Healing qigong retreat on Gt Barrier Island, TBA

Red and white spring blossoms against a bright blue sky.

Are you ready to blossom into good health?

This retreat was offered in 2022. At this stage, there are no plans to offer it again in 2023 or 2024.

Check out this link to view the retreats offered by Kia Ora Tai Chi in 2024: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/retreats/


If it is re-scheduled, a retreat on Gt Barrier Island will be a rare, in-depth opportunity to experience the healing power of qigong, which is an ancient, restorative art of deep meditative breathing and flowing movements.

You’ll learn how to nurture yourself with qigong so you can improve your overall health and wellbeing, release tension, calm your mind and stimulate energy flow (qi) throughout your body.

This retreat is for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking to rebalance and rejuvenate their body, soul and strength.

Where: Aotea / Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

When: TBA. It will be 3 days/2 nights. Places limited to just 10 participants.

The island is one of only 15 International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the whole world. As well as the healing qigong, you’ll be awed by the universe in a live, stargazing, dark sky experience, navigate a stellar new path with cosmic journaling and be invigorated by the fresh sea airremote beaches and the remarkable bush and bird life.

Bush-clad hills and blue seas

Beautiful and enchanting Aotea/Great Barrier Island

If you’ve ever wanted to visit this remote sanctuary, now is your chance. Together, with qigong for health instructor, Jocelyn Watkin, you’ll feel the nurturing flow of qigong, be uplifted by the stars above and the natural beauty around you.

Testimonial: “The retreat was awesome, very informative and helpful. The presentation was carefully thought through on how to achieve the peace and calm needed in our daily lives.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)

What’s included in this retreat:

  • Several immersive sessions to learn the movements and about the healing power of qigong and tai chi. After the retreat, you’ll be able to do these meditative and nurturing movements at anytime to improve your health and well-being. (Refer further below to learn more about qigong.)
  • Mindful breathing and meditation to dial down the stress so you can rebalance, restore yourself and look forward to a freer life.
  • Guided, cosmic journaling to focus on what you want from life and to choose the way you want to experience it, no matter what else happens. (Refer further below to learn more about cosmic journaling.)
  • A journal that you can take home and keep using after the retreat.
  • A live, stargazing, dark sky experience with a local guide. For the best viewing, this will take place before the moon rises. You’ll be able to lean back in your comfortable moon chair, have constellations drawn in the sky while you enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or herbal tea and be wowed with fascinating astronomical facts. You’ll be able to look through a powerful telescope to get up-close and personal with special stars and deep sky objects. After the retreat, you’ll be able to stargaze on any night and feel deeply connected, calm and in harmony with the entire universe.

Group of people looking up at the stars

A Dark Sky Sanctuary viewing experience with a local guide

  • Tai chi and qigong in the moonlight with the soothing lunar light upon us.
  • A guided, scenic tour of the island’s remote beaches, bush and bird life, including a short walk up Windy Canyon, with its wind-funnel shaped rock formations and stunning views.

Funnel-shaped rocks formations amongst mountainous bush

Windy Canyon

  • Return premium flights with Barrier Air (Auckland – Claris (the airport on Gt Barrier) – Auckland); approx 35 minutes each way and with amazing views of the island and the Hauraki Gulf. Barrier Air operates from the Air New Zealand domestic terminal at Auckland Airport in Mangere. Face masks will need to be worn on the flights.

View of landing strip from the air

About to land at Claris Airport, Gt Barrier Island

  • Airport transfers on Great Barrier Island.
  • Two nights’ accommodation in modern, fully self-contained studio units and villas at Sunset Waterfront Lodge. Every one of these has its own kitchen as well as bathroom facilities. Private double, twin and single accommodation options are all available.
  • Meeting new and like-minded friends

Please note: For the health of everyone, face masks may need to be worn during all indoor group sessions on the retreat and on our mini bus while on the island.

Please get in touch if you’d like to kōrero (talk more) about this retreat.

Testimonial: “Jocelyn is very well prepared and organised. What she talked about was well explained and easy to understand. She is personable and caring.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022) 

What’s not included:

  • Meals: All of the accommodation units are fully self-contained with kitchens to prepare and cook your own meals. You can BYO or buy provisions from the general store next door to our accommodation, which also has fresh coffee and yummy breakfast, lunch and dinners for those who prefer to eat out.
  • A meal package can be purchased before our retreat for those who’d like meals to be included. Pricing TBA.
  • Alcohol and drinks. You can BYO or buy from the café/general store next door to our accommodation.
  • Souvenirs and gifts
  • Transport to and from Auckland Airport
  • Parking at Auckland Airport
  • Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance
  • Medical services
  • Items for personal use
  • Laundry
  • Face masks, please bring several.
  • Hand sanitiser for personal use outside of the group sessions.

How good would it feel to finally be on the right path to the life and health you want? Very liberating! Unleash your power to live well at this restorative retreat on the island sanctuary of Aotea/Great Barrier.

Who is the instructor?

Jocelyn Watkin 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 is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi with extensive experience in teaching qigong and tai chi face-to-face or online for regular weekly classes, workshops and retreats, at schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.

She is registered as a group exercise (with own choreography) contractor with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), which is the recognised quality mark throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.  She is approved as a strength and balance group exercise provider with the Accident Compensation Commission and has numerous tai chi and qigong instructor qualifications. She also has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching.

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)

More about Aotea / Great Barrier Island

View of the island from the air

This idyllic island stands at the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf and is just a short 35-minute flight from Auckland Airport.

It protects the inner waters of the gulf from storms in the Pacific Ocean. Hence, Captain Cook gave the island its European name, Great Barrier. It is the perfect place to create your own protective inner barrier against the storms of life.

Māori named the island Aotea, meaning white cloud (ao = cloud, tea = white), as it appears in the distance like a white cloud on the horizon.

The isle has stunning natural beauty. Due to being relatively remote and with a small population, it has remained unspoiled and a haven for native birds and plants.

The entire island was awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary status in 2017, one of only 15 in the world. It truly is heaven under the stars.

Who is this retreat for? 

It is for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking ways to improve their own health, self-healing and well-being with qigong and tai chi and/or wants to de-stress and have a better life/work balance.

Many of us have revised what we now want from life but are not sure where to start or how to make this happen. If you feel a little lost, flat or frustrated with not knowing what steps to take, this retreat will help you to find peace and purpose

Ideal for beginners as well as advanced tai chi and qigong students.

Testimonial: Jocelyn makes tai chi such an enjoyable experience! She makes everyone feel welcome, no matter what age or level of experience. I love Jocelyn’s humour and her patience too. Tai chi has helped me focus on my breathing and posture. I feel invigorated after each session.” (Cynthia, February 2020)

Our accommodation: Sunset Waterfront Lodge at Tryphena

You’ll be able to relax in your own comfy and private villa or unit, which is fully self-contained with kitchen and bathroom facilities. Loll on your deck or patio listening to bird song and the sound of the sea. Bed linen and towels are all provided.

The lodge is aptly named. You can take a short stroll across the lawn to watch the sun set and breathe in the fresh sea air.

Double, twin share and single accommodation options are all available.

Our qigong, tai chi and journaling sessions will be held in a specially-designed and private marquee on site, which is surrounded by natural bush. If you peep through the ancient pōhutukawa trees you’ll be rewarded with glimpses of the sea.

The next door Mulberry Grove General Store and Café has all you need for groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, wine, souvenirs and other essentials like fresh coffee daily, along with meals to dine in or takeaway. 

What is qigong and tai chi?

For thousands of years the Chinese have had a secret. A secret that has allowed them to treat illness in its earliest stages, a secret that enables athletes to perform amazing, seemingly superhuman feats of strength and agility; a secret that promises a long and healthy life to those who understand and regularly practice it. That secret is a deep, meditative breathing exercise called qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’).

In Chinese, the word “qigong” is made up of two characters: ‘Qi’ = air, breath and life energy; and ‘gong’ = working hard to develop a high skill level. Therefore, qigong means: ‘the skill of getting more breath, energy and life’.

Qigong is designed to calm your mind, rejuvenate your energy, boost your health and strengthen your bodyOne of the ways it does this is to increase your oxygen flow right down to your smallest fingers and toes. It will warm you and will help you to feel good all over.

Is qigong the same as tai chi? No, tai chi is a subset of the much older practice of qigong. Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is a Chinese martial art and exercise programme that combines mental focus with deliberate, mindful steps and postures. It is very gentle on your joints. It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”.

How magical would it be to have the key for greater health and wellness? Absolutely, you too can enter this enchanted place. At this retreat, you’ll learn the ancient art of qigong so you can unlock the knowledge on self-healing, nurturing and how to improve your own health, and well-being

What is cosmic journaling?

Writing or drawing in a journal (also known as journaling) can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life and what you want for your future. You don’t need to write in sentences if you don’t want to. You can also draw, mind map or doodle, if you wish.

Cosmic journaling will help you to develop a plan of what you want for your future self. You will reduce frustration and anxiety, free yourself from uncertainty and indecision and take back the control of your thoughts and your life.

It can help you to overcome the overwhelm and create a plan for lasting change and freedom.

Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago. It enabled her to break the power 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)

What is your COVID-19 policy?

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply in November and also those required by the operators of facilities and services for the retreat on Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Jocelyn has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with a 2nd booster. All participants at this mini-retreat may need to wear a mask for all indoor group sessions and also when on shared transport, including flights. Hand sanitiser will be provided for group sessions.

Places are limited to just 10 participants

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do an
succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.” 
– Professor Stephen Hawking