By Dan Burgess-Milne
Following August 2023 Board Meeting
Hello Wangapeka community. This is the first Kumanu written by Dan in my role as board liaison for the Comms team. Elli did a wonderful job of this during her time on the board, and I’ll do my best to follow on with the same format.
Minutes and reports:
What’s been happening:
A new board: We say goodbye to Cashy Yates and Tim Leyland, both of whom have been extraordinary contributions to the board. It is sad to see them go, but we are joined on the board by Georgia McCrory-Bowick (who has also just begun a 6 month residency at the centre) and Michael Mackinnon. We meet together the first weekend of September to reorient as a new board.
The Wangapeka Constitution: The Charities Amendment Bill will require a review of governance every 3 years. The AGM passed a motion to examine our constitution as a first step. Michael who has experience in Governance reviews has put his hand up to put together a sub-committee to put together a plan. We will let you know once we have a plan for moving forward.
Bodhi publishing – Namgyal Rinpoche EBooks: Bodhi publishing are converting Namgyal Rinpoche’s books to Ebook format. “We are at the stage where we are close to being ready to finalize the ebook formatting for a number of the titles, and are on track to complete the library by the end of the year.” The Wangapeka has supported this initiative with a donation of $600NZD.
The Annual AGM: This years AGM saw a great turnout of about 30 people on the day with several staying Saturday night and some others Friday as well. There is not to much to say about AGM’s other than it was a great occasion for those attending to catch up in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Special Thanks to Tracy, our Caretaker who organised a wonderful shared lunch from prepared food and food brought up on the day.
What we are reckoning with:
I attempt to write this section objectively, but I am struggling to find an objective framing that captures the essence of what I am trying to communicate, so inevitably this section is communicated through the lens of how I (Dan) am experiencing it.
There is an air of change at the Wangapeka. The conversations around the Year of Service have flown into a number of proposals and projects that explore different pathways in which the Wangapeka centre could be of support to Dharma practitioners.
- We have the new cabin being built that will be more accessible for our ageing teachers. This provides opportunities for teachers such as Bonni and Matthew to spend more time at the centre outside of formal group retreats.
- We also have a 6 month residency happening at the centre, in which Georgia is on site supporting Tracy, maintaining a community of practice, and continuing her professional work for MFE.
- There is also another proposal in front of the board looking at another 6 month residency for some dedicated members of the community.
- For the time being The Land caretaking is now a Voluntary role in line with the Year of Service concept which aims to use more voluntary work to cover some aspects of Wangapeka. We are calling this long term volunteering.
The nature of these proposals are exciting, and they also raise questions about what the Wangapeka is and how it best serves us as Dharma practitioners, which is an ongoing community exploration.
We have a community of wonderful people with a deep commitment to be of service to Dharma, but it seems that for many of us, serving on the board is not the primary way in which we choose to be of service.
This leaves us in a position where we have very few voices on the board at a time where new possibilities are emerging. It feels to me that the board is not here to set the ‘strategic direction’ of the Wangapeka, but simply to offer our time in service of the Dharma to deal with the logistics and legalities of operating a retreat centre in our current culture.
(I want to note here that the vast majority of the operational and executive needs of the centre is met through the brilliant work of our subcommittees – many beings offer their time and skills in service of the centre. I am sure that these committees are open to more volunteers for those who are interested).
We as the Wangapeka are primarily a community of Dharma practitioners, and any legal structures that we maintain in order to allow the centre to operate is secondary. However it feels to me that at times the community is viewed as a hierarchy with the board at the top, rather than laterally as people collaboratively exploring the Dharma together.
What we are grappling with here is an ongoing question about how we ensure that these conversations are being held in a way where the dialogue is coming from all members of the community, and flows cohesively amongst all parties.
Recently we had an attempt to increase community dialogue with the creation of the community forum, but uptake was low and the decision was made to let go of the initiative. How do we find a way for the flow of communication to move smoothly across the diaspora?
As only 5 people giving our time to meeting the logistics of a board, it is difficult for us to also have the time to reflect, reframe, and reinvent communication channels for the community alongside the rest of our commitments. It would be wonderful to have more people involved in the process of finding a way for more voices to be contributing to the discussion.
What we need help with:
50th anniversary: 2025 will be the 50th anniversary of the Wangapeka. There have been many conversations about how we will mark and celebrate this milestone. There have been murmurs of interest, and a few brilliant ideas, but so far the project has not found its wings yet and still remains in an idea stage.
The scope of this feels important, particularly in light of an incident in recent years where an important story of our centre had been lost to many members of the community. How do we capture the story of our centre, and ensure that these stories are held skilfully and meaningfully as we move forward?
The Board is very willing to support anybody who wants to engage in this project. Please contact Dave Pooch if you are feeling motivated.
Open day: Wangapeka has had some successful open days in the past. These are precious opportunities to connect with and grow our community, share and learn from friends and newcomers about the purpose and history of our beautiful Centre. We have one scheduled for this year on September 10th, Simon is organising this. Please contact Simon if you’d like to support.
Support the Centre: There is always lots of interesting jobs to do at the centre that can be allocated to meet your skills and energy levels. A free lift is available up on a Tuesday and Back on a wednesday. Contact Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss jobs and pick up.
People to contact:
Until the board meets in person early September, the roles within the board have not been allocated, and the associated sub-committees have not been assigned. Rest assured, every email will be read by someone, and clarity of roles will be sorted shortly.
|Board Of Trustees|
|Tracy Abbot||Centre Caretakeremail@example.com|
|Brooke Walker||Office Caretakerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Simon Jones||Non-resident land email@example.com|
|Programmes||Karen Harley – firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Health and email@example.com|