole, Maree, Jacqui, Hua & Susan who all lived at Te Wahi Ora as needed from 18 months to 8 years, playing a big part in the development of our sense of being a healing and vulnerable community.
Or women like Racheal, Chiz, Jill, Shiralee, Helen, Norma, Fay, Hazel, Carol, and lately many others from our working-bees who gave and still give their time and skills freely to build fences, weed gardens, do dishes, lead walks, give out brochures, paint, buy beds and linen, set up systems etc, etc!
Or perhaps like Margaret B, Joslyn G, Kirsty G, Michelle G, Lois R, Val R, Vicki S, Sue, Amanda M & L, Maureen E, Bev R, Andrea, Fiona, Judith, and others who come as guests over and over again supporting us financially, encouraging us by becoming friends, bringing their healing and enriched selves back to keep the mix at Te Wahi Ora strong and vibrant.
Or perhaps, “who are we” is the sum total of the 1,800 women who have enduring links with Te Wahi Ora, giving what they can, coming as they can and always keeping their sense of being on a journey of transforming life for themselves and others!
And lastly, but by no means the least (and this was inserted by the TWO Trust Board and not Bev herself) Te Wahi Ora Women’s Retreat has been made possible over two decades of dauntless time and energy donated by Beverly Holt. Beverly puts flowers in each room and makes sure there is always something flowering in the garden to help lift the spirits of the women staying here. Bev who constantly thinks about, tends and maintains the Te Wahi Ora Retreat Centre on multiple levels and who has dedicated her life to caring for, supporting and encouraging women to care for themselves and thereby achieve a greater sense of their true selves.