Kia ora e te whānau
E ngā iwi o te Motu; ānei mātou te whakaruruhau o te kotahitanga e whakatau ana ia koutou, tautokohia, hāpaitia tēnei kaupapa: A co-design, research and co-production process kicked-off in 2014 resulted in the launch of Taranaki Retreat as a response to a significant need in Aotearoa New Zealand for a peer-support service that included a residential “Space to Breathe”.
Those doors nervously opened in 2017.  Five years on, we are taking a ‘Pause Moment’ with you, our support whānau, to look back and look forward. So, please, grab a cuppa, be comfortable, and take a moment for reflection and thanksgiving for all that has been, and all that is yet to come!
Here’s the paddock where we began. And…. Here’s what it looks like to walk in, these days! Our “Space to Breathe” is a beautiful trauma-informed sanctuary, and speaks gentle volumes.

  • It is regularly blessed for purpose, and opens the arms of the whānau, the pets and the community to express hope, awhi and restoration.
  • It is with pride, at every Induction of new groups of whānau and individuals arriving, we tell the true story that everything the surrounds and awaits is the community’s gift – a physical expression of compassion and understanding.
  • The kaupapa is… people supporting people: People gave the land, the buildings, the plants, the kai; they knitted the blankets and dug the trenches, and then, five years ago, said, “Nau mai, haere mai – Welcome.”
  • Bit by bit, the site has been added to, as we’ve fundraised, beautified, built and learned from each person who has stayed or visited (“What helps? What doesn’t help?!”). A PhD Research Project and External Evaluation work has been crucial in guiding us. Our Host Whānau have cooked, cleaned, cared, cheered and cried alongside each of the thousands of individuals and whānau who have found “Space to Breathe” here.

Entering into our support network is simple. You can phone, text, email, rock up at Waimanako, or hit up our support portal, right here.

  • Even now, new building work is happening on the site – Cathy’s Care Centre, which will bring us extra support/counselling space, an accessible bathroom, and a Reception/Team mahi area is so very nearly complete! Newsflash that the gib started going up this week:
…and here’s a sneaky peak at the outside, weatherboarding looking so beautiful!
​Our five-year birthday is our time to acknowledge what the community has given, and continues to give, through this Space to Breathe.

  • The Ministry of Health published the report Every Life Matters in 2019 with specifc action points for suicide prevention in Aotearoa New Zealand. The report specifically recognises “Government agencies have a responibility to lead some components of this work but cannot reduce suicide on their own.  They need to support services and communities to lead other components”.
  • Ms Carla na Nagara (former director of the national suicide prevention office) commented back then, “Through my work as a coroner I’ve seen that suicide is not always the result of a mental health problem or a simple moment of distress.To be understood it needs to be seen in the wider context of a person’s life…….we need to do more.

Taranaki Retreat is a place and a people seeking to walk exactly this talk. Reading this, you are part of this movement for social change, too. Thank you.

Our Host Whānau and Peer Support Team will, as ever, be welcoming new Guests into the space and providing the opportunity for really focussed support – not beset by the environmental/situational stressors which so often make it impossible for us to discern ‘a way forward’ – but held by the aroha of a community and a nation that is working to achieve an end to suicide. Person by person, situation by situation, we are getting there.

Our longed-for aim is to be present and involved before the wheels come off. It is a tragedy that any person could ever reach the point of suicidal distress. It is, therefore, crucial that you know: The Retreat and Waimanako are not just for a particular type of situation or level of distress. We want to work to pull the amblance way, way back from the edge of the cliff. Sometimes people say, “Do I have to be suicidal to access your support?” Nope. Just wonderfully human! This means you!

Shared with permission, “I saw you guys are celebrating five years. Happy Birthday!! I was one of your first Guests and I will never forget what you did for me and the others were staying too. I was so broken, and I knew I couldn’t go on any more. I owe my life to the Retreat and that I am now clean, free and can honestly say, a good mother. It was hard to write that, but I know that it’s true.

A space to rock up….
Partnership with New Plymouth District Council enabled Waimanako;/The Hope Centre to be established in 2021. YESSS!! The service focuses on developing and implementing care models which will strengthen the community, build whānau resilience, improve and facilitate access to support with equity through increased integration of services to better link community, primary and secondary services.

  • Waimanako is a space (five premises in all) in which:
    • Clinical and non-clinical services can collaborate to provide a simple and immediate point of access; information (and onward referral to allied services as appropriate)
    • There’s peer listening support; well-being services (through a raft of workshops such as “Wellness”, “Stress Busters”, “Grief and Loss Support”, “Recovery Support”, “Connection through Creativity”, “You are Not Your Thoughts”)
    • We offer simple, nutritious kai for koha (“Pay What you Feel”) – By the way – our new Baked Spuds menu is such a HIT! A delicious feed, and my personal favourite… Specially with creamy mushrooms… Mmmmm
    • Taranaki has an evening sober socialising space to support people abstaining, and helping us all to re-connect after so many lockdowns. This ‘safe space’ is available to the community six days a week, through to 9pm. One day, when funding allows, we yearn to see those hours to be increased to a 24/7 service. It needs to be!
    • Waimanako supports hundreds of whānau by appointment and drop-in each week, and also tends to the needs of our rough sleepers in the city – providing food, respectful listening ears; and company on the journey. We are blessed to offer constant coffees and kai, and that the threshold feels safe to cross without judgement.
Monday Board Games Night 

​- for example (5pm onwards) is a much-loved feature (Bring your favourite board game, and some friends – or join up with a group when you get here, and enjoy a very wholesome evening accompanied by great kai for koha.)

  • The most important aspect of it all, though, is the provision of an option for anyone who needs it, to be able to access listening support now – without appointment or barriers. We all know that ED is not always the right place, when the wheels are wobbling off – often, the opportunity to connect into a support journey, today – simply and with the help of a feed and a hot chocolate is the right answer.
  • One evening this week, I was on Listening Ear duty. One of those I supported articulated, with tears (shared with consent), “I took myself up Paritutu today. Then some kids arrived and of course I couldn’t do it. Somebody told me about this place. I just need someone to talk to.
  • The hospo wrap-around also gave us the ability to partner with MSD with a pilot project. and offer placements for people working through difficult times, to find a pathway back to mahi. It’s been the coolest thing, and the people we have met and worked with through it – have brought such amazing energy and courage into Waimanako. We mihi to them…. and are very, very hopeful that the vision is there to offer this as a long-term programme for our community.

Here’s what a few of our visitors have written down about Waimanako:

  • As someone who struggles tith BPD, I live alone and pay a LOT in bills. Appreciative of the generosity and kindness
  • Love it! 2nd time here and the food was lovely. Will be a regular for sure. The whole idea is inspirational.
  • Great place, lovely comfort kai. our community is very lucky to have  such a wonderful place to come to. Nga mihi ki a koutou moe te kai reka!
  • Fabulous – thank you for lovely warm space and fab food. I am encouraging my tweens (who seem to think town is a ‘cool’ place to out with their friends) to hang at here as it is a safe place to be!
  • Thank you so, so much for your manakitanga. Blessings

Birthday Events – JOIN IN, wherever you are:)
The Team of five hundred and fifty five.
Cards on the table: It has been a BRUTAL time to keep our doors open and to continue to do what we do – Covid has slapped down our community fundraising efforts, whilst the increase in need has been exponential. We really need your help to keep doing what we’re doing; simply to fund the staff team and train/support/care for our volunteers; and to provide the resources to each person and whānau who reaches out for support.
Remember the dream of the Team of 5 million, and how it brought us all together? We are aiming high, and aiming to achieve the TEAM OF 555. 555 supporters who will be awesome enough to support us with a monthly AP of $5 (a coffee!), $55 (a dinner out!) or more! Could you / Would you be part of this team? Please?! Our GiveALittle Page is right here. We need YOU on the teamo.
  • Thurs 1st Sept – The start of our birthday celebrations!  Come and join us for our launch night at Waimanako!  Live music, dance acts, silent auction, more details here.
  • Sat 3rd Sept – Working Bee to beautify the deck area at Waimanako – 1pm-3pm. Gloves and gumboots recommended. Painting, planting, clearing, and installing!
  • Sat 10th Sept – World Suicide Prevention Day Cycleathon.  Our virtual journey from Cape Reing to Bluff kicks off.  We are looking for cyclists to book in their slot on the exercise bikes at Waimanako this day here​.  Not local? We still need you involved! Find out how, here
  • Also on World Suicide Prevention Day – you are warmly and lovingly invited to visit Waimanako at any time during the day or evening (10am-9pm). A space will be set aside for you to light a candle, and for reflection, with quiet music. Karakia will be provided, and a support person will be available to stand alongside you as you light your candle, and share – or take some time in quiet. To all attending, we welcome you to receive a wristband and a hot chocolate or coffee ‘on the house’ – and to write a message. More details here
  • Tues 13th Sept – International Chocolate Day!  Even more reason to celebrate… Chocolate-themed events will be happening during the day and evening at Waimanako (remember those chocolate fountain days? They’re back!)
  • Sat 17th Sept 9am-1pm – Pop Up Op Shop and Bake Sale at Waimanako: Clothing, books, toys, handmade crafts, furniture, quilted blankets
  • Sat 17th Sept – Soul Board Workshop, Waimanako.  Join Liz, our LIfe Coach for this popular workshop, all ticket money going to Taranaki Retreat.  More details and to reserve your space here
  • Sat 24th Sept – Our Living Library Event.  We are really excited to have this back in the mix again!  We have some human books lined up to share their story.  Click here to decide which stories you want to book in for…
  • 26th September – October 2nd – Mental Health Awareness Week – there will be many workshops on during this week for you to come and get involved in! 

​Check out our birthday page, and refer back to it regularly for updates, if you would like to receive the newsletter, then please subscribe here.

We suspect that you’re busy. You took the time to read through our newsletter today. Lovingly, we thank you for the gift of that time. We acknowledge YOU, and your journey.
We send you our aroha and manaakitanga.
Jamie, and all at Taranaki Retreat – Space to Breathe
We’re proud that Taranaki Retreat Trust is community funded and thank you immensely for your support.
Manaakitanga, Jamie, and the whole Taranaki Retreat Whānau, local and national.
We welcome corporate donors to help us to continue to provide support in our community.Please contact us at [email protected] to discuss.