What it’s like to Volunteer at Mana

WWOOF Volunteer Program

For many years, Mana has welcomed numerous travelers worldwide through a work exchange program, providing a simple lifestyle alongside fulfilling work and meaningful connections. The work-exchange program provides an invaluable contribution to the function of the Centre, gardens and guest services, while offering a getaway for people from all walks of life to enjoy the ‘Mana experience’. Hear from Andy, one of our current volunteers on his experience at Mana.

Interview with Volunteer Andy

What brought you to Mana and what were your earliest memories of Mana?
New Zealand had called me for some time. The exchange of working for food and accommodation is such a beautiful thing, especially in these times. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are walking a similar path also at a Retreat Centre is very special. So I began researching volunteer opportunities and came across Mana. With so many opportunities in New Zealand, it was very hard to decide on where to go. Mana kept popping up so I listened to that and here I am.
I was dropped at the bottom of the drive and was completely blown away by the view that greeted me. Stepping onto the land I instantly felt a pure calmness that is with me every day I am here at Mana. I drank in every moment of beauty as I made my way up the driveway to the Centre. The lovely nature of all that greeted and welcomed me remains such a wonderful memory that I will always hold close.
I felt instantly a part of something beautiful, and that has so much to do with the people making Mana work. 
How does your day unfold as a volunteer?

Every morning starts with my personal morning practice. One of my favorite parts of my day is checking out what has happened overnight in the vegetable garden. Taking a moment then to enjoy breakfast gazing out at the ever-changing and spectacular view.

Every morning both staff and volunteers meet for a morning circle where we meditate to the 9 am sanctuary bells and set our intentions for the day ahead. Gratefully for myself, I spend my days in the vegetable garden. With guidance from Tony, we have been continuing to provide as much produce to the kitchen as we can, also creating a space that everybody can enjoy and feel peaceful in.
What activities have you got to enjoy whilst being here?
Tell us one of your favorite highlights.
Endless stargazing is definitely at the top of the list! (hehe). Yoga, Qi Gong, saunas, walking the land, working bees, and picnics with staff and fellow volunteers I’ve also enjoyed very much. But for sure my favorite highlight was gardening one of the days that Tony Backhouse’s choir retreat was on. It was the most beautiful day. The octagon was open and the incredible voices coming into the garden moved me very much. For me, it was truly one of those moments I will never forget and I am very much looking forward to experiencing this again this coming April.
Can you describe what Mana means to you? 
Pure love and joy.

Andy (far right) with the other volunteers / WWOOFs.

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Virtual Tour

Take a peek at the Mana Experience with a tour of our main centre.