Refresh your mind and rejuvenate your body, 21 July 2024

Woman in a hat admiring a Italian Renaissance-style garden

The Italian Renaissance “Destination Garden” in the Hamilton Gardens

Ever wish you could take time just for you to savour something new that will refresh your mind and rejuvenate your body? Definitely, and the wait is over.

Here’s your chance to treat yourself with a very special, fully-escorted, 1-day outing with gentle e-bike cycling and tai chi, and the opportunity to connect with nature in the peaceful beauty of Hamilton Gardens.

Date: Sunday 21 July, 9am to 5pm (The rain date will be Sunday 28 July)

All provided: E-bike and helmet hire, a tranquil tai chi lesson, and return transport to Hamilton Gardens from Auckland.

This fully-escorted event is for you if you’d love to experience the following:

Wellbeing on wheels: Te Awa, The Great New Zealand River Ride: You’ll gently pedal the remarkable Te Awa Trail on an e-bike. You’ll be gliding beside the majestic Waikato River for most of this 2-hour ride between Ngāruawāhia and the world-class Hamilton Gardens. There’ll be plenty of time for photos and to just soak in the scenery, while enjoying the quiet power of your e-bike as it softly purrs along this dedicated cycleway.

Tranquil tai chi: In the afternoon, you’re in for another treat in the serene and private Camellia Garden (within Hamilton Gardens). You’ll learn the flowing movements of tai chi from Jocelyn of Kia Ora Tai Chi. This ancient, restorative practice from China, which is gentle on joints, will re-energise you and nourish your own internal river of life – your mauri, your life force. Perfect for beginners.

The opportunity to nurture yourself in nature and to feed your soul: After tai chi, you could further uplift your wairua (your soul/spiritual wellbeing) with your own mindful walk to connect with te taiao (nature) in the wider garden area. Alternatively, you could explore a couple of the amazing and inspiring ‘destination’ gardens, where you might feel you have time-travelled to Renaissance-era Italy, or ancient Egypt, or to modernist, mid 20th-Century Californian Cool.

Trees surrounding a circular lawn

Our tranquil tai chi session will be held in the circle of peace in the secluded camellia garden (within Hamilton Gardens)

This event will start and finish at: Electrify NZ Botany – New Zealand’s e-bike specialists. Address: 12b Amera Place, Botany Downs, Auckland 2013

What you need to bring/wear:

  • Suitable, warm clothing and shoes for cycling in cooler weather, including gloves.
  • Waterproof jacket/coat and, if you have them, waterproof leggings.
  • It is advisable to bring a change of clothes in case we get an unexpected rain shower while cycling (these can be transported for you in the shuttle bus from Auckland).
  • Bring your own lunch, snacks and a filled water bottle.

Open to anyone aged 18+ who knows how to ride a bike. Places limited to 10 people.

Sponsors: This event is proudly sponsored by River Riders, Electrify NZ Botany and Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi as a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand during Mindfulness Month in July 2024.

Price: A donation/koha of $65 (or more) per person to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (please check the arrangements to pay this, which are detailed further below).

If you want to meet new friends, re-energise your body, reset your mind and renew your spirit then this event is for you.

RSVP/Reserving your place: Places are limited to just 10 people and we expect these will sell out quickly. Before you make your donation, please first RSVP and confirm your booking with Jocelyn using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website or click on or text her on 027 493 9851.

Programme for Sunday 21 July

  • Just before 9am: Arrive at Electrify NZ Botany. Address: 12b Amera Place, Botany Downs, Auckland 2013. Plenty of free parking available.
  • Just after 9am, your journey to the Waikato will begin with a comfortable shuttle ride to Ngāruawāhia. Once there, you’ll receive your helmet, e-bike and a full safety induction.
  • Wellbeing on wheels: At around 11am, you’ll set off on your e-bike on the remarkable Te Awa Trail. This will be fully escorted. On arrival at the River Riders base in the world-class Hamilton Gardens, you’ll be able to rest and eat your BYO lunch.
  • Tranquil tai chi: After lunch, you’re in for another treat with a tai chi lesson in the serene and private Camellia Garden.
  • Nurture yourself in nature – food for your soul. After tai chi, there’ll be free time for your own mindful walk in nature or to go exploring in a couple of the diverse and inspiring destination gardens (also called walled gardens) within Hamilton Gardens.
  • Return to Auckland. Just after 3pm, everyone gathers at the River Riders base in Hamilton Gardens for departure in the comfortable shuttle bus back to Auckland. You’ll arrive at Electrify NZ Botany at approximately 5pm.
Group of people standing in a park with ebikes

River Riders base at the Hamilton Gardens


This outing/event is a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (the Foundation) during Mindfulness Month in July 2024. Participants will need to make a donation/koha to take part in this event.

The e-bike and helmet hire cost, transport and tai chi lesson are sponsored by River Riders, Electrify NZ Botany and Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi. In addition to your koha, the only other cost is $10 for insurance on the e-bike hire. This is payable on the day of the ride.

To ensure that 100% of your donation will go directly to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, the sponsors are also generously donating their own and their staff’s time for this event.

The ticket price of a 1-day event like this would be around $150 per person. As such, to participate in this event, you are invited to donate at least $65 per person to the Foundation.

How to make your donation

Places are limited to just 10 people. We expect these will sell out quickly, so your first step will be to contact Jocelyn of Kia Ora Tai Chi to ensure there is a place available for you. Or, you can text her on 027 493 9851.

Jocelyn will confirm your place and provide you with a unique payment link so you can arrange your donation/koha to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ. You will need to make a partial donation of around $30 to reserve your place. Please note that this amount is not refundable as it is paid directly to the Foundation through the unique payment link.

The rest of your donation can be made at any time up until the 20th July. You have the option to wait until the weather forecast is known for the 21st July. If the event is postponed due to the weather, it will be rescheduled for Sunday 28 July.

There is a limit of two people per booking. The recommended donation remains as per person.


  • Early indication: On the evening of Friday 19 July and based on the weather forecast at that time, participants will be advised of the likelihood of going ahead on 21 July.
  • By 8pm on Saturday 20 July: The postponement decision will be made if rainy or inclement weather is forecast. Participants will all be advised by 8pm. If we do have to postpone, the rescheduled date will be Sunday 28 July. You won’t lose your place as it will be transferred to the 28th.

Refund policy

Participants will make their donation/koha directly to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ foundation through a special payment link that will be provided to them by Jocelyn. As advised, once this donation is made to the Foundation, it can’t be credited or refunded.

To help smooth the donation payment process, your koha can be made in 2-steps: a partial koha when you register for the event and then the balance donated no later than 20th July and once the weather forecast is known.

To RSVP, or if you have questions, please text Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or use the contact form on the website:

Free tai chi for Matariki, Fri 28 June 2024, Manurewa

All ages and abilities welcome for FREE tai chi in the park for the official Matariki holiday.

When: Friday 28 June 2024, 11 – 11.45am

Where: Kauri Point Reserve in Wattle Downs, Manurewa, which is at the end of a street called “Moor Park”. Refer to map:

This is an outdoor event so wrap up warm, pop on a beanie and join in.

Matariki is a time to focus on mindfulness, reflection, thankfulness, well-being and health. The three key principles are:

  • Matariki Hunga Nui. Remembrance. Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.
  • Matariki Ahunga Nui. Celebrating the Present. Gathering together to give thanks for what we have.
  • Matariki Manako Nui. Looking to the Future. Looking forward to the promise of a new year.

The theme for 2024 is “Matariki heri kai” and comes from the Māori proverb ‘Matariki whetū heri kai’ meaning ‘Matariki, the bringer of food’.

To acknowledge Matariki and to celebrate life in the present moment, we will gather together for a shared morning tea after the tai chi session. All welcome and please bring some kai/food to share.

Cancellation notice: This session will need fine weather to go ahead. If the ground is too wet or the weather doesn’t co-operate, please look for the cancellation notice by 9am on 28 June on the Kia Ora Tai Chi facebook page:

For more information, get in touch with Jocelyn through the Contact Us page on this website:

Find out more about Matariki:

Awaken your senses retreat, 4 May 2024

This retreat was held on 4 May 2024. At this stage, a date for the next retreat has not been scheduled.

For more information about the type of retreats held, please refer to the description below about the “Awaken Your Senses Retreat”, which was held on 4 May 2024.

Awaken your senses retreat: A day of tai chi, nature and connection

Flowers at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Where: The Logan Campbell Building, Auckland Botanic Gardens, Manurewa

When: Saturday 4 May 2024, 8.45am to 3.30pm. Please arrive between 8.30 – 8.45am

Join me in these beautiful gardens to learn how to relax, let go of stress and feel truly alive with the healing power of tai chi and qigong (pronounced chee-gong).

You’ll also discover how to reconnect with nature by creating your own earth art/mandalas, feeling the tactile delights of leaf rubbing, and liberating all of your senses with nature journaling and the tastes and aromas of the herb gardens.

This retreat is organised and led by Jocelyn of Kia Ora Tai Chi and please contact her to RSVP or to check any of the exciting details. (It is not organised by the team at the Botanic Gardens.)

This very special one-day retreat is for you, if you:

  • Long to spend time in lovely gardens? Imagine how uplifted you will feel when surrounded by colourful blooms and lush greenery, with the springy grass beneath your feet, the fresh air on your face, and the rejuvenating aroma of native bush? Absolutely, and you can experience all of this because you’ll be immersed in the serene beauty of the 64 hectares (156 acres) of the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Chinese-style rain shelter with curved roof and circular window in neatly laid out garden

Check out the Chinese garden in the Auckland Botanic Gardens

  • Wish you could let go of stress and gain more life, more energy? Yes, wouldn’t that be amazing? Good news – it’s all possible through the restorative power of tai chi and qigong. I’ll lead you through a unique set of movements that will help you to release stress and cultivate more self-healing energy. It is as easy and natural as the trees letting go of their leaves in autumn so they can burst into new life in spring.
Group of people doing tai chi together in a park

We’ll do restorative, self-healing tai chi and qigong together.

  • Can’t wait to truly connect with nature and to awaken all of your senses? This retreat is the connection you are looking for if you want to blossom with new experiences and new beginnings as you:
  • sample the delights of the edible garden/herb garden,
  • feel nature’s patterns with leaf rubbing,
  • tap into all that nature can offer with 5-senses journaling, and
  • learn how to create earth art/mandalas
Red, yellow, orange and green leaves laid out in a star burst patter

Symmetrical earth art design, created by Jocelyn

Long green leaves and shorter yellow leaves with white petals placed artistically but in no particular pattern.

Free-flow design for earth art, created by Jocelyn

You’ll get to take home all of the above ‘feel good’ vibes, along with:

  • The feeling of having a tranquil, garden sanctuary within you.
  • The know-how on how to reduce stress and calm your mind at any time, and to keep that ‘inner sanctuary’ of yours connected with mother nature/Papatūānuku. 
  • A nature journal.
  • A set of journaling pens.
  • A foraging bag so that you can continue to collect nature’s taonga/treasures when at home.

Open to anyone aged 18+, who is seeking to reduce stress, rejuvenate their body, reset their mind and renew their spirt. Ideal for beginners.

To RSVP, or if you have questions, please text Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or use the contact form on the website:

Tickets: You can buy tickets through Eventbrite using your credit card. Or you can arrange payment by online banking – the account number will be provided once you RSVP.

Please note: The amount paid is non-refundable if you change your mind or are unable to attend. However, a credit may be provided in special circumstances. If the organiser (Kia Ora Tai Chi) cancels the retreat, a full refund will be provided. Please refer to the cancellation policy below.

Here are all the details of the retreat:

Retreat date and time: Saturday 4 May, 2024, 8.45am – 3.30pm. Please arrive between 8.30 – 8.45am.


White building like a house with green roof, a veranda attached and a paved courtyard surrounding it.

Logan Campbell Building (in the gardens)

Parking: Plenty of free parking in botanic gardens carpark.

What to wear:  Comfortable, loose clothing that is easy to move in, and flat-soled shoes that are comfortable for walking. Please also bring a jersey or hoodie to keep warm, especially as we will sit still for some of the time.

Please bring: Your lunch, pen and paper to take notes, filled water bottle and a snack

Places are limited to just 12 people.

 Who is the instructor?

Woman smiling, wearing glasses and a red shirt

Jocelyn Watkin

Jocelyn has helped people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness, balance and well-being with qigong and tai chi since 2003.

She also teaches restorative, sensory and nature journaling to further help people to manage and relieve stress.

Jocelyn recently discovered mindfulness-based art therapy, such as creating earth art and leaf rubbing, which she found both helpful and liberating when recovering from post-pandemic stress and anxiety.

She has numerous tai chi and qigong instructor qualifications and also a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching. She has written three books and has worked as a freelance journalist

She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi and registered as a group exercise provider (with own choreography) with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). 

Testimonial: “I really enjoyed your style, Jocelyn. Friendly, caring, informative and non-judgemental. You made me feel relaxed and welcome. Thank you.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)

What is qigong (pronounced chee-gong)?

Silhouette of a woman breathing out with birds and stars soaring

Qigong breathing is healing and liberating










For thousands of years the Chinese have had a secret.

A secret that helps to increase longevity and assists the body to heal from injury, illness and trauma.

That secret is qigong – a deep, meditative breathing and movement exercise that connects the mind to the body.

The main reasons why people learn qigong are to manage and reduce stress, and improve their overall health and well-being.

 Qigong is about releasing stress, not suppressing it. Through special qigong breathing you can learn how to let go of stress.

 What is sensory or 5-senses nature journaling?

Woman writing in a diary, while sitting cross legged on the grass, with daisies growing around her

Sensory nature journaling

With sensory journaling, you focus on your five senses to tune into and enjoy the world around you. It’s a pleasant adventure in noticing, savouring and in feeling truly alive.

It can be done anywhere – on your deck, garden, street, or even near an open window!

Journaling is not just writing. You can draw, doodle, trace around objects, etc, as part of focusing with each of your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

This type of journaling helps you to calm your mind and to relax into the present moment, which will help you to reduce worrying, relieve anxiety and to begin to live the life you really want.

Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post-traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago. It enabled her to break the grip that stress had on her and also freed her thoughts to plan for a better and different life.

Testimonial“Jocelyn was very relatable because quite often what was being taught had been used by her in real life.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)

Cancellation policy

The workshop must be paid for in full to reserve your place.

All payments are non-refundable but, if you can’t attend, you can nominate a friend, colleague or family member to take your place.

Please do not attend this workshop if you have Covid or you have a cold or ‘flu-like symptoms. In this instance and if you can’t find someone else to take your place, you will be provided with a credit towards another Kia Ora Tai Chi workshop, retreat or class.

In the unlikely event that Kia Ora Tai Chi cancels the workshop, you will be refunded in full.

COVID-19 policy

Please do not attend if you are sick or have cold or ‘flu-like symptoms.

All participants will need to respect the need for social distancing at all times during the workshop. The venue is a reasonable size and there’ll be plenty of room for everyone to spread out. There will not be any paired exercises or touching by others.

The room will be well-ventilated and hand sanitiser will be provided.

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply at the time of this retreat

Jocelyn (the instructor) has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

To RSVP, or if you have questions, please text Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or used the contact form on the website:

Come join me at my ‘Awaken Your Senses’ retreat for an immersive day of transformation and rejuvenation.

Leaves and branches in a heart-shaped design

Earth art, created by Jocelyn


Overlapping green and yellow leaves in a circular design

Earth art, created by Jocelyn

Free tai chi for World of Cultures Festival, March & April 2024

Two women in red shirts doing holding red tai chi fans

A fusion of Chinese and Pākeha tai chi instructors, who are both Kiwis: Juliana (on the left) and Jocelyn

Embark on a tai chi adventure with us to experience Tai Chi for Fun and Energy. There’ll be six FREE opportunities to learn and these will happen across Ranui, Te Atatū and Manurewa for the 2024 World of Cultures Festival.

Tai chi is an ancient martial art from China, which you will learn from Jocelyn, Kia Ora Tai Chi and Juliana, Aroha Tai Chi. Together, we will provide an amazing teaching combo as we are an awesome fusion of Chinese and Pākeha Kiwis.

As well as health-boosting tai chi you will also experience the energy and exhilaration of the tai chi fan. This will be an unforgettable experience with the brilliant colour and movement of the fan, and the delightful snap of it opening. If you’re a seasoned practitioner this will add an extra layer of intrigue and excitement to your tai chi.

Adults of any age and ability will be welcome, especially newcomers, to learn this unique and fun form of tai chi. Children aged 5+ will be also be very welcome, if accompanied by an adult.

Group of smiling people holding brightly-coloured kung fu fans

Fun with tai chi fans,. Juliana is centre left (in black shirt) and Jocelyn is centre right (wearing red shoes)

Join Jocelyn and Juliana for one, two or all six of these 1-hour, FREE Tai Chi for Fun and Energy sessions. Ideal for beginners. Fans (free on loan) will be provided.

Friday 22 March, 2024: 9.15 – 10.15am, Ranui

  • Ranui Community Centre: 474 Swanson Road, Ranui, 0612
  • Places limited to maximum of 20. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to: Juliana, Email: or Ph/text: 021 905 742

Saturday 23 March, 2024: 10.15am – 11.15am, Te Atatū

  • Te Atatū Peninsula Community Centre: 595 Te Atatū Road, Te Atatū Peninsula, 0610
  • Places limited to maximum of 20. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to: Juliana, Email: or Ph/text: 021 905 742


***CANCELLED*** Good Friday 29 March 2024, 9.15am – 10.15am, Ranui Domain, ***CANCELLED***


Easter Saturday 30 March, 2024, 10.15am – 11.15am, Te Atatū

  • Te Atatū Peninsula Community Centre: 595 Te Atatū Road, Te Atatū Peninsula, 0610
  • Places limited to maximum of 20. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to: Juliana, Email: or Ph/text: 021 905 742

Easter Saturday 30 March, 2024, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, Manurewa

  • The Theatre, at Nathan Homestead, 70 Hill Road, Manurewa, 2102
  • Places limited to maximum of 35. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to Jocelyn, Email: or Ph/text: 027 493 9851

Friday 12 April, 2024: 9.15 – 10.15am, Ranui

  • Ranui Community Centre: 474 Swanson Road, Ranui, 0612
  • Places limited to maximum of 20. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to: Juliana, Email: or Ph/text: 021 905 742

Saturday 13 April, 2024, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, Manurewa

  • The Theatre, at Nathan Homestead, 70 Hill Road, Manurewa, 2102
  • Places limited to maximum of 35. Children aged 5+ will be welcome if accompanied by an adult.
  • RSVP to Jocelyn, Email: or Ph/text: 027 493 9851
Grand mansion in an Elizabethan, half-timbered architectural style, surrounded by a colourful garden.

Nathan Homestead, Manurewa

What to wear: Loose comfortable clothing along with something warm like a hoodie, jumper, cardigan, etc. Please wear flat-soled shoes such as sneakers, trainers or tennis shoes. Please also bring a bottle of drinking water.

What to expect: All of the sessions will begin with a sequence of easy, flowing, warm-up exercises that will be low impact and gentle on your joints. These exercises are designed to improve your balance, overall health and core strength. You can use a fan for free on the day.

Jocelyn and Juliana will then guide you through health-boosting tai chi – a series of linked steps and movements that will be fun and easy-to-learn.

We will finish with the tai chi fan form – a captivating fusion of martial arts and grace, with vibrant sound effects and colour. We’ll teach you how to wield the fan with finesse and flair.

What is tai chi?

Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art and exercise programme that combines mental focus with relaxed movements. It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”.

Tai chi not just a physical exercise but a holistic journey towards balance, vitality and greater well-being.

Adults of any age and ability, and children aged 5+ (with an accompanying adult), are all welcome. Places are limited so please RSVP ahead of time.

Come join us, bring your smiles, and let’s make unforgettable memories together with tai chi.

Bright pink, purple and yellow and colourful logo for World of Cultures Festival

Our Tai Chi for Fun and Energy events are part of the official programme for Auckland Council’s 2024 World of Cultures Festival.

Find out more about:

Free tai chi, Huia Lodge Late event, Fri 22 Mar 2024

Beautiful Edwardian buildings in a park at sunset.

Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, Cornwall Park

The Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, in beautiful Cornwall Park, is staying open late on Friday 22 March 2024, and everyone is invited!

Energize your body and soul at this FREE Huia Lodge Late event from 5 – 7pm. I’ll be part of vibrancy with my rejuvenating, 15-minute tai chi drop-in sessions during the evening.

Join me on Friday 22 March to shake off the week’s stress so you can embrace a fun evening with lots of other activities, performances and exhibitions.

Location: Huia Lodge Discovery Hub next to the Cornwall Park Bistro (the old tea kiosk).

Address: Michael Horton Drive, Cornwall Park, Auckland 1051. Refer to Google street map:

If you are coming to the park with a vehicle, the parking closest to the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub is ONLY accessible from the Greenlane Road West entrance to the park.

The event is organised by the park’s events team. You don’t need to book or register. This event is FREE. Just come, bring whānau and friends and enjoy the fun.

Find out more