Pātai – Frequently asked questions

Nau mai haere mai, welcome:)

Just below, we have gathered information that we hope you will find helpful.

Pātai – Frequently asked questions

Nau mai haere mai, welcome:)

Just below, we have gathered information that we hope you will find helpful.

The Basics

All you need to know about our tautoko/support services, and other essentials.

What our Tautoko Looks Like


Every day, many people connect with Taranaki Retreat through our Outreach Programmes.

A Listening Ear

We need to be ‘heard’. If you are based in Taranaki, or in one of the areas in the country where we have a volunteer base – or otherwise, if you’re near a phone or a computer, our listening ears are available. So of the ways in which they can connect up with you are through:

  • Check-ins by text/email – some people find this the easiest – when talking out-loud is not your go-to
  • Conversations by Skype/Zoom or over the phone – knowing there’s a human being you can connect up with and talk through the challenges of the week
  • Journalling – with a ‘Buddy’ alongside you
  • Meeting up over a cuppa – at Waimanako (our Support Hub) / your home / your workplace / a cafe


We have an awesome kete of programmes which we tailor to suit. These include the likes of:

  • Cultural Support – help to reconnect to your roots and know, ‘Ko wai au’
  • Grief Support – through one-on-ones and Workshops
  • Huaawhi / Life-coaching – support to begin a new chapter in life, discovering your green zone, and realising what it’s costing you to be in the ‘red zone’
  • Addictions Tautoko – if you’re struggling with coping strategies which are not serving you well (eg alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling) – we will understand and help
  • Wairua/Spiritual Tautoko – we think of the person holistically (te whare tapa whā), and recognise that we all have a spiritual aspect to our being; this part of us is often hurting or hungry
  • Hands-on – some of us heal best by doing. Our ‘Building Mates’ programme is about learning a new skill / getting stuck in with power-tools / doing a bit of woodwork or landscaping
  • Alternatives to Self-Harm – we have a programme here to tautoko people of all ages who are struggling with thoughts or actions of self-harm
  • Access to Counselling – it may be that long-term therapeutic tautoko is the right call. But you don’t know where to start / how to afford it. We can help!
  • Awhi and Advocacy – it can be tough getting the information or support you need – for example with housing or benefits, or finding employment. Maybe it’s the time to get some help with that
  • Relationship Tautoko – if things are not so good between the two of you, we have a programme which might be just what’s needed
  • Letting Go – many of us carry heavy burdens which we long to be free from. We can help you here – our firepit, for example, with a witness alongside you, can bring liberation

There’s plenty more. But, for now, we just want to give you a taster.

Residential Stays

Alongside our Outreach Programmes, Taranaki Retreat has a residential facility, located near Omata. It’s a friendly, welcoming place where individuals or whānau can deal with tragedy or life challenges. There is often a great mix of people of different ages and backgrounds staying. The Retreat is set in a peaceful, rural location, with a full-on view of Maunga Taranaki. The 2.5 acre site has lots of little walkways and places to sit quietly and chill; ducks, chooks, goats, rabbits, and dogs to pet and feed; and people who care. We offer short residential stays, once we’ve both got to know the situation and agree that this is the right call. Staying residentially isn’t for everyone, and is always part of a plan that we work up together.

Some who stay have been touched by suicide, or are dealing with loss or depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. Some people need time out from their situation at home – or come and stay with their whānau as part of their healing – for example, following a crisis.

Crisis / Emergency Tautoko Services

Are you seriously concerned for your welfare or your loved-one’s welfare, right now?

​Taranaki Retreat is not a ‘crisis service’ – we are a non-clinical, whānau-based time-out space, for our community to have somewhere to turn for recovery after trauma, or in finding hope and their next steps.

​Please, never hesitate to share your situation – either with us or with one of these helping services:


If it is an emergency, or you, or someone you know, is at risk, call 111.

Where to get help:

1737, Need to talk?
 Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland, ​or Text ‘Help’ to 4357
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865
Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 269 4389

For Rangatahi (young people):
Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234, email [email protected] or online chat
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54  for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.
thelowdown.co.nz – email [email protected], or free text 5626

For Anyone Experiencing or in Danger of Abuse
Shine: – 0508 744 633

For Anyone Who Identifies as LGBTQIA+
Outline: – 0800 688 5463, Open 10am to 9pm weekdays, 6pm – 9pm weekends

​Kāore koe i te noho takitahi.

You are NOT alone.

Manaakitanga: Our Commitment to Confidentiality

We want you to know what we do to keep your information safe.

At Taranaki Retreat, our work often involves sensitive situations. We have a commitment to confidentiality and we deeply respect your right to privacy. We want you to know that we have rules and procedures to protect sensitive information about you, your whānau, or your child being given to anyone who does not have a right to such information.

As we aim for the very best of outcomes for all those we serve, we are committed to whakawhanaungatanga – working in a connected way with other helping services in our community (for example, we sometimes help people who are seeking budgeting support, or we advocate with WINZ). But rest assured, if we feel it would be helpful to contact anyone outside our organisation to give or receive information, we will always discuss this with you first, and ask for your consent before we proceed.

We have two common-sense limitations to that confidentiality, which we stick to as best practice, and these are:

– When the safety of another person (and, especially, rangatahi – a child or young person) is at risk – we may need to share information.
– When there is a risk to the person we are supporting, including from the person themselves. For example, this may mean contacting the ABC Team to request support if a person shares that they are feeling at risk of harming themselves.

Should you have any concerns or pātai/questions regarding this policy you are welcome to discuss them with us on 06 2150993, talk to one of our rōpū, or drop us a message.

Tautoko: Outreach Support Info

Taranaki Retreat offers Outreach Support Programmes which are entirely geared around being alongside you through the tough stuff. Here are some of the ways that we can help:

Research and Advocacy

“I’m not sure where to turn to for support; I’m hoping there’s something out there for me/my whānau.”

Our service is not the ‘right fit’ for every situation. However, those who reach out to us often are helped by our rōpū’s awareness of “what’s out there” – and all the services where we have built connections and relationships.

Support Check-ins

“I’m feeling isolated in my situation, and just wish I had someone to chat to.” / “I find it difficult to talk, but being in touch by email is much much easier.”

Need to know someone is there for you? Someone to check in with you and chat? We will contact you on a regular basis (for example, every Wednesday at 2pm) – by your preferred method of comms (phone/text/email/Skype/Zoom)

Outreach Support Visits

“I’d like to come to Waimanako or the Retreat Site, to visit – and be in a safe environment”

“Could someone come to my home to chat? Or could we meet in a cafe?”
We offer space to clear your head and to be with someone whose role it is to listen, confidentially, to your situation, and to support you in the way forward. This can open doors to long-term support from our team – such as counsellors, medical professionals, and budget advisers.
Sometimes, all that we’ve been through can leave us isolated or finding social situations difficult. Waimanako and The Retreat are safe spaces – drug and alcohol-free environments – allowing both time to be alone, and a caring place to eat and hang out together, knowing that there are people who care about you.

Listening Ears

“I’d value the opportunity to ‘let it all out’ with someone who has no connections to my situation, so I can reflect on what might be the way forward.”

Sometimes, a huge dilemma or problem is facing us. We can offer a Listening Ear, as a one-off – just someone to be there as a support, as you talk through what you’re facing.

Online Journal / Blogging

Ideal for when there’s a physical distance between the Retreat and you; when sitting down with someone to talk feels like ‘too hard basket’; or if writing is your ‘thing’.
We offer a secure online shared journalling or blogging platform. There, people privately blog on a regular basis, and one of our Care Team sits alongside them as a buddy, sharing the journey, and responding with encouragement and reflection. It can really help to process stuff – and is sometimes a great prelude for further tautoko/support….

Outreach Support – ‘On the Fringes’

Our tautoko/support for people who perhaps tend not to find a place within conventional support models. We all deserve a place to be heard. Everyone.

Flexibility, straight talking and regular check-ins are the keys to ensure a solid, tailored connection is built. There is an unwritten kinship between those who have walked the paths of ‘not fitting in’.

We offer outreach visits on a regular basis, usually fortnightly, which are an opportunity to talk, laugh, and share the difficulties that you have experienced in the past, the challenges facing you that particular day, and strategies to help navigate the obstacles of tomorrow. This is a no-judgment, warts-and-all time where you can feel comfortable opening up to someone who is no stranger to the pitfalls, temptations, and complications in life.

Interested in one or more of the above? Message us about it… don’t wait for something to happen.

Taranaki Retreat Care Team

Getting Tautoko - Some Support

Whether it’s for you or someone else, we’re here for you.

Getting Some Support for YOU

We ALL need a shoulder to lean on. We’re glad that you’re here; and we mihi to you for reaching out. We know that can be the hardest part.

Our work is peer-support based – which means our aim is for you to be alongside people who know what it is to walk a similar journey. That helps.

We’re not about quick fixes or rushing things through. There’s too much of that going on, and the problem is that things don’t really get sorted.

This means that, to tautoko/support you, we will need to get to know each other. We won’t be able to tautoko you unless you know that you can trust us – and we don’t take that trust lightly. We want to take the time to make sure that you are ‘heard’. Some of the ways that we do this is to:

  • Ask you to share a little of your story, so that we know the right member of our team for you to work with
  • Figure out what might work as a next step
  • When you are ready to do so, we’ll ask you to share a little more
  • We’ll often meet people face-to-face or chat over the phone or by Skype (if you’re out of our area) – again, when you’re ready to do this – at your pace
  • From there, we’ll begin building a plan together. This might be through our Outreach Programmes or looking at a Residential Stay.
  • Our mahi with you will have a beginning, a middle and an end, but that doesn’t mean we expect everything to be sorted. Plenty of people get in touch later down the track, and that’s cool with us.

Please click here to reach out and get the ball rolling.


Getting Some Support for your whānau/friend/neighbour/workmate

It is so hard to see a friend or loved one suffering and our natural response is help. Good on you for looking into some tautoko/support for them!

We are keen to be there to tautoko people when things are tough; we all need a bit of help to get through from time to time. Encouragement from a good friend or whānau member can be just what is needed to help someone open up to to the idea of tautoko.

Taranaki Retreat is a non-clinical environment that offers a range of support services. Read more about what those services in the ‘What our Tautoko Looks Like’ section, above. If you feel there is something there that would help the one you care about, it helps to be well-informed so that you can be there to guide them through our process and reassure them about what it might entail.

We are happy to receive inquiries on behalf of someone else – it can be hard to know what to do and comforting to get some advice around what could work. The biggest part you can play, for someone else, is to inspire them to reach out. All the support services we offer rely on the person wanting to get some help and being ready to talk to us. That is the vital role you can play.

Most often, we will want the person themselves to get in touch with us, to confirm themselves that they are happy and keen to be contacted so that we can look into what would support them best. Sometimes, we can get in touch if we are reassured that this is the person’s wish, and that they find making the first move too hard.

As a friend or whānau member you are well placed to do that encouraging – maybe show them our website, explain about the various options available and discuss what getting tautoko from the Retreat might look like.

Next steps… How do we work?

  • Our work is peer-support based – which means our aim is for you to be alongside people who know what it is to walk a similar journey. That helps.
  • We’re not about quick fixes or rushing things through. There’s too much of that going on, and the problem is that things don’t really get sorted.
  • This means that, to support your loved one, we will need to get to know each other. We won’t be able to tautoko them unless they know they you can trust us – and we don’t take that trust lightly. We want to take the time to make sure that they are ‘heard’. Some of the ways that we do this is to:
  • Ask them to share a little of their story, so that we know the right member of our team for them to work with
  • Figure out what might work as a next step
  • When they are ready to do so, we’ll ask them to share a little more
  • We’ll often meet people face-to-face or chat over the phone or by Skype (if they’re out of our area) – again, when they’re ready to do this – at their pace
  • From there, we’ll begin building a plan together. This might be through our Outreach Programmes or looking at a Residential Stay.

Our mahi with them will have a beginning, a middle and an end, but that doesn’t mean we expect everything to be sorted. Plenty of people get in touch later down the track, and that’s cool with us.

So, the next step is to reach out to us here, and get stuck into the conversation about your loved one. We’ll be back in touch.

Arohanui, The Taranaki Retreat Care Team.

Getting Some Support for your Client or Employee

Thank you for connecting up. Concerned employers, clinicians and other support workers often suggest their clients might find support from Taranaki Retreat helpful. We are happy to accept direct requests for help; or it may be easier for your client/employee if you make the first step for them.

Referring someone is easy. After you first reach out, you’ll be able to share more details with us. You can ask for advice, further information, or put in a request for help from here. Before you do though, it would be good to know what kind of tautoko we offer and whether it will be of benefit to the person you are referring. Read more about us in ‘What our Tautoko Looks Like’ (above)

Here are some useful things to consider :

  • Is the person you are referring aware that you are doing so? It helps enormously if you have chatted to them about the idea first and given them more information about what we do. You can share information from this portal or direct them to our website.
  • Is the person you are referring keen to get some support? As you probably know, the hardest step to getting some help is to be willing to ask for it! Again, talking to your client or employee is the first step for this process to be able to take place. We cannot help someone who doesn’t want to talk to us. Encouraging them to be open to support is a great first step.
  • Does the person you are keen to get support for have any other supports in place? We always like to work in conjunction with someone’s other supports, whether they are clinical (e.g. a doctor, support worker) or whānau. It can be good to let the person know about this.
  • Are you happy to be contacted back? We will always check in with you before making contact with your client/employee. Do expect an email or phone call from us!

Finally, thank you for doing this. We all need a bit help from others at some point in our lives, you may that person who makes all the difference. A listening, non-judgemental, ear can really help someone to feel cared about and give them hope. Please click here to reach out and get the ball rolling. Once you’re in, we can be in regular, secure contact.

Arohanui, The Taranaki Retreat Care Team.

Information for Your Retreat Stay

Things to do, and useful FYIs

Information About Being On/Offline at The Retreat

Getting Offline at Taranaki Retreat

The Internet can be pretty addictive – and some of it’s great; but lots of it sucks. One of the best things about being at the Retreat is getting away from stuff which isn’t healthy for us.

Why not go digital-free for your stay?

While people are staying at the Retreat, some tāngata whai ora / Guests like to avoid using the Internet altogether – to get away from it all. We’re more than happy to keep your device(s) safe for you, if you would like to do this. Other tāngata whai oralimit their access to a discipline – like a few minutes a day in the morning or evening, and they enjoy being liberated from being ‘always on’ with devices and stuff.

Not ready for that? You’re welcome to use the Wi-Fi in Te Kainga (it doesn’t stretch as far as the Lodge). These are our “Acceptable Use Requirements” for any use of the Internet while you’re at Taranaki Retreat. Please read them now, as they are the conditions of use :

Wifi Use Requirements

  • Only access stuff which is healthy to you. Keep off any social media which is not building you up (e.g., often Instagram is a place where people are bullied / end up not being or valuing their real awesome self)
  • Don’t access sites or resources which are inappropriate for your age.
  • Our router logs sites which are accessed by all of us. Don’t access material which is clickbait; infected with viruses or malware; or which is offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic, exploitative, pornographic or just plain gross.
  • Our IT guy does a regular audit of the access log. Your online choices trace back to the unique ID of your device, even if you’re using a covert mode. We trust you to use the Internet responsibly, but if you don’t – there will obviously be consequences!
  • We’re on rural wireless broadband here, so our bandwidth is capped (we’re a charity, and our resources are limited). All of us have a small daily quota to share, and once it’s used up, it’s gone. So please consider that others are sharing the same connection that you are; don’t do stuff like stream or download movies, run updates, or get on Netflix/YouTube, or others won’t be able to do the simple stuff like sending an email to their whānau

Are we agreed? OK. The Host Whānau will provide you with the Wi-Fi login info that you need:)

Helpful Info for a Retreat Stay

Popular off-road tracks

  • Lake Mangamahoe is 10 minutes drive south of New Plymouth city on SH3. You can enter from Junction Road and Plantation Road.
  • Lake Rotokare – 12 km’s east of Eltham. 364 Sangster Road Rawhitiroa, Taranaki
  • Barrett Domain – entrance at the end of Roto Street, New Plymouth
  • Coastal Walkway.
  • Te Henui Walkway – New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, Strandon, New Plymouth
  • Huatoki Walkway – 35 Powderham Street, New Plymouth
  • Mangaotuku Pathway – There are various access points including points off Calvert Road, Lawry Street, Devon Street, Wiremu Place, Cook Street, Vancouver Place and Endeavour Place, New Plymouth
  • Mangati Walkway – Started at Gardenia Avenue Reserve, located on Gardenia Ave, Bell Block, NP

Lake Mangamahoe

Lake Mangamahoe is home to mountain bike trails for families and beginners through to intermediate riders.

Taranaki Cycle Park

The Taranaki Cycle Park consists of a 1.75km closed road circuit with two smaller one kilometre loops as well as a 333m velodrome and younger children’s area including a learners pad, pump track, limestone obstacle course and mini road circuit complete with traffic lights, road signs, etc. This facility is free to use. Saint Andrews Drive, Bell Block, New Plymouth

Taha Hinengaro - Mental Health Tips

Ideas for enriching your mental health, right now!

Health Benefits of Journalling

Why we have a Journalling System

I’ll bet you write stuff (e.g., on a computer or a device) regularly. If you are like most of us you record only what you must – and it’s a flurry of inboxes and messages – with not much space for reflection. Here’s a well-kept secret: A journal can serve as a powerful life tool.


Health Benefits

There is overwhelming evidence that journalling – jotting stuff down that’s circling in our minds – has a positive impact on our well-being. It’s been demonstrated that regular journalling even strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journalling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (seriously – it’s true!). Still other research has shown that writing about stressful events helps us come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on our physical health.

Scientific evidence supports that journalling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. Think of it this way: writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Begin journalling and begin experiencing these benefits:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
  • Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are harmful to you — important information for your emotional well-being.
  • Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
  • Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
  • Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a helpful resolution to the conflict.
  • In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows another resource for you to heal while the Retreat is alongside you on this journey. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, we hope that you will be able to record your story (for yourself) of things that are changing for the better.

Your journalling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and please don’t worry about stuff like spelling and punctuation. Write quickly, as this frees your brain from “shoulds” and other blocks to successful journalling. If it helps, pick a theme for the day (for example, peace of mind, confusion, change or anger). The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.

...And... Breathe...

Here’s a simple meditation – which you may find helpful.

To begin, get yourself into a comfortable position. Whether you are calming the inner storms and thoughts in your car listening to this recording, or are laying down on a couch or a bed, there is no right place to begin, it’s simply important that you do.
Once seated, gently close your eyes and take a deep breath in, counting to:




Pause for a moment at the top of your breath and release, exhaling:




And again. Take a deep breath in, counting to:




Pause and release:




Once more. Deep breath in:




Hold and release:



Being mindful of our breath instantly calms our nervous system; the system of ours which can be easily overloaded with memories and triggers, thoughts and feelings, faces and words. It is a place to steady ourselves when everything else feels outside of our control.

By gently returning to the breath, this simple 3 breath practice can be used at any place, anytime, before taking another soft step forwards to carry on with the day.
Remember that you’ve got this and we’ve got you.