30 Aug 2024 - 01 Sep 2024


6:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Simply Taking Refuge at Wangapeka with John Massey

Friday 30th August 6pm – Sunday 1st September 2pm

It’s really quite simple; in the beginning you take refuge and in the end you take refuge.

Wangapeka, this emergent ecosystem, this sanctuary for humans and creatures is essentially a place of refuge for all beings. Though we have to manage the places and the land where we live, we can do that with open-heartedness and compassion.

One evening when I was at Wangapeka recently, sitting quietly at the round table under the cherry tree, a mother sow and her six little offspring came, at various times, to within an arm’s length of me. Whatever one’s thoughts or preferences about how life and nature should be and how we should interact, in the end there is just nature evolving.

Is it possible to be fully present, taking refuge, in this emergent evolving nature? To open up to the mystery and magic of life with other beings? The four legged ones as well as the two legged, those that seemingly remain in one place and in the vastness of what we call life.

We share this planet with countless sentient beings with whom we are creating an ever present reality, moment by moment.

This retreat is an opportunity to come to Wangapeka, this place of refuge, to find a stillness of body and mind, so that we can deepen our relationship with self and nature, not only of this place we call Wangapeka but also of the greater world.

The practice is one of attunement to the place you are in. It is simple; be comfortable, be at ease and allow yourself to be in nature. From a place of easefulness, allow nature to come into you.

It would seem that many people, even those who enjoy nature, still remain somewhat separate from nature.

This retreat is an opportunity to reconnect. It would seem at this time in history that reconnecting with nature, and nature reconnecting with us, is a very powerful thing. There is a deep healing force in the simplicity of this for each of us, as our simple action of reconnecting reverberates into the lives of others and into the world.

I will give some initial guidance in ways of being at ease, while you are sitting, walking, standing, lying down or just being present.

Since March there has been a retreat of service at Wangapeka, entitled Service as the Path. This service retreat ends at the end of August. It’s possible that volunteers on this retreat might join in on our retreat and it may also be that people who come to our weekend retreat might find an opportunity to offer some service to the centre.

We will have simple, nourishing, vegetarian food, giving us another opportunity to take refuge, this time in the simplicity of eating. We eat of life and life enriches the wholeness of our being.


Costs including simple and nourishing food, a fee for the one who will be creating the food and single room accommodation:

  • Member NZ$168.00
  • Non-member NZ$188.00
  • Camping Member NZ$132
  • Camping Non-member NZ$132

What is not included in the costs is an offering (dana) to the teacher. There is a long established tradition of making a whole hearted offering in appreciation and thanks for the gift of the teaching. Dana is traditionally offered at the beginning of the retreat, by placing an envelope in the dana bowl or box at the centre.

Opportunities for offering dana are many and varied. If you have some thoughts about this, please ask.

Something about John

I have had an interest in plants and trees and deep ecology for many years. I have been a gardener. I am a gardener. Being a gardener is very broad, it covers a multitude of activities. It encompasses learning to live in harmony with gardens and the earth, having respect for other beings, constantly observing and learning about them. Gardens and the earth provide nourishment and wellbeing to the constant and careful cultivator, also an abundance of provisions, beauty and joy and ultimately a place of refuge, a sanctuary. It’s that simple. I’m overflowing with gratitude for the simplicity and abundance. When there is an abundance, the obvious thing to do is to share that. The cycle goes around, what goes out comes back.

Information and Registration

Any enquiries please contact the course manager, Duane Winter

To register please fill out our online registration form

Register now

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

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

Welcome to the Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre. People visit from all over the world to meditate and enjoy the peace of this remarkable destination. The Wangapeka is a purpose built retreat centre, with fresh clean air and beautiful vistas. It is very quiet and ideal for respite, stress relief and deep meditation. We have a meditation hall, solo retreat huts, a main hall for dining and community, and a fully catered kitchen and an onsite vegetable garden.

The Wangapeka Study and Retreat Meditation Centre is a Universalist centre home to a wide range of teachings, paths, and studies. Retreats are held on Mindfulness, Vipassana, Insight, Heart based practices, Loving Kindness, Calm-abiding, Metta, Compassion, Conscious Movement, Nature, Forest Walks, Yoga, Dance, Feldenkrais, Wellness, Wellbeing, Archetypal Integration, Western Mysticism, Non-Duality, Zen, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings with Empowerments and Sadhana Practice.

We are located in the foothills of the Southern Alps overlooking the Wangapeka River, about an hour and a half drive SW of Nelson, in the South Island of New Zealand.

We have meditation retreats throughout the year, have huts available for solo retreats, and welcome bookings from external groups. There are also opportunities available to work on our land. Come and enjoy this uniquely vibrant and peaceful centre.

355 Wangapeka River Rd
R.D.2. Wakefield 7096
New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 522 4221

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