Fabulous tai chi and qigong retreat, Vanuatu, May 2023

Sunset over a calm lagoon

Can you imagine doing tai chi and qigong in this tranquil paradise? This is our magical retreat location at sunset. Wow.

Vanuatu Retreat: Stress Less and Live Best with Kia Ora Tai Chi

Date: Saturday 20 to Saturday 27 May 2023

Where: Paradise Cove Resort, Vanuatu

How good would it feel to learn soothing, health-boosting tai chi and qigong on a beautiful South Pacific island? Absolute heaven! This retreat is for you if you want to tap into the legendary health benefits of tai chi and qigong so you can take home that heavenly feeling.

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)

You can discover the secrets to having more energy and less stress by joining me, (Jocelyn Watkin), for eight days/seven nights in the tropical paradise of Vanuatu. You’ll learn easy and flowing tai chi and qigong to help you to:

Woman taking a deep breath on a beach at sunset

  • revitalise your health and spirits
  • calm your mind
  • tap into the Chinese 5-Element Qigong to balance and harmonise your mind and body so you get even more amazing health benefits.
  • learn special techniques and skills that really work to feel more energised, less tired and to make 2023 and beyond your best years ever.


There’ll be plenty of “you time” to re-discover your inner paradise, too. Visualise this – after a short flight from New Zealand (just over three hours) you could be:

  • soaking up the sun on the powdery white sands
  • bathing or snorkelling in the turquoise waters of the lagoon
  • lolling in a shaded hammock, swaying in the fragrant island breeze that gently sighs through the palm trees.

Hammock slung between shady trees on a white sand beach

One of the hammocks at Paradise Cove Resort. The perfect place for reading or maybe a somnolent snooze?

And, that’s just the arrival day!  You can do more of this on other days. Imagine your first full day:

  • Wake up to a tropical continental breakfast with yummy cereals, toasted breads, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, fresh juices and a platter of delicious tropical fruits. (Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free diets can be catered for)
  • After breakfast, relax and enjoy health-giving, stress-busting tai chi and qigong in a shady, thatched beach fare. You’ll be with a small group of other learners and led by a fully-qualified instructor. Yep, that’s me (Jocelyn Watkin).
  • The afternoon is free to:
    • Explore the island.
    • Chill out in the on-site swimming pool or the lagoon with its private coral beach.
    • Check out the fantastic snorkelling by wading into the soothing lagoon waters. Or, maybe take an exhilarating leap from the jetty?
    • Take a relaxing zzzz in your own deluxe villa with its delightful mix of Melanesian architecture and European style. Each villa is set in a lush tropical garden and there are just 10 villas in total to ensure peace and quiet.
    • Lounge with a good book in a deck chair under the palm trees or maybe while gently swaying in a hammock.
  • Late afternoon, you can saunter into the on-site bar and restaurant (The Nakamal) for a cool drink of deliciousness and lazily watch the sun go down.
  • You can choose to be on your own or in the company of like-minded others for the afternoons and evenings.
  • Delectable and scrumptious lunches, dinners and snacks can be purchased at the on-site Nakamal. Or, you can choose to prepare and cook your own meals in your own villa’s kitchenette. (Please bring or buy your own ingredients).
  • After gazing at sunsets and later the millions of stars twinkling overhead, you can amble back to your comfy, private villa and sink into a blissful sleep, lulled by the soft whisper of the lagoon waters.

Sunset sky reflected in the calm waters of a tropical lagoon

Fabulous sunsets at Paradise Cove Resort

Sounds divine! Tell me more

This retreat is for you if you are any of the following:

  • Working or retired.
  • Are sick of feeling tired or at the end of your tether and want relief that really works.
  • Curious about the stress relief and other amazing health and energising benefits of tai chi and qigong that you’ve heard about and want to sample these for yourself.

The Stress Less, Live Best Retreat is ideal for beginners as well as tai chi and/or qigong students who want to grow and develop their knowledge.

You need to be aged 18+ to participate.

Testimonial: “Thank you so much for your lovely tai chi classes. The feeling I get is of empowerment and understanding of how we can use our body to help in our daily life.” (Caroline, January 2020

What’s happening, when and where?

  • Saturday 20 to Saturday 27 May 2023, at Vanuatu.
  • 8 days/7 nights at the intimate Paradise Cove Resort, which has just five 1-bedroom and five 2-bedroom villas.
  • 4 sessions of health-giving, energising qigong and tai chi with a qualified instructor. Each session will be for 3 hours and numbers will be limited to a maximum of 14 participants.
  • All of this is just a short flight from Auckland to Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Prices are all in $NZ (New Zealand dollars):

Those who were registered for the May 2020 retreat at Vanuatu will have received an email with the price of your 2023 retreat package, flights and accommodation.

New registrations (all in $NZ)

  • 1-bedroom villa: $2,900* per person, share twin (note: there is only one queen-sized bed in the 1-bedroom villas so this accommodation is better suited to a solo traveller or a couple). Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • 1-bedroom villa, single occupancy: $2,900 + $590 (single supplement) = $3,490*. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees
  • 2-bedroom villa: $3,200* per person, share twin. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • 2-bedroom villa, single occupancy: $3,200 + $590 (single supplement) = $3,790*. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • A payment plan can be arranged on request.
  • Payment will be made to Kia Ora Tai Chi, by online banking from a New Zealand bank account (without surcharge) or by PayPal, MasterCard or Visa, which will incur a surcharge of 3.5% to 4%.
  • Please arrange and pay for your own return airfare to Vanuatu. i.e. through your own travel agent or online with Air Vanuatu. Note: your travel agent or Air Vanuatu could charge credit card fees.

*Until paid in full by the participant, events beyond our control such as currency exchange rate fluctuations, pandemics, changes in airline ticket prices and surcharges, or changes in the costs of services or facilities may result in variations to the estimated price.

Payment instalment plan

All payments, (except for return flights to Vanuatu) will be made to Kia Ora Tai Chi. Please pay:

  • A deposit of $500 per person ASAP to reserve your place on the retreat until paid in full. This amount is non-refundable.
  • By 1st February 2023: Payment of the final balance remaining, per person.
  • 80% of all payments (not including the deposit) will be refunded (less any PayPal and/or credit card fees) if you cancel before 1st February 2023.
  • 50% of all payments (not including the deposit) will be refunded (less any PayPal and/or credit card fees) if you cancel between 1st – 28th February 2023.
  • On or after 1st March 2023, all payments become non-refundable.
  • In special circumstances a refund or partial refund may be offered after 1st March 2023. Please refer to the 2022/2023 Kia Ora Tai Chi Tours and Retreats Terms and Conditions for the full cancellation policy. This can be requested using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/.

Flights to/from Vanuatu: Air Vanuatu is the only airline that flies direct from Auckland to Port Vila and ONLY on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you are flying from Auckland, please book these flights with Air Vanuatu:

  • To Vanuatu: Saturday 20 May, 2023: Leaving Auckland International Airport at 13.10, arriving at Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, at 14.25 (3 hours, 15 minutes flying time)
  • From Vanuatu: Saturday 27 May, 2023: Leaving Bauerfield International Airport (Port Vila) at 7am, arriving Auckland International Airport at 12.10pm (3 hours, 10 minutes flying time)

 What is included in the price (once paid in full)?

  • Transfers to/from Paradise Cove Resort from/to Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, if travelling on the same Air Vanuatu flights from and to Auckland as listed above. (To Vanuatu on Saturday 20 May and from Vanuatu on Saturday 27 May).
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a luxurious villa at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • 7 luscious, tropical breakfasts at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • Four 3-hour group sessions of in-depth tai chi and qigong with a focus on how to reduce stress and live best. Small group (maximum of 14 participants).
  • Snorkelling gear, reef shoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
  • Mountain bikes to explore the area.
  • Wi-Fi in the restaurant area at Paradise Cove Resort.

 Yes, I’m in. Sign me up

View from the shady trees and out over the turquoise lagoon

The glorious Paradise Cove Resort

What is NOT included in the price?

  • Return air fares to/from Vanuatu
  • All meals (other than breakfast at Paradise Cove Resort)
  • Note: Paradise Cove has a bar and restaurant on site (The Nakamal) where you can buy your own delicious lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks. The chefs aim for the best blend of Melanesian and Mediterranean cuisine. They can provide special dietary meals, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free. Should you want to prepare your own meals, you can bring your own ingredients or buy locally as there is a kitchenette in your villa. This has tea/coffee facilities, fridge, freezer, gas stove and a microwave.
  • Sunset drinks and all alcohol.
  • All other drinks (other than the juice that is served with breakfast)
  • Any additional activities and tours while in Vanuatu, including a possible group outing.
  • Personal travel insurance (compulsory). Please ensure your travel insurance includes cover if you are diagnosed with Covid-19 before, during travel and during the retreat.
  • All personal items, such as laundry, souvenirs and shopping, etc
  • Credit card surcharges when paying the price of the retreat.
  • Any Visitor Visa fees that apply.

Visa entry requirements

Currently, (since September 2022) Vanuatu Government requirements, citizens from New Zealand, Australia and UK (and many other countries as listed by the government), can obtain a Visitor Visa on arrival providing you meet the conditions on entry for the visitor visa. For more information, please check the Vanuatu Government’s website on their visa requirements: https://immigration.gov.vu/index.php/visa-unit/visitors-visa

Please note that visa requirements may change before May 2023. We will advise up-to-date requirements closer to the departure date, but it is the responsibility of the retreat participant to check and follow visa entry requirements and to ensure your passport is valid. Your passport must have at least six months validity, from your last day in Vanuatu.

I’m all good with that. I want to RSVP.

Comfy cane chairs and tables in an open-sided tropical, thatched-roof building

The Nakamal restaurant and bar at Paradise Cove Resort

What is Vanuatu like? Vanuatu is a string of island pearls glistening in the South Pacific. It is between three to 3.5 hours flying time from Auckland but years away from the stress of everyday life. The name Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever” in many of the local Melanesian languages. The capital, largest city and commercial centre is Port Vila, which is on the island of Éfaté.

Aerial view of turquoise lagoon waters with coral reef, white sandy beach and shady trees

Fantastic snorkelling at Paradise Cove Resort

What sort of paradise will we be staying at? Paradise Cove Resort is a lush tropical paradise on the South shore of Mele Bay, which is about 15 minutes drive from Port Vila. Your accommodation will be a self-contained, gloriously-private and luxurious villa. The beach and fringing reef at the resort has a rich variety of marine life. This means fantastic snorkelling straight from the beach or off the jetty. The resort also has a swimming pool.

Weather in VanuatuIn May, the average temperatures are balmy and range from 21 to 28°C, which will be a welcome relief from the rain and cold of New Zealand at that time. Should you need it, the villas have air conditioning in the bedrooms and a ceiling fan in main part of the villa.

Vanuatu sounds ‘vantastic’!  I’m ready to go.


More about the qigong and tai chi sessions on Vanuatu

Person doing tai chi on the beach at sunset. One hand appears to capture the sun just as it is setting.According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), everything in the universe, including us humans, is made by five elements: earth, metal, water, wood and fire.

You will learn the 5-Element Qigong at this retreat. It appears simple but it is a powerful exercise and breathing programme that harmonises those five elements within you. It is especially effective for increasing energy levels, improving health and managing stress.

“Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) is the life energy inside a person that circulates throughout the body to provide inner strength and maintain good health. The word can also mean “life force”, “breath” or “oxygen”.  According to TCM, the stronger qi you have, the healthier and stronger you are.

“Gong” translates as “method”, “skill of” or “exercise”. Qigong is a skilled exercise which will help you to get more oxygen and life energy.

At the retreat, you will also learn a unique set of tai chi movements that are designed to relax, refresh and revitalise you.

Qigong and tai chi are natural exercises that are in harmony with nature. They are good for your body as well as your mind, and are helpful at reducing stress. There are no pills, no jabs and we don’t tell you what you can or can’t eat or drink.

This is what you’ll learn at the Stress Less and Live Best Retreat:

  • 5-Element Qigong and tai chi for better health and rejuvenation. This will be easy-to-learn and is especially effective for improving overall well-being and to release stress and anxiety.
  • How to calm and clear your mind so you can learn how to relax and feel refreshed and revitalised.
  • How to breathe your way to better health.
  • How to use qigong and tai chi to feel more energised, bust stress and live best once you return home.

Here’s a ‘sneak preview’ of some of the qigong you’ll learn in Vanuatu. This lovely movement is called “Palm tree swaying in the breeze”:

 I need to Stress Less and Live Best.  Count me in.

Retreat leader and qigong & tai chi 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.

Testimonial: “We think you are a great teacher and inspire the people you are working with.” (Ken and Ann, February 2020)

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.

Jocelyn invites you to join her in paradise to learn specially-designed, stress-busting tai chi and qigong to help you to live calmer, stronger and healthier.

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)

Covid-19 requirements

All participants will need to abide by Air Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply in May 2023. There are also additional requirements, which have been set by Kia Ora Tai Chi, operators of facilities and services for the retreat in Vanuatu. The current requirements (since September 2022) include the following.

  • If you are Covid-19 positive before you leave your home country, you will not be able to attend this retreat until you test negative.
  • Any participant who tests positive for COVID-19 while in Vanuatu (or who develops symptoms of COVID-19 and cannot get tested) is required to isolate for seven days or until a negative test. You will not be able to join in with any retreat activities during your isolation period or socialise with other retreat participants.
  • Isolation can be undertaken in hotels and resorts of your choosing and at your own cost.
  • Medical care should be sought if there are any danger signs or if symptoms have not improved within 5 days.
  • You will need to pay all medical expenses in Vanuatu for any ailments and injuries, including COVID-19.
  • A negative RAT test is required 24 hours before departure from your own country (this can be your own test; it does not need to be supervised).
  • There is no requirement for international travellers to Vanuatu to quarantine or be tested upon arrival if there are no symptoms and there has been no recent exposure to COVID-19.
  • Full vaccination against Covid-19 is encouraged but not required.
  • Wearing of face masks is encouraged on flights, during travel and at Vanuatu airport but not required.
  • All participants at this retreat may be required to wear a mask for all indoor retreat sessions and also when on shared transport in Vanuatu with other retreat participants, unless an official mask exemption is provided.
  • Please be aware these requirements could change on or before your arrival in Vanuatu and all travellers and retreat participants must abide by the laws, rules and requirements that apply at that time.

Jocelyn Watkin and any assistant instructors at this retreat have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with a 2nd booster.

Cancellation Policy on payments made by participants:

  • The deposit of $500 per person is non-refundable.
  • 80% of all payments (not including the deposit) will be refunded (less any PayPal and/or credit card fees) if you cancel before 1st February 2023.
  • 50% of all payments (not including the deposit) will be refunded (less any PayPal and/or credit card fees) if you cancel between 1st – 28th February 2023.
  • On or after 1st March 2023, all payments become non-refundable

Please refer to the 2022/2023 Kia Ora Tai Chi Tours and Retreats Terms and Conditions for the full cancellation policy. This can be requested using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/.

To find out more or to sign up for the Stress Less, Live Best Retreat in Vanuatu in 2023, please use the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/.

“To be comfortable in the cold, keep moving; to be comfortable in the heat, hold still; to be comfortable in the world, stay calm and clear.”

(Extract from Chapter 34 of the “Dao de Jing” by Laozi (aka: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tzu). Translated by Ursula K Le Guin.)

Woman slumped at a work desk with a dream cloud above her head of palm trees, sunshine and jandals

Stress relieving tai chi and qigong on a tropical island. Don’t just dream about it.

I invite you to join me in paradise:

New beginners class starts Mon 12th & Wed 14 Sept 2022

Group of older people doing tai chi. Some are seated.Kia ora and thank you for your interest in Kia Ora Tai Chi and in learning tai chi and qigong. 

What others say about Kia Ora Tai Chi classes:

“Calming”, “Keeps the body moving”, “Inspiring”, “Encouraging”, “Feel centred”, “Sleep better”, “Feel in control”, “Wonderful”, “Fabulous”, “Loved it” and “A gift”.

A new beginners’ tai chi and qigong class will start In Manurewa on the evenings of Monday 12th and Wednesday 14th September 2022, 6.30 – 7.15pm.

Jocelyn Watkin and the Kia Ora Tai Chi team welcome adults of any age and ability as new beginners. 

The venue will be the Manurewa South School hall, which is located at 18 Totara Road, Manurewa. (Please refer to the map below.) The classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday evening (except for public holidays and during a break over Christmas and New Year).

If you’d like more information or to RSVP, please text or phone Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or please use the Contact Form.

What to wear: Please wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a something warm like a hoodie, jumper, cardigan, etc. Please also wear flat-soled shoes (such as sneakers, trainers or tennis shoes). Please also wear a facemask on arrival and when talking with others. You can remove your facemask during tai chi if you wish, as long as we can all physically distance ourselves. Please also bring a bottle of drinking water.

What to expect: All of the classes begin with a sequence of easy, flowing, warm-up exercises which are low impact and gentle on your joints. These exercises are designed to improve your balance and core strength. You can do tai chi while seated, if you wish.

Then, Jocelyn and her team of instructors will guide you through a tai chi form – a series of linked postures and steps, which are also designed to strengthen your leg and core muscles and improve balance. The steps are performed in a slow, focussed manner and accompanied by deep breathing (known as qigong, which means ‘breath work’ and ‘energy work’).


  • Come along for a free class on Monday 12th and/or Wednesday 14th September 2022. You are welcome to attend both for free.
  • After 14th: Prices start from $10 to $15 per class (depending on how many classes are purchased in advance). A discount is available for those who are referred by ACC and Age Concern for the Community Group Strength and Balance Exercise programme (“Live Stronger for Longer”). You must be aged 65+ AND be referred to qualify for this discount.

Covid-19 protection requirements to attend classes:

  • High-quality face masks must be worn on arrival and when chatting to others before the class starts/after the class finishes. Some students are immuno-compromised. Everyone made a unanimous decision to continue to wear masks when coming to class to support and help those who are less fortunate with their health. This is regardless of any lesser requirements recommended by the NZ Government. If you wish, you can remove your mask during the class, as long as we can all physically distance ourselves. Please do not wear home-made fabric masks.
  • Anyone who wants to keep wearing a mask throughout the class is welcome to do so and their views/wishes are respected by others.
  • The hall will be well-ventilated as we have the doors open in ALL weathers, so please wear layered clothing to keep warm. Fortunately, warmer weather is on the way. There is a lovely outdoor deck off the hall and we do tai chi on that in the summer months.
  • Please stay at home if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms or if you or someone in your household has Covid. You are not charged for missed classes under these circumstances.
  • All instructors are vaccinated, including with two boosters.

If you’d like more information or to RSVP, please text or phone Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or please use the Contact Form.

Participants in the evening classes are encouraged to attend on both Monday and Wednesday evenings. However, if you are committed to practicing at home then it is OK to attend just one class per week.

The above map shows the location of the evening classes in the Manurewa South School hall. The entrance to the hall and the parking is at 18 Totara Road (please don’t go to the main entrance to the school, which is on another street).

Please text or phone Jocelyn Watkin for more information about any of her classes, courses, workshops or retreats: 027 493 9851. Alternatively, please use the Contact Form to get in touch.

Tai chi is easy, fun and a really great exercise, which is good for your body and helpful at reducing stress. If you are unable to stand for very long, Jocelyn and several of her assistant instructors can also teach seated tai chi, which you can do alongside the rest of the class.


All of our tai chi classes are approved with the BIG TICK  for the Community Group Strength and Balance Programme so you can “Live Stronger for Longer”.

What is tai chi? Described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines mental focus with deliberate and relaxed movements. Regular practice of tai chi can help improve strength, health and balance, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.  Read more about the health benefits of tai chi.

Please text or phone Jocelyn to RSVP or for more information: 027 493 9851. Alternatively, please use the Contact Form to get in touch.

Restore yourself with journaling and candlelight tai chi

Candlelight tai chi and qigong is back by popular demand in May 2022. It comes with optional extra sessions of restorative journaling.

Wouldn’t it feel great to have a dimmer switch for stress? Imagine the relief to be able to dial down your stress levels just as you would with a harsh light? Absolutely! With healing, candlelit tai chi and qigong, you’ll learn how to slow down, let go of anxiety and sink into deep relaxation with gentle movements. It will be just like having your very own dimmer switch.

What is restorative journaling?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a magic wand to re-write how you feel about your past and draw out a future you envision? Definitely, we’d all like a wand like that.

With restorative journaling to relieve and reduce stress, your pen becomes your magic wand to:

  • reflect on your past, whether years ago or just yesterday and to consider how you respond to stress (this session will be held online on Thursday 12 May at 7.30pm)
  • contemplate your future and how to reduce stress in the time ahead (this session will be held online on Thursday 19 May at 7.30pm).

At both sessions you can draw or do mind mapping if you prefer that over writing. Any of these or a combination of them can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life. This makes it easier to make the right changes for less stress in the future.

We’ve all been through difficult and challenging times over the last two years. Journaling can help you to let go of all that stress and frustration and consider the future life you now want.

Combined with meditative breathing (qigong) to calm and settle your mind, journaling becomes even more restorative. By releasing tension in both your body and your mind you can focus more easily, which helps you to think more clearly on what you want for the future.

I offer three different guided sessions online on consecutive Thursday nights in May 2022, for this complete restorative and healing experience. All sessions involve gentle and effective movement, tailored breathing exercises, relaxation and mindfulness practices. In addition, the two journaling sessions offer you the chance to ‘wave your magic wand’ with restorative journaling.

Choose one, two or all three sessions, which you attend live and online from your own home. Replays will be available.

Thursday 5 May 2022, evening, 7.30 – 8.30pm: Candlelight tai chi and qigong (This session has now finished. A replay is available at $10. Please contact me to request this)

Let your senses soften in the candlelight so you can slow down and relax your mind and muscles. You’ll feel your stress melt away with the gentle and restorative movements of tai chi and qigong. Your breath will become slower and deeper during this guided session of relaxation and meditation. Wear your pyjamas if you wish. Once we finish, you’ll be tranquil and ready for bed and a rejuvenating night of sleep

Thursday 12 May 2022, evening, 7.30 – 8.30pm: Restorative journaling, part 1 (Please RSVP by 6pm on Wed 11 May)

Release tension and relax from the ‘busy-ness’ of your life with meditative and mindful breathing (qigong), which will help open your heart and mind. I’ll then guide you on a reflective, journaling odyssey that will enhance your understanding of what is happening in your life. You will observe and note your thoughts and reactions by writing, drawing, doodling and/or mind mapping– whatever feels the most comfortable to you. There is no critique or judgement at any time and you will not be required to share what you have noted.

Thursday 19 May 2022, evening, 7.30 – 8.30pm, Restorative journaling, part 2 (Please RSVP by 6pm on Wed 18 May)

Soothe your mind and body with meditative, mindful breathing (qigong) to create an open-hearted space of discovery. You’ll then continue Part 2 of your guided, journaling odyssey with me. You’ll be exploring your thoughts, feelings and sensations of what you want for your future self.

As with Part 1, you will observe and note your thoughts and reactions by writing, drawing, doodling and/or mind mapping – whatever feels the most comfortable to you. There is no critique or judgement at any time and you will not be required to share what you have noted.

Cost per session

  • Attend one session: $20 per person
  • Attend two sessions: $17.50 per person, per session (i.e. $35 per person for both sessions)
  • Request a recorded replay of any session: $10 per person, per session ($30 per person if you request replays for all three sessions)

Online (video) replays for each session will be available at no extra charge to those who attend that session, which you can re-watch as often as you want, whenever you want.

How to RSVP

Please contact me no later than 6pm on the Wednesday before each session to arrange payment (online banking or PayPal) and to receive the Zoom link(s) to attend your selected sessions. You can get in touch using the contact form on my website, email me on kiaorataichi@gmail.com or phone/text me on 027 493 9851

More about me (Jocelyn Watkin)
I am qualified tai chi and qigong instructor. During lockdowns at various times in the last two years, I perfected techniques for teaching online. Participants comment that my lessons have helped them to cope with life and lockdowns as they feel relaxed and calm afterwards, which relieves stress and helps them to sleep.

I learned about the power of journaling when struggling with post traumatic stress some years ago. Fortunately, I was able to get professional help at that time, which included restorative journaling. With that and health-boosting tai chi, I was able to make a full and long-lasting recovery.

Testimonial: “Jocelyn is very relatable because quite often what was being taught had been used by her in real life.”(Participant at a tai chi, qigong and journaling mini-retreat, March 2022)

I am a qualified journalist and also a board-certified and premier instructor for the international Tai Chi for Health Institute. I founded Kia Ora Tai Chi so I could teach others about the healing health benefits of tai chi and qigong.

Click here to find out more about me, my experience and qualifications.

Unable to attend on Thursday evenings? Prefer to learn in-person rather than online? Then, Matariki Magic: New Year, New You is for you.

Matariki Magic: New Year, New You On the afternoon and evening of Friday 17 June 2022, 1.45 – 8.15pm

Join me at Auckland’s awesome Stardome for a fully immersive tai chi, qigong and restorative journaling mini-retreat. If you’re ready to open your heart to the universe and embrace the life you really want then this out-of-this-world mini retreat will be a magical experience.

At this mini-retreat on Friday 17 June 2022 (during Matariki), you’ll learn how to navigate yourself into a new orbit where you have more time to do the things you love with the people you love? Start the countdown to this experience here: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/matatiki-magic/

Watch this short video to discover more about the Matariki Magic mini-retreat on Friday 17 June.

Yin Yang symbol with heart shape

Love your health, love your heart, love life, love tai chi



Matariki Magic: New Year, New You

Matariki 2022 has finished. This mini-retreat will next be held during Matariki 2023 (June/July)

If you’d like to be notified when this or other exiting tai chi, qigong and SpinPoi events happen, please RSVP to receive our free monthly e-newsletter. Look to the right of this page and to see the “Monthly Newsletter Signup” form. Or, you can get in touch to ask for this free e-newsletter from our “Contact Us” page: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars, which is also known as the Pleiades. It is a perfect time for reflection and for learning how to plan and prepare for a new start

If you’re ready to open your heart to the universe and embrace the life you really want then join me for an out-of-this-world mini retreat at Auckland’s awesome Stardome. June 2023 (during Matariki)

How fantastic would it be to navigate into a new orbit where you had more time to do the things you love with the people you love?

Open book with stars bursting out of it

Find your path with journaling

Can you imagine how good it would feel to know how to navigate to a new and balanced universe? Let the countdown begin!  At this mini retreat, you’ll learn how to use a journal to focus your thoughts. 

After the retreat, you’ll be able to use this journal to free yourself from uncertainty and indecision so it will be easier to make the changes you want, such as special times with your whānau and friends, or more ‘me time or to shine bright and warm like a sun in your own solar system.

Can you envisage the relief to finally escape from the black hole of doubt, anxiety and frustration? Absolutely, positively YES.

Through the booster rocket that is tai chi and deep oxygen-rich breathing (called qigong), you’ll learn how to avoid the gravitational force of stress and regret about missed opportunities. After the retreat, you’ll know how to create a peaceful state for thinking so you can rebalance your mind and body and redirect your trajectory to the life you want – a new home “planet”.

Testimonial: “I had forgotten how delicious peacefulness is.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)

Cute pink owl wearing a night cap, sleeping among the stars

Delectable, deep sleep

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to enjoy a feeling of weightlessness and without worry as you fall into a delectable, deep slumber every night? Do you fancy a full night’s sleep without tossing, turning or ‘brain churning’ about how to live the life of your dreams? Don’t just daydream about it. Through guided tai chi meditation you will learn how to empty your mind and say good night to frustration and anxiety so you can wake up refreshed and ready for anything, every morning.

How fulfilling would it be to feel mindful and connected, instead of a lone star adrift in a starless night? Infinitely satisfying. You’ll be treated to a live, cosmic experience at the planetarium and a Matariki kōrero (talk) under the planetarium stars.

You’ll discover more about ngā whetū (the stars), ngā aorangi (the planets) and the rich traditions of Matariki from a Māori perspective. You’ll be enthralled by the many stories written in our night skies passed down from generation to generation.

After the retreat, you’ll be able to look up on any night and feel deeply connected, calm and in harmony with the entire universe.

Yin and Yang symbol made of stars, the sun and the moon

Testimonial: “The mini-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)

Date and time: TBA, June 2023.

Venue: Stardome Observatory & Planetarium (This retreat is organised by Kia Ora Tai Chi, not the Stardome itself.)

Address: 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill Domain, Royal Oak, Auckland. Refer to map

Places are limited to just 10 participants.

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

Watch this short video to discover more about the Matariki Magic mini-retreat on Friday 17 June:

Who is the instructor?

Jocelyn Watkin helps people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness and balance with tai chi and qigong.

She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi. She has extensive experience in teaching face-to-face or online for classes, workshops and retreats, as well as in schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.

Jocelyn has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching, is a qualified journalist and has trained in martial arts for over 25 years, specialising solely in tai chi and qigong since 2003.

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 “How to Create Your Own Calm and Centred Universe” retreat at Auckland’s Stardome, March 2022)

What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars, which is also known as the Pleiades. It is a perfect time for reflection and for learning how to plan and prepare for a new start

This star cluster rises in midwinter and according to the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar), its appearance brings the old lunar year to a close and heralds the start of a new one. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year. Iwi (tribes) across New Zealand understand and celebrate Matariki in different ways and at different times.

Cultural traditions also vary but the key themes of Matariki include:

  • Remembering and acknowledging the past, including our tipuna/ancestors.
  • Celebrating life and connections to whānau/family and community.
  • Sharing knowledge and learning/also preparing for the year ahead and the future.

Matariki is visible to the naked eye from most parts of the world, and has many different names. In English, it is called the Pleiades (its ancient Greek name) or the Seven Sisters. The Hawaiian name is Makali‘i, or ‘eyes of royalty’, and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning ‘gathered together’.

Who is this mini retreat for? 

It will be ideal for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking a new start and better life/work balance. High school students younger than 18, who want guidance on ways to consider future options and help to reduce stress during the school year can attend for half price if accompanied by a full price adult.

All abilities are welcome as the tai chi and qigong can be done seated or standing.

Testimonial: Jocelyn [of Kia Ora Tai Chi] 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)

What’s included in the mini retreat?

  • You will learn Tai Chi for Meditation, Harmony and Balance, which is powerful yet gentle on your joints. After the retreat, you’ll be able to do this tai chi at anytime to reduce stress, create a peaceful state for thinking and to rebalance both your mind and body.
  • Journaling to calm and focus your mind so you make the changes you want to get more out of life.
  • The countdown method to mindfulness. Easy to remember whenever you need it.
  • A journal that you can take home and keep using after the retreat.
  • live, cosmic experience at the planetarium.
  • Tea, coffee and snacks.
  • Free parking at the Stardome and/or in One Tree Hill Domain.
  • Meeting new friends

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)

Please get in touch if you have questions or to RSVP.

What is tai chi and qigong and why are they so good for you?

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






The kaupapa (underlying principle) of tai chi is Yin & Yang. These are two opposite and contrary forces in nature, which become interconnected and interdependent.  An example would be night turning to day, followed by day turning to night. Although opposites, they work together in harmony and one can’t exist without the other.

Tai chi uses the natural balance of Yin & Yang in all movements. E.g. where there is forward step, there is also a backward one. If you move to one side, then you will also move to the other. In doing so, your body remains equally balanced as it smoothly moves from one step to the next, which doesn’t stress your joints.

Tai chi also works in harmony with your sympathetic nervous system (the fight, flight or freeze reflex). If you’re feeling tired or down, tai chi will boost and lift you. If you’re upset or anxious, it will help you to become calmer and more tranquil.

Qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’) is a deep breathing exercise. It is designed to calm your mind, rejuvenate your energy and increase your oxygen flow right down to your smallest fingers and toes. It will warm your hands and feet and will help you to feel good all over your body. Find out more

Numerous clinical trials have confirmed that tai chi taught specifically for health, which also includes deep breathing (the qigong) will improve your overall health and fitness by:

      • Decreasing stress.
      • Improving balance.
      • Increasing strength, fitness and flexibility.
      • Better breathing (more oxygen in your body).
      • Decreasing pain in your joints.
      • Helping to reduce high blood pressure.
      • Increasing your sense of well-being. 

What is journaling?

What if there really was a magic wand to re-write your past, your present and future?

Writing in a journal (also known as journaling) can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life.

Using your pen as a ‘magic wand’ will assist you to develop a plan of action. 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 new habits to lasting change and freedom.

Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago.

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 will I need to bring?

      • A mask that is easy and comfortable to wear for the duration of this mini-retreat (nearly 7 hours), including for the planetarium show. Short outdoor breaks will be provided during the day for those wanting to remove their masks for a few moments.
      • Pen and paper or your lap top to take notes.
      • A filled water bottle
      • Something you’d like to eat during the short dinner break at around 6.30pm.
      • Comfortable, flat shoes for tai chi.
      • A hoodie, cardigan, jacket or similar warm clothing as there may be the chance to do the tai chi sessions outside, if it is not raining or too windy. In addition, the planetarium is air-conditioned, which could feel overly cold to some.
      • Tai chi can be done in almost any clothing but is best in something loose-fitting and casual. You are welcome to bring a set of comfy clothes to change into if you are coming straight from work.

Why is the retreat on a Friday afternoon and evening and not a weekend?

A vital part of what you will learn at the mini-retreat is how to make time for the activities you most want to do and for the people you love. Scheduling the retreat on what is traditionally a work day is a perfect first step for you to arrange time off for something worthwhile. You would make time for health care, as in a doctor or dental appointment, so why not for this Matariki Magic mini retreat? With a 1.45pm start time, those working will only need a half-day of leave.

Please get in touch if you have questions.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations at the time of the retreat and also those required by the management of the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. Jocelyn has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with two boosters. It is likely that all participants in this mini-retreat will need to wear a mask for all of the indoor sessions. Hand sanitiser will be provided.

Participant numbers are limited to 10 people.

“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 and succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.” 
– Professor Stephen Hawking


Free tai chi in Cornwall Park

Free tai chi and qigong with me every Sunday morning (9am) and Tuesday evening (6pm) in Cornwall Park until Tuesday 29 March 2022. Weather dependent and you’ll need to bring your “My Vaccine Pass”.

Ideal for beginners of all ages and abilities, particularly those seeking a calming and nurturing exercise experience that is also effective for fitness and balance.

The linked postures and steps of tai chi, along with deep, meditative breathing (called qigong), are designed to improve your overall health and can also strengthen leg and core muscles.

Tai chi and qigong are good for your body as well as your mind and are helpful at reducing stress.

The 45-minute sessions in Cornwall Park are free, fun and suitable for all ages and abilities, especially beginners. Feel free to invite family, friends and colleagues to join in. The sessions are outside and there’s a whole park for us to spread out in.

To attend these classes, everyone will need to present their My Vaccine Pass on arrival and scan the Cornwall Park QR code. Masks are encouraged while you interact with me or other participants at the start, but are not required during the class as physical distancing will be in place. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask for the whole time, I support your decision.

Summer Tai Chi in the Park sessions are covered by Cornwall Park’s health and safety requirements, including their conditions of entry. I have been hired by the park’s management to provide these classes as part of their official programme of events.

Here is all of the information you need:

  • Where are the sessions? In Cornwall Park about halfway up Pōhutukawa Drive and under the trees to the left of the road. (Same place as previous years).
  • Directions for those who haven’t attended before:  Drive, cycle or walk into Cornwall Park from Greenlane Road West. That entry road is called Pōhutukawa Drive. My tai chi sessions will be about halfway up Pōhutukawa Drive on the left hand side and under the trees. Look for me and my instructors in our red Kia Ora Tai Chi shirts. If you get to the roundabout you’ve gone past us. Refer to the park’s visitor information website for a park map: Cornwall Park visitor info 
  • Days and times: Sunday mornings at 9am (we’ll be there from 8.45am) and Tuesday evenings at 6pm (we’ll be there from 5.45pm).
  • How long are the sessions? 45 minutes
  • What to bring: your My Vaccine Pass, a mask, water bottle, a sun hat/sun block and wear comfy clothing and footwear.
  • If rainy or when there are high winds: Look for the cancellation notice on the Kia Ora Tai Chi Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kiaorataichi/ or text me on 027 493 9851. Or you can check with the park’s visitor centre (the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, open 7 days from 10am – 4pm) https://cornwallpark.co.nz/contact
  • What happens if Omicron numbers get higher? The tai chi sessions can take place at all current red, orange and green ‘traffic light settings’. Changes may be required with the tai chi sessions if the settings are changed by the government. Updates will be available on the Cornwall Park website or on the Kia Ora Tai Chi facebook page: www.facebook.com/kiaorataichi/
  • More information: https://cornwallpark.co.nz/whats-on/tai-chi-2 

I would so love to see you under those lovely shady trees in the park. I will teach a number of exciting and different tai chi and qigong forms as the sessions progress and until the last one on Tuesday 29 March.

Find out more