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Achieving Charitable Trust status has been an important milestone recognising the work that Te Wahi Ora Retreat has been doing in the community. Te Wahi Ora is one of the very few Women’s retreats in operation and we are committed to providing relief for women in distress and to be sustainable for future generations.
Te Wahi Ora Charitable Trust runs a women’s retreat centre in Piha, West Auckland. The retreat is managed and run by Beverly Holt who began the retreat more than 20 years ago as a response to a need she saw in the community for a place for women to rest and rejuvenate on their personal journeys. One of the guiding principles of the centre is create a space that offers short term retreat for women in need of respite for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are recovering from an illness, healing from abuse or the breakdown of a marriage. Maybe they are caregiving someone who is has mental or physical illness or a child with developmental issues. It could be they are at crisis point with a particular situation in their lives and need some time and space to consider what to so next.
We often say our job at Te Wahi Ora is to “care for the carer’s”. Women are often the ‘carers’ in our society and in some situations the work of caring for others can leave us exhausted or unwell. When women take time to prioritise their own care, as part of caring for their loved ones, research shows their health and wellbeing is heightened. Consequently, the happiness and wellbeing of their family improves and society as a whole benefits. Over the 20 years that Te Wahi Ora has been operating our most consistent feedback is that respite offered at the retreat has been a genuine “life saver” and has significantly helped the women who have stayed here.
We feel it is essential that when women come here their rooms are prepared, all their meals made for them and ‘all the housework is done’ so that all they have to do is relax. Women know that by staying in the more expensive Deluxe suite with ensuite that they are helping subsidise another woman in need in our cheaper accommodation options. These rates have been unchanged for many years and we keep the tariffs as affordable as possible so as not to be a barrier. Obviously as prices rise around us this becomes increasingly difficult. We rely heavily on volunteers and donations to make up the shortfall with regards to running costs, maintenance, cooking, cleaning and part-time staff. Many of the women who have stayed over the years have come back to help with things such as ‘spring cleaning’ or the ‘garden and grounds working-bee’. Many of the women Te Wahi Ora has helped donate money to our Charitable Trust to help us help other women.
“I am very privileged to be in a position where I can choose to donate money to causes that I see are giving life and nourishment to people and society in general. I’d like give others the opportunity to have what I’ve just experienced.”
This is an example of a situation where we would use donated money to subsidise some retreat time for a woman in need of some time and space to consider what to so next. This exert published with the writers permission, however she asked not to be named.
“I desperately need help this weekend to get my head clear. I am 14 weeks pregnant and my relationship is falling apart. I have asked my partner to give me this weekend to sort through what’s going on in my head but I feel I need some outside coaching. I need to sit with myself, something I haven’t been able to do for years… Is there a payment plan or some money in your kitty? I can borrow a small amount off my dad but he doesn’t have a lot either. Can you help me? I feel like I am going to explode. All i can focus on are the massive needs of my kids and I can’t find myself anymore. I am so disconnected and lost. So sorry for the late notice”