The Guardianship of Te Moata is interwoven by two main threads

The Te Moata Charitable Trust is responsible for:
  • running Te Moata as a Retreat Centre and scheduling retreats and workshops
  • maintaining all buildings and grounds
  • implementing the ecological plan for this sanctuary
  • guiding the direction of the Centre and establishing Managers

Currently, Jessie Birss and Dave Saunders are the Managers of Te Moata, assisted by David and Kaia Kohout. They represent the Trust in the day to day running of Te Moata:  administration of retreats and workshops, organising volunteers and Woofers, and taking care of the land and buildings.


Left to right: David and Kaia Kohout, Jessie Birss, Dave Saunders.

Te Moata Charitable Trust


We have seven trustees: Annie Chapman, Douglas Warren, Gail Wolf (Wolfie), Gay Brice, Maniisha Wiessing, Rebecca Dove (Beccy), Stephen Archer (Nyanaviro), Douglas Warren. A previous trustee, Suni Sharpe, represents the elders/ grandmothers of Te Moata.

Our Objectives:

Stewardship (Kaitiakitanga) –  to practice sustainable stewardship (kaitiakitanga) of Te Moata as a sanctuary for people and for nature for the generations to come:

  • nurturing the safe, heart-centred space and welcoming all people to experience this very special place.
  • protecting the ecology of Te Moata
  • protecting sacred spaces and honouring ancestors, elders and benefactors 
  • adopting co-operacy  based management with transparent processes
  • encouraging active community involvement

Education and Wellbeing – creating an inclusive and holistic programme of events and retreats to nurture the human spirit:

  • encouraging a deeper sense of responsibility for self, environment and others
  • enhancing inner peace and stillness
  • community building and creativity

Ecology – adopting an environmental restoration plan to ensure a sustainable future for Te Moata and its biodiversity:

  • implementing a comprehensive pest and weed control plan
  • successfully re-introducing native flora and fauna
  • continuing to meet all requirements of the Te Moata QEII National Trust Covenant

Financial – establishing a sound financial basis to sustain Te Moata into the future:

  • ensuring regular income from a varied programme of events
  • receiving grants to assist with the ecological plan
  • raising funds to purchase additional shares in the Te Moata Guardianship Company
  • raising funds for capital improvements

Sustainability – embracing sustainable practices for the operational running of the Sanctuary:

  • off grid solar and hydro power sources
  • permaculture principles applied to minimise environmental footprint
  • minimal chemical residues from pest control and cleaning products
  • growing and using organic produce
The Te Moata Guardianship Company
  • is the legal entity that owns Te Moata
  • is comprised of eight shareholders with the Te Moata Charitable Trust having the largest shareholding (49%)
  • was established in 2009 as the result of an amazing community effort to secure Te Moata’s future
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This Company was the creative solution that secured Te Moata’s future in 2009. The Te Moata Charitable Trust is the main shareholder (49%) and will seek to purchase additional shares once funds become available. The other shareholders are a wonderful group of philanthropic people who share the vision that Te Moata represents. Four directors (link) form the conduit that links the Trust to all the other shareholders.



Te Moata Charitable Trust.

The money to purchase shares was raised through the huge support of hundreds of people in the Te Moata community. Over $500,000 was donated and a further $330,000 was loaned. Regular ongoing donations from the Friends of Te Moata (link) have enabled the Trust to meet interest payments and repay loans. The Trust loan liability has reduced to $230,000.



Nancy (Hannah) King

“Te Moata is a haven for nature. We need more places where we offer a space for nature to be, and for us as part of nature – to rest and rejuvenate. Places to share our basic goodness. Places to give people time to look and to see that we live with miracle upon miracle.  At the moment I am co-creating Earthskin Charitable Trust, which I want to link to Te Moata through using it as a venue. Earthskin is part of a bigger picture, offering residential scholarships to creative artists, and education for building vital communities: Permaculture; Terra-aquaculture; Bioremediation of the land; new design thinking to rebalance, and provide a better future for the earth and our children. We need more models of community, operating as nature does in abundance. At Te Moata, nature has provided everything we need. No depreciation … just appreciation.  If I did only one thing in my life, this – Te Moata – is a gorgeous thing to do!”.

Maniisha Wiessing

“Te Moata holds a really special place in my heart. I always leave Te Moata refreshed, full of appreciation and clear about my priorities in life.  I am so relieved that there were so many of us who cared so much about Te Moata continuing. I have the sense of being involved in something so much bigger than myself. I feel I will be able to look back upon my lifetime and be really satisfied in at least having had a part to play in this. I love taking my children to Te Moata. They have been regular retreatants since before birth! Te Moata offers so much love and kindness that spills over into the lives of our family. I am hugely grateful to my husband, Simon, for his creativity and continual thinking outside the square; it is thanks to him that I have been able to support Te Moata in this way”.

Suni Sharpe

“I have become a Shareholder of Te Moata because I am deeply committed to safeguarding this sacred land for future generations.  Te Moata has been an essential part of my life for many years and I am privileged to continue this enriching relationship”.




Marnie Norris

“My involvement as a private shareholder in the company comes from a deep commitment to the continued vision of Te Moata being a safe, heart centred place for renewal and transformation. Over many years, I have felt humbled to witness the magic that can happen when people connect with the land and the different sacred spaces including the Rimu, Lavender, Green Tara circles as well the Labyrinth and Puja Point”.




Robin Heath and Murray Tonks

“We chose to become shareholders for a whole lot of reasons, but mostly because we see Te Moata as such a unique place for personal exploration and discovery, and we wanted to see that legacy continue. Our own involvement with the centre has been through meditation retreats, but there are many other events that happen through the year. All of them, in their own way, provide paths for self-exploration that are not otherwise available to us in our daily lives. Robin and I don’t necessarily subscribe to it all, but we admire and support the fact that such freedom of exploration goes on, and that there is a place, at Te Moata, where it can be nurtured”.

Noel and Carolyn Roberts

“Since 2001, Noel and I have led 12 tours from Australia, mostly to the North Island as we searched for a special retreat. Then came the e-mail which resulted in us meeting Marnie, Suni and Wolfie, and being introduced to Te Moata. For both of us, Te Moata felt like home, so nurturing and natural, much like the ladies we met. We visited a nearby bay which matched what I had seen in meditation. The fact that the Waitaha whom I had also seen in meditation had brought the pounamu to Te Moata convinced us that, for whatever reason, we had reached our destination. I have learned to trust the messages given to me, and am grateful that Noel supports me on this amazing journey.”

Erwin Sanft

“My connection to Te Moata is primarily through my mother, Wolfie, being a trustee. I was happy to help out at a time when funds were needed. I live and work in Hong Kong and one of my main enjoyments here is to walk the nature trails at weekends. On my visit to Te Moata I appreciated the way that the Centre is linked to the surrounding bushlands and the calm and quiet nature of this place.”