Words: Kate Underwood | Photography: Felicity Witters
[Retreat – Relax – Rebalance]
As you close the gate on the chaos of SH2, from the moment you enter this idyllic estate, the relaxation process begins. Meander up the gravel drive, through 200 acres of fertile, sustainably developed farmland and you’ll discover Earth Energies Sanctuary. A health and wellness retreat with heart and intention, specialising in stress and anxiety management and offering a range of deep relaxation therapies that aim to bring the body and mind back into balance. Just an hour’s drive from central Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga, on the edge of the Hauraki Plains with spectacular 360-degree views out to the Firth of Thames, this is the ultimate place to unearth your bliss.
The souls behind this tranquil oasis are husband and wife Marie and Duncan. After a successful, globe-trotting corporate career, Marie has first-hand experience of highly stressful work conditions. Following a yearning for something more, she was drawn to the healing modalities of both natural remedies and physical therapies and has spent the last ten years honing her craft. Fully supported by her handyman husband, together the Earth Energies dream was born. Duncan is a man of the land, maintaining the property, managing the farm and tending to their herd of Red Devon Cattle, while also foraging kawakawa for their own Botanicals product range. As a talented craftsman, his bespoke timber fittings and furniture take pride of place throughout the estate.
Forgoing a luxury resort and honouring the location, Marie and Duncan have created an intimate rural retreat with a genuine old-country feel. Within purpose built, state-of-the-art therapy rooms, Marie offers her clients a sacred space to rest, relax and heal from the inside out. Suffering information overload and distraction everywhere we turn, many of us are living in a constant state of overwhelm and experiencing high instances of stress and anxiety. This dis-ease within the mind can often manifest as physical ailments, but Marie believes that “given the tools and space to stop, we have the capacity to return to a state of calm, mindful consciousness”.
The Sanctuary offers a unique combination of treatments, designed for intentional relaxation, that enable the body to begin the self-healing process. Guests can choose individually tailored, full or half-day therapies, based on their needs, with the option of staying overnight at the cabin. While locals or regulars can book for individual floats or zero-balance treatments. With just one set of clients welcomed at a time, guests have exclusive use of all rooms.
The exquisitely designed treatment space contains an ultra-modern float orb (the only of its kind in New Zealand) alongside a full spectrum infra-red sauna. Floatation therapy takes place in a giant saline pod, filled with 500kg of Epsom salts, creating a buoyant body of water. Float effortlessly in an encapsulated space, free from all sensory distraction and surrender to the amplified sound of your heart beating in your chest. The large infrared sauna uses rejuvenating heat and light therapy to remove harmful toxins and support circulation through muscles and tissues. Couples can sauna together, or while one floats the other can sweat their worries away.
Zero Balance, is a bone-deep relaxation therapy, performed fully clothed, that uses a series of skilled touch to release tension between the structure and energy flow of the body. Aiming to boost vitality, the treatment is rooted in Western anatomy with an Eastern understanding of energy. Another option is Secrets of the Skull, which gently releases strain patterns in cranial bones, bringing relief from nervous tension, clearing energy pathways and helping the body and mind regain flexibility and clarity.
An advocate for clinical hypnotherapy, Marie guides you to look inward, tapping into your subconscious, teaching you how to relax your mind and helping rewire negative thought patterns, creating lasting change in thoughts, emotions and behaviour.Her Aromatouch therapy brings a clinical approach to applying essential oils along energy meridians and reflexology points, which help stimulate and balance the nervous systems. A truly relaxing experience. Guests can also undertake a ZYTO scan, a modality that identifies which oils are best suited for their individual needs.
Accommodation in a country estate
Overnight guests can delight in the comfort of a modern two-bedroom cabin, set in the heart of the property. Ideal for couples, small families or a group of friends, each space is kitted out with luxurious linen, dressing gowns and plump pillows. As the only guest residence on the property, your privacy and seclusion are assured. Look out over the native bush-clad valley where tui, kereru, fantails and kingfisher reside. In the evening, unwind on your private balcony, wine in hand, soothed by the haunting call of the resident morepork.
You’ll be fed and watered with nutritious food to support your blissful escape. Be welcomed with a cheese and nibbles basket and wake up to a delicious breakfast of farm produce—all included in your stay. Opt to self-cater, or choose from the ‘we create, you cook’ menu, and if you fancy venturing out, Marie can recommend a number of superb local eateries.
Together the couple have crafted Under the Earth Energies Botanicals brand, a range of organically grown kawakawa remedies. Duncan harvests the kawakawa from the property and surrounding areas, while Marie creates her potions in the heavenly product room built by Duncan. Kawakawa is an endemic NZ herb, traditionally used in Māori medicine to treat pain and skin disorders. Tapping into nature’s pharmacy they combine native plants, pure natural waxes from the farm’s hives, and organic oils.
Their Kawa Gel, dubbed ‘first aid in a pot’ has a loyal following both here and overseas. It’s a powerful, yet gentle product, used to treat cuts/wounds, itchy bites, eczema and other troublesome skin conditions or try the sensitive skin option Kawa Pure, suitable for nappy rash and babies’ skin conditions and made from a blend of calming organic oils such as apricot kernel, grape and rosehip, flower essences and natural waxes. Their full range is available to view and order online.
Building the Earth Energies Sanctuary has been a dedicated labour of love over the last two years. Officially open from mid-April, Marie and Duncan look forward to welcoming guests into the fresh farm air. Book in for a serene escape and embark on your own personalised healing journey. A pair of gumboots and a sense of bliss await …
Relish the Memory