Community Photo

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
 committed citizens can change the world.
 Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead (1901 - 1978)


Many people & beings make up the Waihōanga community to see a short video please click the wolves above. For a full visual tour click here

The Community at Waihōanga is comprised of people who are committed to collaborating towards the vision of the Centre For Well-being.  This consists of individuals working both on the land and at the centre as well as the wider community who offer time and support. There are currently four permanent residents living at and running the centre with further accommodation available for WOOFERS and  individuals that are wanting to help the ongoing development of this creative project.  The community is based on the upper level of the Waihōanga property and is the 'working and meeting hub' of centre life.  Here residents and non-residents can come together, share meals, share planning/ideas & laughter, have office space and welcome all visitors and enquiries. 

Small bird

 The community members , woofers and supporters of  Waihōanga may be aligned with some of the following principles;

  • have been internally and externally growing and sowing the seeds towards wanting to create healthier ways of living and are committed to taking leaps towards turning their ideas into realities.
  • Have an intention to come together in community to share their knowledge, expertise, service and joy towards creating such a vision together, while also having motivation to manifest their own individual ideas.
  • Commitment to a path of growth and expansion in their own area of joy, passion, or spiritual practice.
  • May have already established successful businesses around human expansion, health & well-being, sustainable products/ services, appropriate technologies and are wanting to operate in a like minded  setting.
  • Are motivated at a grassroots level such as gardening, building, cooking etc and focused and committed to developing a concept of community through effort and a strong work ethic.
  • Are able to make a commitment to the vision with what they are able to offer ie. finance, time, support etc.
  • A desire to work from a place of abundance, gratitude and joyfulness.

  The creative folks currently creating the Waihōanga Centre for Well-being are...............



Felicity Yellin

Felicity has been constantly inspired and drawn towards creating a centre such as this over the years, while travelling the world, studying in various forms of holistic health and meditation and working alongside others in their personal journeys towards greater well-being. She is currently living at the Waihōanga Centre for Well-being, helping to grow its capacity to serve more people with the amazing gifts that both the vision and the land have to offer. Felicity is passionate about creating health through what we eat, starting from the it is grown. This has led her to work in gardens of various sizes, personal study of nutrition and permaculture and an ongoing desire to provide delicious and wholesome meals to those who attend the retreats she cooks for. Felicity also uses dance and movement meditation as a form of personal inquiry and enjoys offering this to others too. She has worked previously as a counsellor for youth in both community and adventure based settings. Currently Felicity co-managers the Waihōanga Centre for Well-being.




Valamaya brings to Waihōanga a wealth of experience, wisdom and worldly knowledge of running retreat centres and living in community.  Other beautiful centres in NZ have been gifted with his presence over the years, as he has a strong involvement in many different heart based and spiritual communities throughout Aotearoa. Valamaya is currently living at the centre and is responsible for the bookings and administration of the lodge, so he is the friendly responder to all email enquiries. Valamaya's other talents lie in raising a son (whom is now grown into a beautiful young man), seeing the beauty and simplicity in everything, creating amazing wholesome food and having a love of numbers that make everything fall into place as it should. Valamaya's carefree nature allows for his many gifts to be shared in humble ways, bringing an essence of ease and simplicity to both the running of the lodge and creating the community space. He sings, dances, creates soulful music and more recently is learning to enjoy endless hours throwing sticks towards the entertaining and exercising of Waihōanga's resident four legged friends.



Louise Barry

(Louise in The Garden) 

'Louise In The Garden' joined the Waihōanga community 2 years ago and is undertaking the role of 'Lodge Lover', wholesome catering & Gardener ... with gusto and passion. Louise comes with an array of skills and interests which include: organic gardening & creating wholesome foods. 
Louise is enjoying going about life collecting qualifications along with life's lessons and one day when the time is right she would love to help woman find wellness from the inside out.
Her many enjoyments of life involve, adventure, photography, yoga, meditation, hiking, kite surfing community, travel and being creative. 

Louise has been gardening for the last twelve years and has an abundant hands on knowledge of edible gardens, pruning, planting plans and general garden maintenance. She has a certificate in Permaculture and has been involved in various Permaculture projects.


 John Dainty

John has been contributing his practical support, encouragement and inspiration since the conception of the Centre For Wellbeing. Now having moved into the community full time, (after living most of his life in the South Island) John lives on site and is involved with the day to day running of all things Waihōanga. John is the "go to" person when things need fixing or solutions need to be found. As Waihōanga's handyman, he is responsible for maintenance, infrastructure and grounds. John is a master of balancing the creative with the practical, as well as seizing every opportunity he can to witness the beauty that surrounds him and the beauty that inhabits him. This continues in his love of the mountains, blues harmonica, the study of metaphysics and sharing laughter and fun with others. John believes in the richness of community and the magic of people gathering to share who they truly are and is passionate about making space for this to happen at Waihoanga.


The History Of This Unfolding Vision ..........

The seeds of this vision have come from sources far and wide and were sown many years ago. They have been watered and fed over time by an abundance of inspiring people & projects, rich learning experiences and an ongoing enquiry into universal wisdom that we are deeply grateful for.   For us personally, the momentum grew in 2009 when we ( Tanette Hickey , Felicity Yellin and Lee Ball) created Red Retreats.  We held our first retreat at The Lookout Lodge in Wanaka NZ, weaving together practices of Mindfulness, Meditation and Movement

This combined with our own experiences of meditation retreats and educational/ spiritual gatherings gave us a taste of how we could create a space for health and well-being on a continual basis.  By being involved in these retreats we were experiencing a strong sense of 'wholeness' and having 'arrived' at doing what feels natural. During conversations with others, we realised that many other people were also having similar desires to be living and working in a way that was more nourishing and fulfilling. 

From there, this vision expanded and we begun designing a centre that could be of service on a greater level for us personally and the wider community. At the beginning of 2011 we took a leap towards making this vision a reality and started researching the market for potential properties for sale.  The outcome being that we purchased the Waihōanga property in April of 2014 and have been further developing the vision since then.  

There really is a lot more detail to this story which we will fill in, in years to come, but since moving onto the centre there isn`t much time for too much talking at the moment!!!

"'Come to the edge,' He said. 
They said, 'We are afraid.' 
'Come to the edge,' He said. 
They came. He pushed...and they flew." 

    Guillaume Apollinaire