Helping people at the Taranaki Retreat

The Taranaki Retreat is a community sanctuary, and place of aroha and support. Taranaki Community News caught up with one of the team – life coach Liz Fry, to find out about what she does and why she does it.

This may sound a bit silly, but what is a life coach, and what do they actually do?
Not silly at all, life coaches can work in different ways. I see life coaching as very much about looking and moving forward. It can help people who feel stuck or not sure of their direction, as well as helping people that have been through something really quite traumatic.

It is about taking a journey together, and the opportunity to take action, gain tools and understanding while having support at the same time.

Part of the work I do is around helping people identify their core beliefs.  We all have them and without awareness of them, it can really hold us back in life, business/work/health/relationships and more. I love seeing those light bulb moment.


Liz Fry, left, chatting with one of the team at the Taranaki Retreat.  

As a life coach you work closely with the wonderful Taranaki Retreat, supporting guests and their families during their stay, and after it. Can you tell us about this role?
We brought life coaching in to the services of the retreat last year when I offered to volunteer for three months over winter while I on my travels.

What we found was that not only was it giving the guests some tools, but also a fresh perspective, some hope, a light at the end of that tunnel.

This service has now grown and we are able to offer guests ongoing support once they leave, which can really help embed the learning and see how the tools and ideas can be integrated in to life.

The Taranaki Retreat is a place where people have the space to breathe.

Can you tell us more about the Taranaki Retreat?
Since opening their doors in 2017 the Retreat has worked with more than 3,000 people.  It’s a local suicide prevention initative. It’s a whanau-based non-clinical service that supports people through residential stays and through a community outreach programme.

The work they do can really help remind people what it feels like to be supported, loved and cared about. The shared kai in the evening is such an important time of coming together and connecting.

The Retreat’s line is about having a space to breathe. For some it is exactly that, just being able to get out of the pressures/commitments of everyday life, have the chance to rest and reset, or maybe get connected with some external services and get some small steps in place to start making some changes.

Life can be stressful sometimes. What are your top tips for looking after yourself?
A simple one is to find some things that top up your tanks, things that you enjoy.  They don’t need to take a long time or cost a lot. It may be playing some music, going for a short walk, playing with the dog, journalling.

When we bring more of the ‘good stuff’ into our lives it can really give us more capacity to deal with the everyday stresses of life and remind us what life is all about!

Taranaki Retreat is the vision of Jamie and Suzy Allen

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do outside of the Taranaki Retreat?
Landing in New Zealand six years ago, it was meant to be first stop on worldwide travels, but as soon as I set foot at Auckland Airport I felt like I had come home, and that feeling just grown stronger the more of the country I saw and year by year.

Having lived North of Auckland for four years September 2017 found me giving up my rented accommodation and getting on the road for some more travels, travelling over both islands ending up in New Plymouth where I have put roots down again for the foreseeable!

In the UK I worked as a nurse, worked for the prison service and ran a pub. Once over here I did care work, and then felt I had something else in me I wanted to explore. That turned out to be life coaching, so I got certified and have since become a Be Bold facilitator as well.

Back in the UK, I have my awesome family who I miss heaps, but have been lucky enough to be back a few times, and catch up with regularly online.

Wow, you’ve done many things in your life! What have you learned from such varied experiences?
That I love people! Everyone has a story to share, and that we can all learn from each other. This may be through experiences, ideas, or some other way. I believe I have also learnt compassion, for others and over time for myself too.

We truly do not know what other people are going through.  Kindness and coming from a place of love really is the only way.

What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
So many to choose from, this feels quite pertinent for a few of the conversations I have been having recently –

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities.  If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Trusting and having faith is so important in life. If we live with a belief that something won’t work, chances are it won’t. But when we start trusting that we are in the right place and start taking action, then momentum starts building and we do start seeing those opportunities presented to us, and that is when the magic starts happening!

You can follow Taranaki Retreat on Facebook, or you can visit their website. You can also follow Liz on Facebook.