Home / Past Gatherings / Summer Gathering 2017

Summer Gathering 2017

4-8 January 2017

The last summer gathering was held at Port Waikato, south of Auckland (see map below) from 4 January to 8 January 2017 around the concept of “Envisioning the world we want”.  The programme was a mixture of led sessions and open  discussions with plenty of opportunities for participants to contribute, either as part of someone else’s session or by setting up a session of their own.


Map of Port Waikato camp


Participant Voices 2016/2017

Some people who  participated in the 2017 gathering and some of the workshops and conversations offered in 2017, also some of the offerings from the 2016 Gathering.   For new gatherers, this gives you a snapshot of the richness and breadth of our conversations and discussions.

2017- who was coming and why and some of the workshop offerings for Heart Politics Gathering 2017

Campbell, Nikki, Bracken, Breeze and Reef Sturrock are coming to Heart Politics!sturrock-family-1

We are The Loop Crew – Campbell and Nikki Sturrock along with our 3 school aged children Bracken, Breeze and Reef. We’re on the trip of a lifetime around New Zealand in a sustainably converted house bus. Our adventure started when, after years of working and volunteering in the environment, conservation and sustainability worlds, we sold our house in Auckland in September 2015. We spent six months retrofitting our 11 metre bus (an ex-ARA Yellow Bus named The Loop) using strong sustainability principles – considering people and the planet as well as costs in the choices we made. With Campbell driving the bus running on biodiesel and Nikki following in our Nissan Leaf 100% electric car named “Little Miss Sunshine” we have partnered with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) and volunteered our time to be effectively a sustainability road show under the banner of “Leave it better than you find it”.

We have been travelling throughout the country since March 2016 demonstrating the sustainability aspects of our refurbished bus and fulfilling our own passion to educate  and inspire our fellow New Zealanders and undertake tree-plantings, beach clean-ups and other environment and sturrock-family-2community focussed projects. We have wanted to ‘do good’ as we go, shine some light on other people and organisations ‘doing good’ and share these good news stories.

We are excited to be participating for the first time in a Heart Politics Gathering particularly given the central “Envisioning the world we want” concept as this aligns perfectly with the initial intention of our adventure. We look forward to meeting fellow participants, sharing our story, hearing each other’s positive visions for our world and generating rich discussions about actual actions we can individually and collectively take to bring those visions into reality.



Dale Hunter

I am coming to Heart Politics 2017 to share in the “envisioning the world we want” conversation with other new and old Heart Politicians. Please join us. It’s fun and  productive.  We will create what we envisage together. I am committed to “whole people cooperating together to create a just sustainable world” and this can manifest  in many different ways.



Donald Joycedonald

I’m coming to Heart Politics 2017 because every time I have been to a Heart Politics Gathering I have laughed lots, learned heaps and gone away feeling replenished  (physically and mentally).  I’m also drawn to the 2017 theme because I want the world to be a better place for all creatures who live in it and, in particular,       my daughter and grandson.



Gillian Emsliegillian-emslie

I have gone to about 10-15 Heart Politics Gatherings.  Each is very unique, with different combinations of people each time.  The elements that seem to recur are people connecting in many ways, with me and each other.  There are always delightful surprises with the spirit of goodwill moving everyone in happy and creative ways.  The sharing that goes on has helped me broaden my viewpoint and inspire me to try new ideas.


Linda Shaw

Nowhere else do I get such deep, heart expanding conversations with people who are my “tribe”.

Heart Politics is a soft place to fall, to be challenged, cared for, invigorated and embraced.  This is my intentional learning community where I feel linda_99ccbelonged.  Having a good laugh and enjoying the richness of people in a beautiful setting is wonderful too.




Some of the workshop offerings for Heart Politics Gathering 2017

Anthea Ogilvie – FEMINISM NOW

I’d love to have a discussion about the explosion of feminism within popular culture right now.  How is it different to what was happening in the 70’s and 80’s?Anthea Ogilvie Bethells

How important is gender as a construct?   What do men really think about it?   How have our lives been changed in response to or because of changes in feminist theory?  Come share your story with me …I’d love to hear it.



Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the depressing stream of bad news pouring into our life through radio, TV, print and social media?Beach shot IMG_5641 Cropped.Smaller.2 copy - Version 2

Joanna Macy says ‘Of all the dangers we face … none is so great as the deadening of our response”.

How can you filter, protect and manage this stream without shutting down and going numb, but to stay informed and engaged.   This is when you need to rebalance.  Ritual is very helpful here, because ritual connects you with an expanded dimension of being from which you can draw resource, comfort and wisdom.  I have created the Ritual of Rebalancing, which I am very happy to offer at Heart Politics 2017.


Rosie Kaplan – DEATH CAFErosie-kaplan-image

At Heart Politics this summer.  A Death Café is an approximately two hour long group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes.   Rosie makes her living as a Funeral Celebrant, Coach, Mastermind Facilitator and Artist.

She has facilitated two Death Cafes in Northern New South Wales and facilitated Australia’s first online Death Café.




Offerings from our 2016 Gathering:

Barry Coates
On The Edge of Chaos: Reclaiming Economics and the Moral Society

The principles and beliefs that sustain us are going to be tested in the multiple crises that lie ahead, as never before. We will need to build movements for change across traditional divides, from the local to the global, to build support for human centred economies and compassionate societies.

Barry has since gone into Parliament and his maiden speech may be found at  http://www.bit.ly/BarryC


Rosalie StewardRosalie Steward

Waging Peace in the Family

What are the ingredients for creating peaceful and loving families? What does it take to create change in families where violence and abuse are ‘life as we know it’? Rosalie Steward will be sharing her insight and experience from the last ten years of working alongside men, women and children to create peace in the home.


Dave Owens

The Great Fathers Project – Ordinary Men Make Great Fathers

Dave launched Great Fathers in 2008, a national initiative that advocates for a strong child/father relationship.         The intention of Great Fathers is to encourage new dads to get engaged and involved with their baby. We focus on dads during the baby and toddler stage for two reasons. The first is because a father who is highly  active in caring for his infant will develop an emotional bond with his child that endures and this support provides a child with a range of advantages. And secondly because a child having generally positive experiences and consistency during their earliest years  sets a strong foundation for the rest of their life.

Great Fathers focuses on fathers because social services directed at infants and toddlers are virtually all delivered through mothers. This exclusion of dads is one of many ways fathers are separated from their young children.   Dave believes that addressing the systemic distancing of young children from their fathers would alleviate many social problems that are associated with fatherlessness and absent fathering.   Dave will talk about why dads are  important, what dads (and mums) need to know, why dads don’t figure much in parenting support services and   what can be done about this.


Linda ShawLinda_139cc
Return to Resonance – Harmonising Your Holographic Blueprint

“If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration”

– Nikola Tesla

We vibrate in an energy field called the Universe. We are not separate. We are a blueprint at birth. Most of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health challenges originate in our sub-conscious. Our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs control our health. Find out more about the latest information on how we can build and maintain a strong health and wellbeing vibration so our work in the world can flourish even more.


David JacobsDavid Jacobs
Treat the Youths Right 

“Treat the youths right

Instead of putting up a fight

Treat the youths right

Or you’ll been playin’ with dynamite

– Jimmy Cliff

Nine years of The Outlook for Someday film challenge offers some insight into an evolving generation of young people. What is stirring them up? How do they work together? Watch their films and see what’s emerging.


Richard Jacob-HoffRichard Jacob-Hoff

Working With Diversity

“Working with diversity” is a group exploration of what it takes to successfully engage with people                          who bring different ideas and perspectives to topics of mutual interest.

Kia ora taatou.

I am of Swiss/Scottish heritage, brought up in Switzerland and England, reborn in Australia and settled and bonded with Aotearoa these last 25 years.  I have been very happily married     to my wife, Maggie for 35 years and we have a son, Tristan living with his partner, Amy, two cats and a grand piano in London.  My other love is the natural environment, especially wildlife.                           My entire career has been dedicated to conserving what we have left and healing the parts  we have injured.  The life and work of Gerald Durrell, (for whom I was able to work many years ago),       has inspired and guided much of my own work in the world.  I am a wildlife veterinarian by training    and am currently responsible for guiding the conservation science and research at Auckland Zoo                                 including the development of a Conservation College.  I look forward to connecting and reconnecting with you at the summer gathering.


Dale Hunterdale-hunter

“What If…..”

This involves each person identifying a scenario of powerful meaning to them. In the group we will listen deeply to and appreciate these scenarios and as time allows align on a few of these                    to develop together (using a process for taking possibility through to action).

What Dale brings to the gathering is deep listening for planetary health and well being and our possible human contribution to that. She has skills and experience in focussing and  deepening  thinking in fresh ways which call forth collective intelligence.


Anthea OgilvieAnthea Ogilvie Bethells
The Day I Couldn’t Leave My Child Alone In A Place with High Fences and Locks On The Gates, our families unschooling journey

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

– George Bernard Shaw.

I spoke several gatherings ago about our families attachment parenting approach. I’d love to update you all on where we are at now that we have reached and passed school age and decided against school. What is  child-led learning?   How do children learn without following a curriculum, having planning lessons and attending academic classes?  Why the parents are not teachers in an unschooling household.

Mark SkeldingMark Skelding

Songlines – Dreamtime, Belonging, Indifference and Feedback in a Living World

When the Head of Psychiatry at UCLA says “As long as we see Self as a single noun,                            the planet is cooked”, and the Chief of the Australian Climate Commission talks of            “the first intelligent superorganism that has ever existed in the history of the universe     as far as we know…  planet earth is coming to awareness…. plugging this emerging global brain       into a nervous system that lets us understand this metabolism.. “ we know everything  is up for grabs, and especially our place in the system!

Whilst these are exciting ideas about the changes underway, this workshop will focus on the changes, primarily,       as living, felt experiences that invite and guide us into greater participation with, action for and commitment  to planet, people and place.    As poet David Whyte says: Everything is Waiting.


Beach shot IMG_5641 Cropped.Smaller.2 copy - Version 2Juliet Batten

Sacred Earth: Finding Power and Partnership with Nature

How do you maintain connection with the sacred in nature when you see how much harm we have done to the very systems that sustain life: to the atmosphere, the waters, the earth and the very climate itself? Let’s talk, let’s do practices of reconnection and healing, and explore ways of restoring power and partnership with the earth.

Activism began when I was a student. After returning from 2 years in Paris, a rubbish tip proposal launched me into two decades of environmental activism, first as a founder of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, and researcher on alternative methods of waste disposal, wetland ecology, and sustainable energy. For nine years I was a Director of the QEII National Trust, working with farmers and Councils to preserve open space. I returned to University Teaching as tutor in the new Environmental Studies Course, and also taught this subject to Engineering students. 1995 saw the publication of Celebrating the Southern Seasons and seven more books, expressing concern for spiritual, community and ecological wellbeing. Now I am excited to be working with sacred activism and developing some new online teaching for 2016.


KayKayKay Kay

The Power of Interpersonal Communication in Influencing the Future

We each will inevitably have a negative or a positive influence upon the future through our conversations and the remarks that we make. How we speak and what we say to people in our families, in our places of work and in social situations—especially when we wish to bring about change—will obviously have an impact upon our relationships with people and is likely to influence how they, especially children, might feel about themselves, which could affect their future attitudes and behavior. Using the specific skills of Constructive Communication we can avoid saying things in ways that we later regret; we can say whatever needs to be said without diminishing other people, making any situation worse or damaging our relationships; we can encourage change and provide opportunities for continued dialogue. We could each make a significant contribution towards a positive and peaceful future, one conversation at a time.

Kay is an author of books on effective community engagement and constructive interpersonal communication. Based in the UK, she spends six months of every year in NZ


EmmaEmma Nelson

Edge Perspectives on Illness and Disease

Our traditional health system specializes in diagnosing, treating and curing acute conditions and infectious disease. But as we live longer and handle increasing levels of personal stress and global catastrophizing we need to re-examine the way we manage long-term conditions, use antibiotics, and prevent and alleviate the sufferings of being human (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social). I wish to lead a discussion on how we define wellness as contextual rather than objective. What may a collaborative approach to health look like? What kind of infrastructure best serves a holistic model of health?  What might be the relationship between physical dis-ease and our thoughts, emotions and experiences? How we move from self-care to collective caring.


Ksenija NapanKsenja

Associate Professor, Massey University, Auckland

An Inquiry into the Relationship between Curiosity and Learning

Curiosity did not kill the cat! Curiosity keeps us alive and engaged!

I am keen to explore in this gathering where is curiosity coming from, where it goes when it is missing and how it relates to fun and learning.

How do we engender curiosity in one another?

How does it relate to motivation and our sense of purpose and meaning?

Is curiosity a characteristic or a co-created event? Does it happen in isolation or is it engendered by relating?

What is the relationship between curiosity and creativity, curiosity and zest for life?

How is current scientific paradigm treating curiosity?

Does contemporary spirituality allow for curiosity or does it just propose a new set of dogmas?

What metaphors best describe curiosity, which stories?

Which animals and plants express curiosity the best?

In this gathering I propose to play with ideas and engage in various dialogues in hope our curiosity will help us creating some novel ideas or ways of being to bring forth the world.