Volunteer at Strathean


We welcome help of all sorts from individuals and couples who are interested in developing or strengthening a spiritual practice and their own personal growth. As a spiritual retreat centre, we aim to have a harmonious and joyful environment with an emphasis on non-violence or ahimsa. We only eat vegetarian food and we request that volunteers do not take drugs or alcohol during their stay with us.

We aim to find work for people that they enjoy doing. We have a variety of tasks needing workers, from maintaining and enhancing the vegetable gardens, hothouse, general gardens, trees, lawn and orchard, as well as painting and maintaining the buildings, cleaning, cooking, taking yoga classes, preparing for retreats and resetting the property after them. In general, we ask volunteers to work 5.5 hours work per day (5 days a week). The working day generally follows this routine:

  • 7-8am Meditation
  • 8-9am Breakfast
  • 9-midday Work
  • Midday -1:30pm Free time and lunch
  • 1:30-4pm Work
  • 4pm Onwards free time
  • 6:30-7:45pm Yoga class in evening/ meditate /free time

In return we will provide you with vegetarian food, often organic or from our vegetable garden and hothouse. We encourage all volunteers to join in our twice daily meditation practice. You are also welcome to join in with the three weekly yoga classes.

We also provide volunteers with accommodation. The Honey House and Rose Cottage are accommodation spaces for volunteers. Sometimes volunteers are able to stay in the retreat centre accommodation when a retreat is not on, and then they may have to move within our retreat centre for a retreat, generally over weekends.

We are located in a beautiful part of New Zealand, with Otaki beach 10 minutes away by car in one direction and Otaki forks, with its stunning river and bush walks, 20 minutes in another direction. There are bikes that volunteers can borrow to enjoy the surrounding countryside, or you may wish to walk on the country roads. We are about 5 minutes drive or 40 minutes walk from Otaki township.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about volunteering, either by email or by calling John Joyce on 0274 303 623 or Gabrielle Meech on 022 072 6582. If you would like to stay more than two weeks, John will discuss this further with you once you have stayed with us for a while.

Volunteer testimonies

“Strathean for me is a place of connection, healing and growth. From my time volunteering at Strathean, I was  able to reconnect with myself and realign when I was previously feeling out of balance. I believe that the  healing energy of the centre is very strong – it is surrounded by nature, and has genuine, loving people all who have a curiosity for exploring their spirituality. I feel blessed and very grateful to have had the opportunity to stay and absorb all the goodness Strathean has to offer” 💗, Isla.

There’s a spiritual journey taking place at Strathean that I’m grateful to be part of,” Trevor.

“I’ve been volunteering at Strathean for a month and a half and time has just flown! Everyday you can make the day beautiful, there’s such a nice warm healing energy here whenever you are either in the house or walking around the veggie garden, with chickens around and the pond with the ducks playing in the water. Gabrielle and John are always happy to work with everyone’s needs and find the “work” that best suits your personality. I interpret this “work” as karma yoga and I always feel happy to do it as an exchange of energy between us. I am really grateful every day to spend my time here, it has meant a lot to me in terms of personal growth, becoming more confident with myself.

We do yoga three times a week and they gave me the opportunity here to have my class on Thursday 🙂

We run workshops and there’s always really nice minded people around to talk with, practice with and eat with! Food is vegetarian and we creatively make every meal special and yummy!,” Aria

“My path to Strathean was a sign of Universe – not linear, for that matter. I had to wait 2 weeks before I could follow my path to Strathean. I was determined.  Consequently, I built up my expectations of this spiritual place. I was waiting for spiritual awakening (not even knowing what is means), a quick fix or something that would give me what I wanted, may I add, I did not know what I wanted. When after a week, no magic potion or one-liner from “guru” to fix all my problems was given, I felt that the ball of yarn stopped scrolling. At this point I started to see what this place could really offer.  A side from its stunning location, countless fruit trees and warm fireplace, it was a place of connection. Connections that will last longer than a lifetime. During my stay of almost 3 months I had the opportunity to be a part of in-house retreats, which gave me an invaluable knowledge and experiences spiritually as well as practically. I met people that I can look up to and now call my friends and family. I had opportunity to do things that I have never done before including farming animals and gardening. Strathean is in good hands and I am certain it will only get better but it needs like-minded people that will bring out the best of this beautiful place. I am grateful to call this place- my home.” Elina

Working Bees

We hold regular working bees, mostly on weekends, and welcome all who are interested to come and join us. Please see our Calendar of Events for details. Please contact us if you would like to be on our mailing list for working bees and our Friends of Strathean distribution list.

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