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Virtues Aotearoa - April 2003

Virtues Aotearoa

 April 2003 Newsletter  for  Virtues  Project New  Zealand    Volume 7 Issue 3



South Pacific Mentorship Conference

Using Virtues Project concepts to change attitudes in unemployed youth

International perspectives

Starting Virtues Connections

Facilitator Exchange

From the desk of Virtues Project New Zealand

Videos for hire

Field work component for Facilitators

Registered Facilitators

News from around New Zealand and the Pacific

Workshops and Conferences



 “Crystallizing Where We Are Going”

South Pacific Mentorship Conference


photograph of an ice crystal formed with water that has resonated to prayer


Mentorship this year was splendid with time for everyone to share what they have been doing, time to discuss everyone’s needs, time to set some goals and action steps, time for playing, dancing, walking on the beach, reflecting, listening, and caring for each other!  Through this bounty of time, we were able to crystallize new meanings and new endeavours. Everyone went away with a plan in hand for the coming year as well as with new friends in their hearts.


Our numbers this year were very small—probably due to several reasons– we were in Wellington, not Auckland, so we were lean on the Upper North Island crowd; our dates were at the end of February and while we were hoping this might attract more teachers, this didn’t eventuate and we found the dates were too close to the beginning of the new business year to be comfortable even for those who came; and some of our stalwart Mentorship participants had attended the second Soulful Life Retreat in Christchurch in January and didn’t have enough money budgeted for a second round of Virtues this year.



So Teachable Moments all around.  We’ve booked Vaughan Park Retreat Centre for the next two years over Auckland Anniversary weekend (check the Workshops and Conferences Page for details).


Eleven souls came together for this special time and we did some great work together.  We had three people from overseas, Donna Wheatcroft from Alberta, Canada, Shidan Toloui-Wallace from Brisbane, Australia, and Easuary Deamer from Vanuatu.  Rose Cotter from Levin, Yvonne DeMille from Lower Hutt, Sam Te Tau from Masterton, and Angevahn from Taranaki joined the VPNZ team of Radha, Kay, Lynne, Beth and Paddy in welcoming our overseas visitors.


We began on Friday morning with sharing what we hoped to learn, what we brought to share and identifying our biggest challenge in working with The Virtues Project.  Then we created our schedule for the weekend, so that everyone had a time to be able to share an activity, an exercise, or a project.  This allowed all of us to try out new approaches and to get consultation from the group.


Radha gave us a short presentation from UCA which included a gift of new Virtues Wallet Cards for everyone.


Lynne Klap shared some Universal Movement with us.  These were dance movements from different cultures; Lynne very effectively used Radha’s new Dance CD for the music.  One of the movements had us making a bird, fish and river with our hands, reflecting the feeling of life flowing toward the Creator.  All of the movements seemed to fill us with a sense of joyfulness, and a connection with Soul.


Donna Wheatcroft shared an activity that she recently created for a half-hour presentation about Virtues with parents AND children.  A Virtues Pick is done with the whole group. Then each person was given a piece of string and reflected how the strength of the string was due to the many fibers that twisted together. Donna pointed out that when you practice one virtue many others are strengthened as well.  She had everyone look for Virtues in each other and themselves and then tie a knot in the piece of string.  Then she encouraged everyone to take their string home and tie another knot every time they practiced the Virtue from their Virtues Pick.  After a month (or 21 times) they would have built a new habit of practicing that Virtue.


Kay Miller shared several ways of doing Virtues Picks. She keeps three packs of cards going-one at work, one in the lounge for day to day guidance and a pack in her sacred area. Sacred Pack Pick -Take a pack that you've been using, give it a thorough shuffle, then ask one of your children to stack the cards back into a pack. Take the top card each day, working your way through the pack. 'I love the way the children's stacking influences my day.' At last year's mentorship, Kay gathered beach stones and Ted wrote Virtues on one side of them in permanent marker. We used these as Virtues picks in a variety of ways that were creative, beautiful and surprising throughout the conference. This year each person gathered a shell when we were kite flying on Seatoun beach and a Virtue was written on each one. These became a farewell Virtues Pick at the end of the mentorship.

One of the challenges that people identified was taking the Virtues into their community, so we agreed to use one community as an example—we chose Vanuatu– and then we spent some time identifying what issues were involved and creating strategies to meet this challenge.  Everyone was able to extrapolate how these strategies would work in their own situations.   We worked through how to focus your training plan around the needs of the community and discussed obtaining and creating resources, budgeting and sustainability. 


This discussion inevitably flowed into further discussion about the Virtues Project New Zealand Development framework, about facilitator registration and trainer application, and building Virtues Connections.  There was much discussion and agreement about the need for people to be open to mentoring should they choose to go on to be a facilitator. 


Yvonne DeMille taught us all how to make kites– we put Virtues on them to sail our hopes for the world out on the wind– and then we went down to the beach and got them up in the air!  Totally delightful!


Yvonne also guided us through a process of Goal Setting.  She pointed out that Goal Setting has the benefits of being less stressed—it helps get the ‘white noise’ out of your head and it helps you get what you want.

The first part was defining the objective—we all decided that our objective for this exercise was: to Build  a Virtues community—so our Goal statement was:


We are a team of people passionate about The Virtues Project, committed to successfully  to promote, support, network and fund Virtues Project actions in our community by August 1, 2003.


Goals need to be Positive, Personal, Present. We need to start at the end, and work our way to the beginning looking at places on the way that are obstacles. A stated goal is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable (can be done by someone), Realistic (I can do it), and Tangible. Refer to the goal constantly. It is a touchstone for every step along the way.


We decided that these were the obstacles to  our Goal:

  • we need support

  • meeting regularly

  • men needed

  • time constraints

  • people who are interested

  • not having models


Then we looked at Action steps to overcome these obstacles:

  •   look at existing data bases of people in work

  •   establish a phone tree (last person phone first for check)

  •   phone people from a scripted outline stating the job descriptions (include roles and tasks) and ask them to bring ideas.

  •   organize meeting - venue, time, purpose, leader, and agenda stating the goals and tasks.

 We did a spirit walk on a Wellington rocky shore beach at sunset, came back and after a suggestion from Sam Te Tau we washed our feet then gave each other a foot massage to more delightful music from Radha’s Touch music CD. 


The next day, Beth outlined what the Virtues Action Learning Programme is and then Angevahn shared her journey of doing projects for Virtues Action Learning.  This was a powerful presentation because it was clearly about transformation of character—the new approaches that Angevahn learned while she was carrying out her experiments in giving Virtues presentations.  One helpful idea that Angevahn created was a Virtues suitcase– she carefully has collected all the materials that she may need for a presentation and has packed it into a well-organised bag that has wheels.  She developed her presentation in PowerPoint format, printed it out and has it in clear files in a notebook.  Angevahn says her experiment in developing Orderliness led to a deeper understanding of Trust and Trustworthiness.


Shidan shared with everyone a project that she is working on to systematically teach young immigrants to Australia about the knowledge and application of a few specific virtues that contribute in positive and constructive ways to a harmonious Australian society. The group was able to give her feedback about her lesson plans, help to discuss how to price the proposal and to align the objectives of the plan to the Virtues.

A poster of  our hands had been created by Yvonne during the conference and this was given to Donna to take to the Global Mentorship conference in Victoria.


Special thanks went to Radha for the music that she provided throughout the conference—both on CD and live!  It seemed she always had the right song at the right time.






 Using Virtues Project Concepts to Change Attitudes in Unemployed Youth

By Sheldon Ramer


I am a Counsellor at Lyttelton Health Centre.  Lyttelton is the original entry in Christchurch and, like any port town, can be a little rough.  In 1999 the town centre was controlled by a bunch of out-of-work youth, generally drunk, whose history of growing up is best told by the Social Workers that were involved with their families.  An organisation called Work Peninsula was created, by local industry and WINZ, to help alleviate the chronic unemployment suffered by the young people of the town.


This is where I come in – armed with Virtues Project material and unbridled enthusiasm.  Amanda, the Manager of Work Peninsula and I devised a plan by which I would be the “change agent” and, by changing their vision of themselves, these young people would be ready to seek work – which the Manager would then arrange.


Ten participants were selected for the course, which lasted a week – four days with me, and the last day with Amanda learning about CVs and interviews.  We began the first day by breaking down communication barriers and creating a sense of  ‘team’ –

Amanda, myself and them – all looking for the same outcome.  The next step was to introduce the concept of virtues and how they experience virtues in every phase of their lives, including the ‘bad’ ones.  Various exercises were then

introduced including Interactive  Introductions, Shaming to Naming and, most importantly, the Virtues Picks.  The final phase was to discuss, in the light of their newly discovered personal core virtues, the possibilities of doing something meaningful with their lives.  (My favourite was Jimmi, the potential Mafia hit man who decided to join the SAS and save the country!)


Once their ‘meaning’ was established, the next step was to discuss the possibility of getting a job in the meantime.  This would give them independence, a way to practice their newly-found virtue of being excellent and, most importantly, it was only the first step toward their goal. Previ-ously, getting a menial job defined them as inferior and, if they failed, it would be the ‘end of the road’.  Now, they had no fear of attempting to find work because the job did not define them.  If they did not succeed, they were not ‘failures’.  They could try again.


Nine out of ten were employed by the end of the course – the tenth needed personal counselling to go further.  In addition, one of them ran for the local Community Board and got elected!  The others banded together to form a local youth club, so that there was a place other than the street to hang out.


I know that using the material and philosophy of The Virtues Project made this happen.  After all, others have attempted to reach and motivate these kids, but with little success.


With this unusually successful result, I took the programme to WINZ and, since then I have run three week-long workshops for their Christchurch youth division, known as ActionWorks.  



 I n t e r n a t I o n a l   P e r s p e c t i v e s  

Starting Virtues Connections


The continuing growth and development of The Virtues Project throughout the world is dependent on the efforts of YOU– the Virtues enthusiasts of whatever locality you represent.  VPI is encouraging people to form Virtues Connections everywhere.  Virtues Connections can take lots of different forms and do lots of different things.  They can be mainly support groups with people meeting to do Virtues Picks, to share their efforts and stories about using Virtues in the home.  They can also be groups who are interested in promoting Virtues to schools and communities.  They can be groups of facilitators who want to work together and support each others’ efforts.  Or they can become regional bodies working with facilitators, trainers, and other enthusiasts to provide promotion of The Virtues Project, networking, support,  translations, and development of new materials useful for your specific region.  No matter which sort of Connection you would like to start, the first thing you need to find is a group of committed people.  Here in New Zealand VPNZ can try to provide you with a list of people who at one time or another have contacted The Virtues Project and might like to be involved in a Connection.  VPI may be able to assist in this way for other places in the world.


The next thing that needs to happen is inviting people to a meeting, talking about the benefits of The Virtues Project and discussing what sort of needs people have and what sorts of things they would like to see happening with Virtues and then what sort of commitment people would like to make towards creating a Virtues Connection.


If you do form a Virtues Connection, be sure to let VPNZ know so we can advertise your contact details as well as any events or workshops that you might sponsor!  Outside of NZ, VPI is also interested to know about you –let them know by contacting–




Facilitator Exchange

Did you know that you can participate in interesting dialogue with other Virtues facilitators around the world? Get advice about different approaches to different groups?  Share helpful activities and ideas?


If you have taken facilitator training, you can join the  exchange by registering with  Just tell them that you would like to subscribe and be part of the Virtues Facilitator Exchange. 


Then everything that is sent to the exchange will appear in your email inbox and you can respond to it if you wish, and be part of the dialogue.




From the Desk of Virtues Project New Zealand

Videos for Hire


We now own the entire set of the Family Series and the Teen Series of Virtues Project Videos from Canada.   Those who are involved at the Field work level can hire them for only the cost of shipment: $5 to send and $5 return.  Otherwise they may be hired at a cost of  $20 per video or $30 for three.  You may keep the videos for two weeks to view them.  The fee helps us to maintain the videos in good order and helps pay for them to be replaced as necessary.  Each video costs us about $100 to replace.  If you wish to hire them, please contact Kay Miller: kay.miller@publictrust.


Field Work Component for Facilitators


In order to more purposefully support the development of new facilitators, Virtues Project NZ is recommending that new facilitators complete a certain number of hours of field work under the mentorship of VPNZ.  This involves the new facilitator informing VPNZ about workshops they are running, how they resulted, successes and problem areas.  VPNZ provides mentoring advice by phone or email. Evaluation sheets are sent to VPNZ.  This also provides VPNZ with a measurable way to recommend and refer new facilitators.  Contact Beth Lew to get your field work report forms and more information about the programme.



Registered Facilitators

Those who have registered already are: Angevahn, Marion Bower, Joanne Connor, Rose Cotter,  Larnie Crompton, Sharlene Davis, Yvonne DeMille, Janet Dixon, Nancy Fulford, Angela Hamilton, Denise Hobo-Tuck, Lynne Klap, Rosanne Kuiti, Lindi Pelkowitz, Ted Proffitt, Ellen and Sheldon Ramer, Sonja Simpson, Ngaire Shorter, Donna Smith, Sam Te Tau, and Jennifer Wright.  Licensed Trainers in New Zealand are Beth Lew and Gilbert Paki.


Help us create a database of our active facilitators.  Send us some information about your interests and areas of experience so we can match you up with organisations that are interested in training.  Also let us know what your time constraints are and how available you are for travelling outside your area.



News from around New Zealand and the Pacific

Wellington– Recently Beth Lew developed a parenting programme for refugees for the Multicultural Centre.  Called Parenting Adolescents the programme is focused on bi-cultural needs and issues.  Beth worked with 11 leaders from several refugee communities who were comfortable working in English.  These leaders will deliver the workshop to their own communities in their own language and will be paid for this work by the Multicultural Centre.  From many countries in Africa and the Middle East and representing Muslim and Christian Faiths, the leaders delighted in sharing traditional foods during the breaks and sharing quotes from their scriptures and traditional stories and allegories from their own cultures that illustrated the principals of The Virtues Project.  They were well-versed in the issues facing refugee parents– teens who are rejecting the values, the language, and the customs of the home country, who are struggling to get an education, to learn English, to be accepted by their peers, and they challenged Beth to show them how Virtues could make a difference with their children.  Beth used lots of role-plays and companioning to demonstrate how this difference could happen.


The programme offers six sessions called: The Power of Positive Language; Adolescent Development/ Identifying the Signs of Trauma; Parenting a Bi-Cultural Youth; Parenting Styles; Teaching Responsibility; Building Strong Relationships. The strategies of The Virtues Project are incorporated within each of the sessions.



Vanuatu– Easuary Deamer has been making presentations to community groups.  In March she met with 13 members of the Vanuatu Handicap Society, the Disabled Peoples Association and The Vandy Sports (for disabled peoples) and gave a one and a half hour presentation.  The group enjoyed the presentation and is discussing having regular workshops.  Easuary then did a 45 minute presentation in April for Vanuatu Association for Women Graduates.  The participants were thrilled with the presentation, each took home the Virtues Card they picked, and are hoping to have workshops for themselves and family members




Workshops and Conferences

Mark your Calendars


Conference 2004

January 23-25

Vaughan Park Retreat Centre

Long Bay, Auckland

Register through Lynne Klap at

For those who have attended a Virtues Project two or three day Intensive


Intensive Trainings   2003



May 9-11, 2003


Deepening the Virtues Within-3 day intensive (Required training to become facilitator of

Virtues Project workshops)  $250

Licensed Trainer: Beth Lew

June 20-23 2003   


Virtues Action Learning Programme,

Riverslea Lodge in Otaki $250

Facilitator: Beth Lew

August 8-10, 2003


Facilitator Skills

Explore facilitation skills with Virtues, discuss promotion, development, practice presentation and spiritual

companioning $160

Facilitator: Beth Lew


October 10-11


Awakening the Virtues Within

2 day introductory intensive

prerequisite for facilitator training  $160

Facilitator: Beth Lew

Nov 1-3, 2002   


Deepening the Virtues Within-3 day intensive,  (Required training to become facilitator of

Virtues Project workshops) $250

Licensed Trainer: Beth Lew 


Canterbury Virtues Trust

Events  for  2003



Staff Training at Discovery School, Christchurch

MAY 12


Staff Training at Mayfield Primary School, Ashburton

MAY 13


Mayfield Parents Workshop

MAY 19


Staff Training at St Michael’s Primary School, Christchurch

MAY 27


Karanga Mai Young Parents Workshop, Kaiapoi

JULY 17/18


Simple Ways to Create a Culture of Character in our Schools – Two-day intensive educators’ workshop facilitated by Beth Lew, Virtues Project Facilitator,

Trainer and teacher from the Wellington area.  $160 – venue to be announced

AUG 29-31 


Spiritual Companioning, Couples Retreat in beautiful Purau Bay.  This is a  convenient get-away with time to relax in your own private holiday home.  Workshops include life-changing, virtue-inspired relationship skills.  Limited to 4 couples at $345 per couple.  Send a deposit of $50 to hold a space.

SEPT 5-7


Ka Taoka Tapu a o Matua Tipuna (The Sacred Treasures of our Ancestors) at Rapaki Marae in Lyttelton Harbour, facilitated by Sheldon Ramer and Tahu Stirling.           This special event begins with dinner at 6 PM on the 5th and ends after lunch on the 7th.  $295 per person, all meals included

OCT 11/12


Awakening the Virtues Within, a workshop for parents, teachers, care-givers, and community workers,  in Christchurch.  An overview of Virtues Project applications, including personal development.  A great “refresher” course, and prerequisite for facilitator training - $195.

NOV 15


Canterbury Virtues Trust Peer Mentoring – Here’s something for everyone who has participated in at least one full day of Virtues training.  At Purau Bay (hoping for a fine day), bring the family along, come for morning tea and then a shared lunch.             Lots of Virtues activity.  (Please register your interest on this, so we can plan ahead for a day full of joyfulness and creativity!)

JAN 3-5 2004


A Soul Full Life Retreat with Virtues Project Founders, Linda and Dan Popov. Venue to be announced.  Experiential in nature, these three days present an overview of Soul Centred Development and its implications in our lives.  A real treat! 

        Unless otherwise specified, all Canterbury Virtues Trust workshops are facilitated by Ellen & Sheldon Ramer.

If you would like to arrange a special event for your group, or receive a brochure or more information regarding any of the above programmes ring Ellen at 03 329 4380 or email


Please let us know if you would like your workshops advertised in this space!


Contact Details:

Virtues NZ

Beth Lew

89 Wellington Road, Paekakariki

04-905-8190 FAX:04-905-8150


Lynne Klap

226 Evans Bay Parade