Kia ora, My name is Jamie Allen. I'm married to Suzy, and Dad of four girls, whom I love with all my heart. They are Roxy, Katy, Carrie and Danii.
The hardest journey of my life was walking alongside my daughter, Carrie, to her death, due to cancer, in 2012. She continues to make me the person that I am, and her presence in many ways is intimately woven into the journey of this retreat.
Taranaki is all about the people, and they are truly like no other. This timeout space is more needed in our society than ever as so many of us experience depression and suicidal thoughts; and as our communication becomes increasingly virtual rather than person-to-person. The Retreat is about the good stuff : walking alongside one-another - and sharing and dealing with burdens. It is a kaupapa with some fantastic support and energy in our community, and I feel very proud to be a part of it. Most of all, I wanna say - this place is for YOU; for all of us.
Nō reira tēnā koe
Taranaki Retreat is a great place to be. We all have our different stories with pain and laughter. As with so many of us, I have been changed by heartbreaking loss - and yet I find meaning to life by walking alongside others who are on a journey of pain and discovery. It is also a part of my faith. I have learned that whatever has gone before, there is always hope to be found.
With a career background in working with children and teens, as well as in admin, I love the variety of working at the Retreat. My role is to oversee the day to day care of Guests and visitors, welcoming them to site, arranging activities, to be a listening ear and making sure that the Lodge is well-stocked and maintained. I also have oversight of many of our awesome volunteers who help make this a better place; manage our facebook page; enjoy liaising with our various sponsors and keep track of donations and our wonderful donors. I enjoy cooking so am usually to be found in the kitchen preparing dinner each night for the Guest whānau and I love to bake when cake is needed :)
Haere mai! This is wonderful place and I feel enormously privileged
to be a part of the trust. I am Ruth Smithers and have lived and
worked from here all my life. David (known as biggie from surfing
days) and i have three adult children and we have a small business in
I bring experience and skills from a wide ranging background across
health and social services, business development and change
management. I completed an MBA with distinction and felt that gave me
the impetus (and courage!) to branch out into consulting and executive
roles. The contexts have ranged from nursing back in the day to
business, in community, hospitals, DHB planning and funding, private
business, consulting, and ngos, including, until recently, Deputy
CE of Tui Ora. As well as Taranaki Retreat, i am a trustee with
Arts Access Aotearoa and was a director with Worksafe NZ in 2017.
I am excited to support the vision and mahi of the retreat, its
amazing staff and volunteers and, most importantly, the individuals
and whānau it works with. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
Jacinta and her family are from Coastal Taranaki. For the last 21 years, Jacinta and her husband have been in business operating the Z Service Stations in Taranaki and Manawatu-Wanganui. They have four adult children. Jacinta is fully committed to the work of the Retreat; caring for others in need is a value that is incredibly important to her
Chair of the Trust Board
Kia ora. I believe that the Taranaki Retreat is of great benefit to our community by providing a refuge for people within our province when they are at their most vulnerable. There is currently no other facility in Taranaki which provides this level of residential support, at little or no cost.
In my previous role as Principal of Devon Intermediate, I have seen the impact of suicide. The effect is always far reaching so if this retreat could make a difference for even one family, the well being of the community will be enhanced.
Any initiative which supports individuals and whanau who are struggling with suicide, depression, grief or loss will benefit not only the people directly involved, but the community as a whole.
A very warm welcome to the Taranaki Retreat website. I am LeAnne Blakelock, a chartered accountant and dairy farmer. I live in Inglewood with my partner Ian, our 20 year old foster son Jack and our 4 dogs.
We host for the international work away program and our house is usually a jumbling chaos of international guests, farm staff, family, friends coupled with loads of food and activity. I love to cook and believe that the best way to look after people is to create a home environment where they can feel a sense of belonging and care.
Having had my life touched by suicide and spent a great deal of time supporting family members and friends through mental health issues and personal crisis, it is a privilege to be able to offer my assistance in supporting such a wonderful cause as the Taranaki Retreat and helping others in my community.
Grew up in Taranaki and spent my teaching time, in different parts of NZ.
I was part of the Team to establish the first pilot programme for
P.A.F.T (parents as first teachers) at my school.
Working in this area, I became heavily involved in the family life
of my students.
I have been support counsellor under the new Adoption Act,
supporting the 3 sides, in each aspect of the healing process.
I have always been interested in and involved with assisting people
be the best they can be, in the workplace, the family and socially.
This has involved workplace mediation, health and safety issues and
My current involvement with the Retreat, is the Debriefing of the
This allows them to discuss their effectiveness in moving their
clients forward, to step outside any doubts they might have had about
what they have achieved; to reflect together, and to value their
Originally from Poland and with a career that has taken me all over the world, I am now proud to call Taranaki home. I am the CEO of Te Karaka Foundation, and I am also working in my own consulting business. My working life spans from Design Manager in Australia to Chief Executive Officer in New Zealand and Regional Director in Europe working for large multinational companies and privately owned businesses.
I wanted to support and join the Team at the Taranaki Retreat from the time I read of this beautiful mission to help the vulnerable people in our region. The team at the heart of this mahi have empowered the whole Taranaki community to build the Retreat and to create the Safe Space for people to deal with the trauma or loss they are going through and offer them help to see the positive change for their future.
The wellbeing of others and helping people in need has always been one of my highest priorities and concerns. I am very grateful to work with Jamie, Suzy, the Trust Board and Team of Taranaki Retreat on helping people before things get worse and making a difference in their lives. We are all on the mission to try and to stop people from taking their own lives.
I believe that only by working together we can prevent the families, friends and our community being devastated by the loss of a loved one to suicide and that everyone has a role to play in reducing suicide and supporting those affected.
I feel privileged to be able to offer my support to such a great cause as the Taranaki Retreat and helping people when they are most vulnerable in whatever way I can.
Other Key Members Of The Project Team
Born and raised in New Plymouth, I am very proud to call Taranaki home. After attaining a Bachelor of Communication and a Bachelor of Accountancy from Massey University in Wellington I returned to New Plymouth and now work as an accounting clerk at Tandem Group. A strong support network of friends and family are essential to survival in the modern world and I consider it a privilege to work with the Taranaki Retreat who step in where these networks are stretched or have collapsed. I think it fitting that the Retreat has been built in Taranaki with its strong base of community support and it reminds me why I call this place home.
Community Support Worker
I started at Taranaki Retreat a few years ago as a volunteer gardener and have been lucky to have seen the site change from bare farm land to the facility it is now.
As a Community Support Worker, my role is multi-functional and includes undertaking residential assessments of potential guests, the on site support of their daily needs and conducting outreach visits to individuals in the community.
I am also involved in many of the core tasks involved in the day to day running and future development of the site including the development of our landscape and gardens, coordination of projects with our workaway visitors and volunteers and the procurement of items and donations necessary to develop and enhance the site.
I am passionate about my work and truly believe that Taranaki Retreat plays a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our region and its people.
Kia ora, I'm Annaliese, I started out as a volunteer here at Taranaki Retreat and immediately felt a strong connection to the project. I was delighted to be approached in April 2018 to take on the role as Case Manager. Never before have I been in such a privileged role, every day I am blown away by the strength and courage of those who reach out to us; I am humbled to share in their journey. Helping others is something I have always been drawn to and the non-judgemental, compassionate approach here at the Retreat offers the perfect environment to do just that. After several years working in people-focused roles, a degree in psychology, and a stint away traveling, I am comfortable and enjoy relating to people from all walks of life. Most recently I was working as a Personal Trainer, which really exposed the necessity of approaching any situation with a holistic view - I appreciate how strongly interconnected we are and see power in stepping back to take stock of all parts of our lives when looking for balance. I am fortunate enough to also be involved with the day-to-day running of the Retreat, and really enjoy meeting all of the lovely Guests and volunteers who make this place what it is.