Something for the mind, body and soul is what is on offer through a new venture at Te Kiteroa Lodge, near Waimate.
The historic lodge, which is owned by Ann and Gary Dennison, has been run by the couple as a bed and breakfast.
But their daughter, Rose Tautari, has teamed up with her mother to take the premises and its native surrounds in a new direction.
The goal is to run mini retreats, offering an “immersive experience of meditation, mindfulness, and self-development”, along with mindfood-style talks on interesting topics.
“We really want to use it as a retreat centre and kind of take that approach that it’s mind, body, soul,” Ms Tautari said.
“Then to offer, throughout the year, multi-day retreats that include accommodation as well, so we’ve got a few of those lined up that would be sort of around about that four-day experience.”
The retreats would be all inclusive, offering workshops with guest facilitators and accommodation.
Ms Tautari wanted visitors to experience rest, rejuvenation, and being able to just slow down.
“So many people are not necessarily aware that’s what meditation gives you, just that opportunity to slow down and take a seat out of your kind of hectic, busy, modern life.
“That’s really, I think, the bit that opens the door for a lot of people, that they go, actually, I’ve got this really simple thing that I can do at home on my own’, but just need that sort of introduction to it. Which is why we want to offer it in a way that gives that guided process, so people can realise it’s not something that’s hard. It’s really just finding a bit of peace, a bit of quiet.”
There had been a few talks held already and they would begin again in February, with Mrs Dennison sharing the history of Te Kiteroa Lodge and Emily Phillips, the woman who built it in 1913.
Other run throughout the year, on different topics.
The first multi-day retreat is planned for early March and will be run by former Oamaru yoga teacher Jae Omnet, comprising Tautari would also contribute with some of her specialised skills in helping people their path” in life.
“To sort of just go, ‘well actually, its OK for me to show up actually as me, rather to try and fit myself into a box that somebody else sort of made’.”
The mini-retreats would be just a day, so a group of girlfriends could treat themselves while children were at school, and get a taster of ways to rejuvenation”, Ms Tautari said.
The Dennisons have owned Te Kiteroa since the 1980s, but went overseas for a long time. They returned in 2007 and had been running it as a bed and breakfast since then.
They had put it on the market in 2018, but Ms Tautari said she did not think her mother would have ever sold it.
“My parents and I were talking for a long time about what would be the next evolution once they decided to no longer do the bed and breakfast .. and so we sat down with our cuppas, and Mum and I had always had an interest in the history of the place, but then also wanting to showcase the fact it is such a beautiful place to come.
“Everyone that walks away goes ‘I just feel like I’ve been transported to a whole different energy and place’, and it’s really beautiful in that kind of tranquility that it brings,” Ms Tautari said.