Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Virtues Aotearoa - August 2003

Virtues Aotearoa


August 2003           Volume 8 Issue 1         Newsletter  for  Virtues Project New  Zealand   



Raranga Wairua: Weaving Our Spirits Together

Story about the "Gentle Giant"

European Trainers

Early Childhood Convention 2003 – Aotearoa, New Zealand

Teaching Virtues in Tanzania

From the Desk of Virtues Project New Zealand

Virtues Project Leader’s Manual on CD-Rom

Virtues Ideas E-zine (email newsletter) for Educators

Become a Registered Facilitator

Free Virtues acknowledgment cards

News from around New Zealand and the Pacific

Workshops and Conferences



Raranga Wairua: Weaving Our Spirits Together


Touching our passions


Mobilizing our inspiration


Going deeper in the strategies


Keeping the practices and  the ‘fire’ going


This Virtues Mentoring is more than just a networking conference or a beautiful spiritual retreat. Mentorship also provides the opportunity to learn at a deeper level, from others who have developed Virtues mastery. We invite you to come and weave with us. Share your stories - be a mentor and be mentored.

Raranga Wairua will begin on Saturday 24 January at  9 AM and finish on Monday 26 January at 3 PM (Auckland Anniversary Day).  Accommodation is available from Friday evening 23 January if needed.

This year's programme allows you to explore the areas you’re passionate about and inspire you to take your Virtues practices deeper and wider. It will put you in contact with others and these bonds will sustain you in the year ahead - personally and in the Virtues work you do.

The retreat will be a forum for growing and developing your Virtues whether you are wanting to apply it at a personal level or to facilitate  workshops. Dr. Dan Popov and Linda Kavelin Popov will be with us, together with other guests from around the globe.


After a formal Maori welcome, the programme includes:

* Connecting the Connections - sharing what is happening in each region.


* Working with Indigenous Cultures; respect & understanding. Sharing what works.


Sharing Virtues Action Learning projects, and learning how to set your own learning goals.

*  Spiritual Companioning; how we teach this, plus practicing the skills.

Developing Strategies for reaching your goals with Virtues.


For further information contact: 

Lynne Klap,   Tel: 64-4-389-4992,    Email

Venue Tel # during the event: 

64-9-473 2600


Come just to “Get it’’ on another level.  Come and ‘re-create’ yourself!




One of the newly trained Fijian Virtues facilitators related a story of how he used “Recognizing Teachable Moments” and the art of “Spiritual Companioning” to save the life of a family.


M.C., a large stature of a man, was one of the participants from a training with a corporation who was so enamoured with The Virtues Project he wanted to go out immediately and teach this to others. Everywhere he went he made mention of Virtues. One day he was passing a house that is on the way to his farm and noticed the little boy there did not acknowledge him as he usually does. The child was lying on his tummy on a bench under the mango tree beside the humble house. He stopped and asked the boy what was wrong.


 The boy eventually said his parents were fighting and he was feeling very frightened and sad. M.C. told the boy to tell his father he would come see him that night. True to his promise, he came back that night and nine more nights. Over that time he was able to get the details of a very distressing story. The man was an uneducated sugar cane cutter and his wife was working in town to support the schooling of their four children. One night the wife arrived home in a van very late. The husband accused her of seeing another man.  He was so angry that he tore up the house, threw the pot of food outside and beat up the woman. The children went to bed scared and hungry. The woman said she was going to kill herself by drinking poison.  The man retaliated that if she did he would hang himself.


M.C.  worked through their problem with them and they came up with a solution that perhaps the husband could go to the boss and ask if indeed the wife had been working late. This way he could learn the truth for himself and clear his heart of the jealousy. Then he could tell the boss of his concern for the wife working too late, as her children needed her at night time. The wife agreed with this plan. She agreed not commit suicide if he promised to find out the truth and not to beat her. They both agreed their children needed them and they could not leave them alone.


The Virtues facilitator is so very thankful for having the Virtues training and that he was able to save this family from disaster.


Written by Shirley Kerr-Matau

with permission from M.C




European Trainers



Here’s a recent photo of Margaret Mohamed and Susan Fergusson (nee Richards) in Europe.

Margaret and Sue are working together running Virtues workshops. 

You can contact them by email through




Early Childhood Convention 2003– Aotearoa, New Zealand


 by Angevahn


Late September the National ECE Convention was held at Palmerston North, with approximately 1000 registrations.  Beth Lew and I were to do a 90 min workshop on The Virtues Project and had talked about meeting together at the conference and letting things flow from there.  At 5.45 pm the night before, my darling Husband rang to say he had received a message from Beth "I think I have broken my foot and won't make it tomorrow".  A quick call to Beth to confirm this, a few moments of temporary panic, then straight into thinking how would I manage this – I had brought no resources with me.  I had little time that evening, so it was an early start the next morning to draft up an outline before it was off to the venue.  When I found the room, there were 2 people already there, saving their place – I should have known what was in store right then, but I was too focussed to take that in.  I set up the seating – judging maybe 20-30 people – put up a very brief outline of what I wanted to cover, wrote up the website contacts, Linda, Dan, John and Beth’s names and roles, then off to borrow resources – leaving a request for those in the room (30 minutes to go, 10 people there) to please just keep making space as others arrive.  Off downstairs to find the very generous Rick Sahar of UCA – borrow books, Virtues cards, posters, and he kindly donated wallet cards.  Back up into the room with the help of a couple of friends I met along the way to be met by perhaps 40 people, crammed in!  (15 minutes before the start time).  As I put up the posters and prepared myself, folk kept pouring in the door, others kept making space and finding chairs, and people began to sit in the little hallway as we ran out of room.     When I finally felt ready and focused fully on the group – still 5 minutes to start time – I was facing 55 people in a tiny space, sitting very intimately up against one another, all beaming smiles.


 Result – an event that ran smoothly with the contribution of the whole group in setting up the space while I found the resources, a fantastically energised 90 minutes including so much attentive listening that you could have heard a pin drop (if there had been room for it to fall, of course!), a hubbub of 55 people doing a Virtues Pick simultaneously and loving it, and lots of contacts for The Virtues Project including a contact with the National Te Kohanga Reo Trust, the College of Education in Christchurch,  and Parents As First Teachers programme in Napier.   What a privilege to present to such an open and giving group of people – early childhood educators rock!


 Thanks again to Rick Sahar and UCA for your generosity, and to all those other old and new friends on the day who brought this all together.    


Teaching Virtues in Tanzania


I recently completed a Virtues Workshop with teachers in the remote rural area of Northwest Tanzania, where the people are very poor subsistence farmers, where 70 cents for two days work to make a grass mat is considered a good price.  I was invited to the village of Mugajwale to conduct a Virtues Workshop for local teachers. Mr Prosper Nduke would translate my English into Kiswahili.



My only prior knowledge was Prosper's admonition:  "They don't understand English.  They will need translations" and "They are very poor and can't pay for the books, or even for photocopying" and   “Bring everything with you."


In Dar-es-Salaam, during the week prior to my departure, I typed out the main points of each segment of the Introduction, the basic principles and the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project, and had them translated into Kiswahili by my colleague, Hashim. Then I glued the small English passage to the chart paper, and copied out the Kiswahili version with marker pens onto the chart paper. I added some illustrations.


For the "Virtues Pick," another computer-literate friend translated the information on the cards onto a single page. We printed them off the home printer and we photocopied them for use during the Workshop.  We had permission from Linda Popov to translate the cards.

We arranged for the Workshop to take four days, to allow time for translations and new concepts to form. This is when I started to find out what the dear participants had experienced during their years of schooling, as students and as teachers … the crippling, numbing effect of violence and abuse.


It took a while for me to realise that the blank expressions and downcast eyes on the participant's faces, was their self-protection learned from many years of their schooling. Added to this is the fact that younger people must never express an opinion in front of their elders. The elders must be revered at all times. (continued page 5)

Thank goodness for the "Some concerns you might have" part of the introduction. The partner introduction exercise was so subdued that I couldn't hear anything. I began to worry. So I offered up some desperate prayer to help me find the key to open these dear friends to learning.


The exercise "From Shaming To Naming" (in Kiswahili and local language) was a step in the right direction. Now I realise that admitting to oneself that the shaming language used on them from their elders (who must be revered and who are ALWAYS right) is a huge challenge to the culture. Hence their reluctance to admit to the names they were called. So we had to focus on what virtue the elders could have named to evoke the desired response of "diligence" or "wisdom".


I found that making quick little sketches on the blackboard to illustrate a point activated attention.


I should have brought some simple puppets, even sock puppets. Casting my glance around the room, I noticed two cloth hats. I quickly put them on my hands to make talking puppets to tell a little story.


This was an icebreaker. The adult audience responded to the improvised puppets made out of cloth sun hats, in much the same way that unsophisticated five-year-olds would respond. Their eyes lit up and they laughed.


After lunch we started singing in the local language. They all joined in with gusto, making the rhythm with claps and beating on the desks.


The Village Chairman came for the afternoon session. He made a speech congratulating Prosper in bringing an "Internationally acclaimed " program to his village and the Chairman joined in the discussion exercises in the small groups. We played the circle game where you throw a ball (the cloth hat again) to a named participant and state a virtue. This simple game had them all in the most amazing laughter, so loud that the neighbouring children came creeping up to the classroom to see, with wide-eyed wonder, adults throwing something to each other and collapsing with laughter.


Everyone promised to come at 8:30 for the next day. I called on their creativity to compose a song.


Day two saw everyone punctual at 8:30, ready to begin with songs in local language.  By this time I had found that I must use ALL the learning modes, drawings and quick sketches, puppets and stories, role-plays, small group discussion, and make sure that the shy ones are included and are speaking. The women want to hold back and not participate. I found that putting people of the same generation together for the discussion exercises gained more participation from the women, than when I put young people and older people together. Then the younger people remain silent.



I asked for a Virtue off the chart that our song will focus on. They chose "love". I gave them a few minutes to write something down. Still nothing.  More encouragement from me. Still nothing. Then one participant went to the blackboard and wrote up his inspiration. That brought some laughter from the room as everyone recognised a popular song about Love that he had used. H'mm …New approach needed.  So I said, "Everyone has to write down anything that pops into your head about love and you only have 60 seconds to do it. Start NOW." They all looked startled and I said, " You only have 40 seconds left. Write now."


And they all wrote something down. Then I asked everyone to read what s/he had written. After each one I said." Uh-huh" and nodded. They all listened to each other. Then they all expected me to "choose the best." But I did not do that.

I gave each a piece of cut-up writing pad paper and a marker pen, and said, "Now write out your phrase or piece in big writing on this paper."  Then we went to the circle space and set the papers out on the floor. I put everyone into pairs and gave them the task of composing a song using some, or all of the phrases.


And this worked.


After some hesitation at the newness of the task, they then worked with their partners. with quiet enthusiasm.  After about 15 minutes of composition, really creative work, we shared the performances.  This was like the opening of a garden of flowers. This was a wonderful highlight of the week. They all came to life.  Each pair, even the silent, shy ones, had chosen a few of the phrases and developed a melody to sing with it. As they sang their new song, the other participants paid close attention; beat the rhythm and some started dancing in their traditional way to the new rhythm.


Their eyes sparkled, they laughed, their bodies relaxed. A new spirit was quickened.  This was the REAL key to opening the learning pathways with this group of participants.


After the enjoyment of performing their new composition there was much relaxed, genuine laughter.  They formed close bonds of friendship with each other.  This was their first real experience of Cooperative Learning. They responded brilliantly.


Each day we did a "Virtues Pick" from the Kiswahili translations. I noticed that they beamed with pleasure when that daily routine came around and were eager to read and ponder on their Virtue for the day.


When we did the module on "Honouring the Spirit", they were puzzled about the reference to "honour the environment". So we used a ball of coloured string and did the "Web of Life" activity. Only one person in the group had ever considered the Interconnectedness of all life forms. This was a revelation to them.


We spent a whole day and a half on Spiritual Companioning. We did several role-plays where Spiritual Companioning was demonstrated, in an unhurried way.

In their evaluations, most indicated that this was the most useful thing they gained from the Workshop.


The East Africa Virtues Connection has organised a


Five Day

Virtues Facilitator's Workshop

to be held at the:


Baha'i Centre, Mfaume Road West Upanga, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania


Monday 15 Dec to 20 Dec 2003.


Accommodation is available in the hostel of the Baha'i Centre for $2 per night or a nearby hotels at a higher rate.


Please contact Sandra at

to register.



“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Author Unknown

From The Virtues Project Educator’s Guide page 138



“I expect to pass through this world but once;

any good thing therefore that I can do,

or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature,

let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it,

for I shall not pass this way again.”


From The Virtues Project Educator’s Guide page 178



From the Desk of Virtues Project New Zealand


Facilitator Exchange

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 Virtues Project 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.


Virtues Project Leader’s Manual on CD-Rom



Now available for $100NZD for those who have finished facilitator training and live in New Zealand.


You can print things off as you need themOrder through



Virtues Ideas E-zine (email newsletter) for Educators


Want ideas for working with student?—subscribe by email-


Other Virtues Ezine’s available from North America:

—Virtue of the Week by Betsy Lydle Smith

—The Virtues Gazette by Nancy Watters—



Become a Registered Facilitator

Those of you who would like to be listed on the website as a Registered Facilitator, to have your workshops advertised on the VPNZ website as well as periodically in the Education Gazette, and to receive referrals from national inquiries are now asked to fill out our registered facilitator application form.  (Please contact Beth Lew for a copy of this form.)


 No one will be turned away but the form allows VPNZ to better know your skills and interests and will help us match you with referrals.


 A yearly fee of NZ$100 is also required as of April 1 each year.  Since we’re starting part way through the year, as of August 1st we are requiring $75.


This fee will help pay for some of the services we are providing and will also help people to make a formal commitment to working with The Virtues Project.


This is part of the development process outlined by VPI over the last year.  On becoming a Registered Facilitator, you may elect to enter into a mentoring relationship with a Licensed Trainer and begin to build specific skills that will help your professional development.


All who have done three day facilitator training before 2003 are eligible to register.  As new people finish 5 days training, they will be invited to register as well.




Here’s an opportunity to:


·        Promote the Virtues Project in a simple and meaningful way

·        Easily pass on a Virtues acknowledgement every day

·        Help you find Virtues in others

·        Practice the language of the Virtues

·        Make a difference in somebody’s life


Send a Virtues Acknowledgement Postcard


The Special Virtues Postcard has:


·        A space for you to write a special message to somebody

·        A list of the 52 Virtues

·        The Vision and Mission of the Virtues Project

·        The National and International Virtues Websites


The Agreement


The postcards are FREE and available to anybody that has done a Virtues training and who will commit to sending out a minimum of 5 Virtues acknowledgements per week.


By sending a Virtues card, you will be acknowledging somebody in a very special way and promoting the Virtues at the same time.

It might be..

·        a family member or a  friend

·        somebody who is doing a good job in adding to the community

·        someone who needs some uplifting

·        someone who you noticed has done a good deed 


Every time someone comes to mind that you would like to acknowledge, just jot them down and make a list. That way it’s easy to send out five a week.


Stocks of postcards are held at Virtues Project New Zealand:

89 Wellington Road, Paekakariki

Phone 04-905-8190

Fax 04-905-8150                                                         


1 month supply          =  20 Postcards

Free within NZ; $2 international reply coupon outside NZ


5 Months Supply   =  96 (1/2 kilo)

$2 within NZ; $10 Australia/South Pacific; $20 anywhere else


9 Months Supply   = 192 (1 Kilo)

$3 within NZ; $30 anywhere else

News from around New Zealand and the Pacific



Trish Drury has been putting together a database of Virtues facilitators and enthusiasts and would like to thank everyone for helping to support this initiative.


With the development of this database when someone contacts Virtues Project International we can put them in direct contact with a Virtues facilitator or enthusiast.


Currently the database consists of :

New South Wales - 5

Victoria - 5

Queensland - 8

South Australia - 1

Western Australia - 1

A total of 20.


When  Trish receives enquiries from VPI she  forwards them to the whole group on her database and whoever responds first with "I'll take that enquiry" gets it.  Taking responsibility and communicating that willingness to do so is be very much appreciated, says Trish.  “I'm sure that if we can be systematic and orderly in this manner The Virtues Project will spread more rapidly - as well as increase the number of participants in our own workshops.”


If you know of anyone else whom you suspect might like to include themselves in this database it would be appreciated if you would pass this message on.

Contact Trish at

Home: +61 2 4579 6066

Mobile: 0417 497 317

60 Panorama Crescent, Freemans Reach

NSW 2756, Australia



Report from Angevahn

Since taking up first part-time work, and then full time work, I have been less available to promote and present Virtues Project events.  However, the work I did last year is showing fruit with a far greater awareness of the Virtues Project showing.  When I talk to people about the Virtues Project, more and more often they have heard of it, and know someone who has attended an event I’ve facilitated.  I am also beginning to get stories about people who have taken the Virtues into their work and how this has touched the person sharing the story.  This gives me hope for the long term vision of VP in Taranaki.  Recently the Baha’i community sponsored a one day parent workshop.  14 people attended ranging from some yet to embark on their parenting journey through to parents of teenagers.  It was especially wonderful to have three parenting couples within the group.  Being only one day we covered an overview of the project and the first three strategies.  The evaluations confirmed that it was a useful day for all, and a dozen said they would like a follow-up.  How delightful that after a struggle to find just one day to “spare” for the Virtues Project, the thirst was there already for another!



The Taupo Virtues Connection has come up with another great promotional idea!

Called “Stories and Poems that Build Character” they are inviting students to submit creative stories and poems about a positive experience with a Virtue.  All submitted work will be acknowledged and a panel will select works to be published in a resource book for schools.  If you are interested contact Taupo Virtues Connection PO Box 1000, Taupo.



Workshops and Conferences

Mark your Calendars


Conference 2004

January 23-25

Vaughan Park Retreat Centre

Long Bay, Auckland

Estimated Cost: $300-350


Register through Lynne Klap at

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


Intensive Trainings 2003




Nov 7-9, 2003    (Fri/Sat/Sun)      Deepening the Virtues Within

3 day intensive,  (Required training to become facilitator of

Virtues Project workshops) $250

Contact:  Licensed Trainer: Beth Lew



Canterbury Virtues Trust Events  for  2003

NOV 15 (Saturday) 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 9-11, 2004 (Fri/Sat/Sun) 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



Contact: Lindi Pelkowitz—



January 2-3, 2004

Awakening the Virtues Within

2 day introductory workshop with founders of The Virtues Project: Linda Kavelin Popov and Dr Dan Popov

Cost: $250 or early bird- $220 


4 March 2004 Shaping Character Educator’s Workshop

Contact: Donna Smith






17 March 2004  Shaping Character Educator’s Workshop

Contact: Donna Smith





November 21-23

“A Soul Full Life”

This workshop provides keys, which unlock your full spiritual potential, by using the transforming power of the virtues. It creates a new mindfulness about your spiritual tasks at this time of your life. Through information, exercises, music, meditation

and sharing circles, you will gain insights on –

·                The tasks of the soul

·                How to create soulful relationships 

·                Tapping into the power of your virtues

·                Healing the sacred wound

·                The role of the elder

Cost:   $395, (early bird discount available when paid in full by 26th Oct)

Contact: Sylvana Simon

+61-07-5463-2849 or 07-5463-5649              






offered by VP Licensed Trainer Fiona McDonald


‘Introduction to the Virtues Project’ Workshop

This 2 day or 5 evening training, is an introduction to the Virtues Project.  It is suitable for all those who have children in their care either as a parent or teacher.  It gives the participant an understanding of the project and an opportunity to gain an understanding of the 5 Strategies.  Participants will learn ways to empower moral growth in themselves and their children whether at home or school.

Evening Dates: 4, 11,18,25 August, 1 September (Mon) Time:          6-9 pm

Daytime Dates: 8th  & 9th September (Mon & Tues) Time:     9:00 am—5:00  pm

Cost:              $220.00

Venue: 115 Cambridge St, West Leederville


3 Day Advanced Workshop

This workshop builds on the “Introduction to the Virtues Project Workshop” which is a pre-requisite for this workshop.  It provides the participant with in-depth experience and practice in the 5 Virtues Strategies whilst enabling them to identify and clarify the key elements for teaching Virtues Workshops.

Dates:   24, 25, 26 November (Mon, Tues, Wed)

Time: 9:00 am—5:00 pm

Cost:  $385.00

Venue: 115 Cambridge St, West Leederville


Accredited Course in Group Facilitation Skills

Train Small Groups BSZ404A

This accredited course in Group Facilitation skills is an ideal programme for training facilitators for the community educational vocational and industry training fields.  Learn how to run groups, the theory, process and dynamics of groups.  Discover how people learn and take in information.

The five day training includes the unit BSZ404A, which is part of the certificate IV in assessment and Workplace Training however it offers further knowledge and skills than the basic unit covers.

Dates:   29 & 30 Oct , 5, 13,19 Nov (Wed & Thurs)

Times:  8:30 am—5:00 pm

Cost:  $660.00

Venue: 115 Cambridge St,  West Leederville




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





The Angelic Way :

 CD of original Virtues music by Stefan Brown

Appropriate for use in schools and at home                $29.95     


Order from




UCA - Virtues Materials


Fax: 04-239-9976

Freepost 4045, Box 52076

Titahi Bay, Porirua

Freephone 0800-500-885 (answer phone available after hours)


Virtues Cards                            $22.50

Virtues Bilingual Poster         $15

Virtues USA Poster                  $18.50

New NZ Virtues Project Wallet Card   Packs of 25 cards   $5.00

(Single cards can be bought for 25 cents each - only when other resources ordered)

The Family Virtues Guide      $24.95

The VP Educator's Guide        $77.95

Virtues in Me - CD                    $19.95

Virtues in Me - Book                $19.95

Virtues Wall Sheets - Positive Language for Play Activities

 in Te Reo Maori or English        $24.95

Tama’s Putorino and The Tears of the Albatross

Tape and wisdom book in  English and Maori .              $21.95


Poster Tube        (up to ten posters fit in one tube)          $2.50


Freight Fee - to be added to all orders    $4.00


Please choose one of three payment options:


1. Send a cheque payable to "UCA Ltd" for your order


(Please ensure to include freight fee and tube/s where applicable)


2. UCA can invoice your organisation. Payment would be due once you receive your order


3. Pay by Credit Card:     Visa      Bankcard             MasterCard


Your name as it appears on your card ____________________________________________


Number _______________________________________ Expiry Date ___________________


(Secure credit card ordering via the website - 






More News?

This newsletter is intended to offer support for Virtues Project facilitators and those who would like to use the Virtues Project in their professions and personal lives.  If you would like to receive a hard copy of Virtues Aotearoa, please subscribe.  Virtues Aotearoa is published quarterly with a subscription cost of $10 per year.  Just contact  or 89 Wellington Road, Paekakariki.  Also available is an email text version which is sent for no charge.  Contact as above.