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Garden of Mindfulness Family Retreat: Wisdom, compassion, companionship and courage

December 28, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - January 4, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

Bringing mindfulness to wisdom, compassion, companionship and courage. This year we will be enjoying mindfulness meditations playfully based on the themes of the Wizard of Oz.

The Garden of Mindfulness is a family retreat for all ages. Inclusive of all families, it is an opportunity to become familiar with the benefits of being in the present moment and unfolding through play and exploration. GOM offers a rare opportunity to share a retreat space with our families.


This community run retreat is the Wangapeka Centres’ longest running retreat and aims to cultivate kindness, nurture creativity and exploration of mind and nature in a supportive and fun-loving environment. A lot of children, along with ourselves, now experience stress and anxiety in daily life, this retreat aims to reset our batteries so we can be more in tune with nature and our own inner peace and health. A lot of this is done through fun, freedom of exploration and breathing in the fresh air of the Wangapeka which is in the foothills of the Southern Alps providing a calming, clean, unpolluted, pristine environment.


This year GOM will run for 7 nights from 6pm 28th December 2016 to 2pm 4th January 2017. We ask that people attend the whole retreat if possible. If you have any skills or talents you would like to contribute please let us know. We look forward to sharing this retreat with you and your family. For further information, contact Course Manager Lara: laracusdin@yahoo.co.nz


Following the previous two years’ successful teachings, Mira Riddiford will be leading the mindfulness classes for the adults

About Mira Riddiford, the Mindfulness Teacher:  Mira is a New Zealand based meditation and mindfulness teacher. With over 20 years of experience, she has been trained through retreat work, study and apprenticeship. Mira has given Mindfulness classes and retreats throughout New Zealand. Mira has taught mindfulness in education at primary and secondary level, as well as to school teachers. She has taught on mindfulness, stress and wellbeing to Pharmacy students at the School of Medicine at University of Auckland, the Haemophilia Society, Chapman Tripp and many others. Her modern, warm and engaging style breathes life into these meditation teachings. Mira has two children who will also be participating on the retreat. She looks forward to meeting and meditating with you.


This year we have an exciting announcement that Suzanne, a trained theatre professional will be working with the children

About Suzanne Baxtresser, the Children’s Co-ordinator:
“As a performer many years ago one of my first roles was  Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”. So this is a big circle of life come round again for me. I’ve taught theater in many setting including teaching in NYC for 10 years at a East Side Prep School where I taught 4th – 8th grade students.  I led daily theater classes as well as creating a play with 4th graders, and  directed  the 8th grade yearly musical. I have a Masters in Theater Education. When I was  50 years old, I became a Registered Nurse  and worked  in End of Life-Hospice Care for the last 12 years. Since retiring a year ago my time is spent in Hong Kong with my son and his one year old daughter. I am looking forward to meeting you and your children soon.


Retreat Fees 2017/18 (includes accommodation, food and resource fee). Please bring cash for Teacher’s and Cook’s Dana/Koha/Donation

Members of Wangapeka

Adults (per person): $434
Children (per person) 6 -14 years: $171.50
Children (per person) 4 – 6 years: $66.50
Children (per person) Under 4 years: free
Non-members of Wangapeka
Adults (per person): $476
Children (per person): 6 -14 years:  $171.50
Children (per person): 4 – 6 years: $66.50
Children (per person): Under 4 years: free


Dana for the cook: As a guide cooks fee would be $5 a day adults & $3 a day children. Please be as generous as your budget allows.


Dana for the Mindfulness Teacher:  So people from different income brackets can benefit from this retreat, no set fee is put on Mira Riddiford’s teachings. Please give generously according to your means, taking into account Mira has a family to provide for and that meditation teachings are her primary income you could use as a guide $20 – $60 per day.


Have further questions? Contact Course manager Lara Cusdin laracusdin@yahoo.co.nz for further information.


If using Paypal please add 5% of the total cost and include with your payment to cover Paypal’s fees – many thanks.


To register please fill out our online registration form

Register now


*Please consider becoming a Wangapeka member – click here for details.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros Studios.

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December 28 @ 6:00 pm
January 4, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
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