What Have These WET BoTs Been Doing? by Shelley Taylor (WET Coordinator)

Coordinators report WET AGM August 1st 2021

What is being on the Wangapeka Educational Trust Board of Trustees about?

What have these WET BoTs been doing?

ABOUT

The Board can be seen as another layer of caretaking, one that keeps in touch with the pulse of the Retreat Centre and Community.

Part of our role is to gather and share information, and respond with questions, resources, decisions and support to the other groups of caretaking teams and subcommittees who put in the work to achieve these goals.

Part of our role is to meet legal obligations: We must be good employers; Keep finances in order, remain viable, and live within the laws of our country.

Undoubtedly the biggest part is to sit with an open heart and mind, knowing what is here today is built on the aspiration and dedication of all who have gone before, and what arises is in relationship with this as we journey the way forward. The Wangapeka Retreat Centre is a sanctuary offered to meditators of all spiritual traditions and is solidly rooted in traditions of living wisdom and engaged compassion.

Our caretaking teams are

  • Our seven Elders who have a depth of knowledge and give ongoing support and guidance for the care of the Wangapeka and its people.
  • The Teachers who guide retreatants and support awakening and healing in meaningful ways to beings from all walks and persuasions of life, and those students who attend.
  • The various teams and subcommittees who apply focused and skilled work in specialised areas: Maintenance, Communications, Programmes, Finances and Fund raising.
  • Office, Centre and Land Caretakers who are on the ground, the welcoming face of the Wangapeka, who work to keep our Centre safe and organised, preparing and holding the space open for teachers and retreatants to enable healing and growth to unfold.
  • WET BoTs of 2020 year and some of their energy focus has been:
    • Louise who worked on caretaker recruitment, updating policy, supporting volunteers and the Centre during our gap between caretakers, organising our March and this most recent community hui. Louise has now stepped down from the BOT for now.
    • Kath also a member of the Comms Team, and worked on volunteer and cook coordination and caretaker wellbeing. Kath is stepping down from the BoT.
    • Dave in the treasurer role alongside Pierre as well as kitchen management, Maintenance and Comms Teams with a financial and business lens.
    • Tim our Secretary, was involved supporting volunteers during the gap, and is active on the Maintenance team
    • Elli has been on the Programmes Committee, organising our November Hui and forwarding our exploration of the Wangapeka’s relationship with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Elli is currently taking maternity leave and intends to return when the time is right.
    • Hadleigh was working on Caretaker recruitment and Health and Safety. Hadleigh stepped down to become a Caretaker
    • Shelley is in the Coordinator role, chairing meetings, caretaker wellbeing, work on November Hui and Covid response
    • Cashy our new member was co-opted in April, who is looking at policy updates.

2020-2021 REFLECTION

  • At our November Hui we found the need to create 2.5 caretaker roles to accurately reflect the volume of work that has evolved, and help remedy the concern of caretaker stress and burnout. We support our Caretakers to find ways to have breaks and remain fresh for their work.

This evolved through Faith stepping in as a relief office caretaker and supporting us through a time when our previous Caretakers Amber and Patrick left, and we had no new ones on the horizon. The BoT stepped in to coordinate, and relied on our teams, volunteers (Fred and Ramon) and Paul, as a three month Land Caretaker to get us through the summer months until we employed Malu and Hadleigh in February. With Hadleigh freshly stepping off the Board, and Malu attending our November Hui, these two had a strong commitment to keep self-care a reality and have been developing a pool of relief caretakers so they can take planned breaks. They are also coordinating ways to invite and host long term volunteers and cooks to support the work, participate in retreats and be part of the community of practice at the Centre.

  • In March the BoT invited Elders and various Teams who have been in active roles to a weekend Hui to help our vision for the future.

From this the BoT decided to: meet the increased wage budget by raising accommodation fees slightly; research ways to encourage group and solo retreats; remain accessible for those with limited finances such as through the Sangha Support fund and keeping the Young Adults Retreat (YAR) fees at a lower rate.

Clarity emerged on the use of the land across the stream, leaving it undisturbed to keep quietude and sanctuary as a priority.

We started monthly community zoom conversations to explore how we individually, and the Wangapeka Educational Trust can engage with Te Tirirti o Waitangi.

  • The WET have been recipients of much generosity over this last year.

Tarchin and Mary have been winding up Wangapeka Books and donated $7,000 dollars to Wangapeka Educational Trust, with the wish for it to be available for publishing further dharma books if possible. Wangapeka Books was born in generosity and has continued in this spirit with sales from books going into further publications and charitable work. The Trust has benefitted greatly over the years and appreciate this possibility for the future.

The 2020 Year of Clear Vision group have compiled Namgyal Rinpoche Legacy Video archive, and these are now on the website. Dana from this final retreat is to go towards creating a hedge or trees to screen the new power pole.

Many others have also donated funds, equipment and energy to the Centre.

LOOKING FORWARD

A Dwelling Team have approached the Board with a proposal for a two person dwelling, that would support older teachers, their assistants and meditators to undertake longer solo retreats. The dwelling would be self-contained and have ease of access. This is to be fully funded and project managed by the team who have made the proposal. The Board supports this initiative.

Recently the sign Whare Wananga was taken down by a group on a course and questions raised by them about the appropriateness of the name and cultural appropriation. The Board has decided to leave the sign down while we embark on a process of understanding the original naming of the Whare, gain cultural advice and continue the ongoing journey, conversations and relationships with the Wangapeka Trust community, local iwi and our engagement with Te Tirirti o Waitangi.

Later this month dharmasphere is hosting Rob Mc Gowan (Pa Ropata) in exploring Kaitiakitanga of the Wangapeka whenua to deepen understanding of protecting the land, increasing bio-diversity and the vision and principles of Tiwaiwaka.

JOIN US

The Board and the Subcommittees or Teams are looking for more members to join us.

You might have a specialised interest in aspects of running the Centre that may be sparked in a team, or you might be available for the overview work of the Board.

Meetings are generally monthly and often by zoom.

Coming onto a team or the board is where opportunity and service come together as active Sangha member reciprocity.

To join the Board you need to have been a member for a year, and you must be a member of Wangapeka for a year before you can vote at the AGM.

Thank you everybody. May we continue to hold the vision of : Supporting all beings in awakening to Wisdom and Compassion through the cultivation of Non-clinging awareness; Fostering open-hearted inquiry into the profound interconnectedness of all manifestations of life; Encouraging healing of body, energy and mind both for individuals and for the community at large.

Shelley Taylor

Wangapeka Board Coordinator