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St Francis Retreat Centre Auckland

Awake. Alive. Present.

A seven day retreat exploring the four foundations of mindfulness

7 days

Four Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat

5 - 11 August 2024 | Hillsborough, Auckland
With Dianne May and Nadav Avny
This is a device free retreat
We invite you to relinquish electronic devices and a constant state of being busy, on and doing so that your nervous system can re-find its natural settling capacity. There will be of course an emergency contact number to give to your family should the need arise.

This 7 day silent retreat is suitable for anyone wishing to deepen their practice and cultivate further understanding of the wisdom teachings underpinning mindfulness practices. The practices and teachings will provide an opportunity to become familiar and explore the four foundations of mindfulness.

This retreat will offer periods of exploring your embodied experience of the four foundations of mindfulness through alternating sitting and walking meditation as well as mindful movement practices. Whilst this retreat is a silent retreat, there will also be opportunities for group and individual discussions with the teachers in order to explore the personal experience of the practice and cultivate mindful communication.

The emphasis will be on creating together a safe, supportive and connected space for you to cultivate heart qualities such as compassion to self and others, courage, patience, authenticity and trust.

The retreat will take place at St Francis Retreat Centre, Hillsboroughl, which is immersed in glorious nature and offers the opportunity to practice within the surrounding environment, explore bush walks and look after the body with nutritious and delicious vegetarian food. 

Who is it for?

This retreat welcomes also people who are new to the practice. However as this is a silent meditation retreat with an intensive schedule of practice, it will be particularly beneficial for people who have some experience of mindfulness meditation (e.g. having completed the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course). Do be in touch if need be to check your suitability before enrolling.


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Who is this retreat for?

This retreat is for anyone wishing to deepen their practice and cultivate further understanding of the wisdom teachings underpinning mindfulness practices.

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What the retreat offers

This traditional insight meditation retreat will offer silent periods of sitting and walking meditation, yoga as well group and individual teacher meetings..

Register Now


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The retreat led by Dianne and Nadav was excellent in every way - they are talented teachers, they created a wonderful peaceful space which was balanced beautifully: restorative, insightful and a deeper understanding of mindfulness. The venue was brilliant too.



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Standard Rate  
Price - AU$1595 (inc GST) 
This is the usual rate for this type of event and the rate we ask you to select if you are able.
Supporting Rate
Price - AU$1795 (inc GST)
This rate is slightly higher than the usual rate for this type of event. Selecting this option is a way of supporting others to attend mindfulness events that they otherwise might not be able to attend. If you are able to select this option the MTIA guarantees that the additional funds will be directly channelled into supporting others to access mindfulness teaching who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
Subsidised Rate 
Price - AU$1450  (inc GST)
This is a self-select funded rate whereby your place will be supported by other full paying participants. Please select this rate if you are in receipt of benefits or would find it otherwise inaccessible to attend due to the fee. We will not ask for evidence at this stage but may ask for evidence to support your claim in the future.

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Date and Time

5 - 11 August 2024
Arrive from 4:00pm Saturday for the 6pm start and concludes 1pm Friday

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Venue and Catering

All rooms are single room, shared bathroom and catering is home cooked vegetarian. Vegan and gluten free options available.

Directions to H.P.
How to get there

St Francis Retreat Centre
50 Hillsborough Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

How to get there:





Refund Policy

A 90% refund will be issued if cancellation is received up to two months before the event.

A 50% refund will be issued up to one month before the event.

However, in either of those two circumstances, if a substitute person can be found so that MTI is not impacted financially there will be a full refund less 10% admin fee.

No refunds will be issued after 5 July, 2024 except in extenuating circumstances.

If you are in any doubt about your suitability for the retreat, do be in touch in advance before enrolling to avoid cancellation fees. 

Notice of cancellation must be provided to MTI via email and will be confirmed via reply email. MTI cannot accept responsibility for correspondence that is delayed or for failure of delivery.

In the unlikely event the retreat is cancelled by the organisers, registration fees will be fully refunded. No liability will be accepted for travel, accommodation or other costs / expenses incurred by participants.



Dianne May

Member NZAC

Dianne is recognized as a Senior Mindfulness Based Teacher in New Zealand, being one of the first teachers to offer the 8 week MBSR programme in Auckland, and has been offering Mindfulness Based programmes for the past 16 years. She is the NZ Co-director of Mindfulness Training Institute (MTI) - Australia &New Zealand, and is a recognized Supervisor for MTI supervising Mindfulness teachers on the pathway.

Over the past 17 years Dianne has undertaken a number of intensive MBSR trainings with Jim Carmody, and in 2009 attended the Sydney health professionals training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.

Nadav Avny

New Zealand Psychologists Board #90-04410
UK Council for Psychotherapy Registered Psychotherapist (UKCP reg.) #07159199 

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Nadav is a certified teacher and approved supervisor of MBSR and MBCT. He is Co-Director of the Mindfulness Training Institute: Australia & New Zealand.

Nadav’s clinical psychology training was psychodynamic. He later completed training in Integrative Psychotherapy (focusing on Gestalt and Existential Psychotherapy), and he has been a UK Council for Psychotherapy Registered Psychotherapist (UKCP reg.) since 2007. Over the years, Nadav developed knowledge also in other therapeutic modalities, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Family Therapy.

 In Nadav’s most recent role of nine years in the public health system, as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit, Auckland City Hospital, he founded and led a mindfulness project that involves a sustainable implementation of Mindfulness at the Mental Health Services, including MBSR. 


What is a secular retreat?

Secular means "of our age". 

We offer retreats that are open to people of any and no faith. Our retreats are informed by both ancient knowledge and contemporary understandings about human flourishing, including scientific findings about health and well-being. 

While mindfulness is a natural human capacity, we draw explicitly on the very practical teachings of the Buddha, which describe experiences that are shared by all humans. We bring understandings from Buddhist psychology to inquire into the nature of suffering and how to incline the mind towards  freedom. We bring an interest in the the fields of neuroscience and psychology which continue to expand our understandings of how to live a fulfilling life with less struggle, and to make links to practical teachings that have existed for thousands of years.

Our retreats makes the practical learning from Buddhism, as well as modern science, available in an ordinary, secular and accessible way that is applicable in your everyday life.