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Virtues Aotearoa - March 2003


Virtues Aotearoa

 March 2003        Newsletter  for  Virtues  Project New  Zealand    Volume 7 Issue 2


Transforming Prisons in Fiji

National Values Summit

Research Project: How do Virtues affect the school climate?

Refresher Courses for Schools

International Perspectives

Virtues Project Global Mentorship Retreat

Facilitator Exchange

Videos for Hire

Field Work Component for Facilitators

NZ Regional Mentorship Conference 2003

News from around New Zealand and the Pacific

Workshops and Conferences

Virtues Project Character Education

Four Month World Tour

Linda Kavelin Popov and Dr Dan Popov began a four-month world tour through Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Saipan, New Zealand, and other countries in September 2002. Everywhere The Virtues Project was greeted with high interest and enthusiasm and excellent national and state media coverage.

In Australia, they gave Educator’s workshops in the four capital cities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.  Australian federal Minister of Education, Dr. Brendan Nelson, is investigating approaches to values education in Australian schools.  Linda met personally with Dr. Nelson in November, and he expressed interest in The Virtues Project and offered to include several Virtues  Project related projects to be funded for study through his grant program. 

The Virtues Project was invited to make a video of Linda's presentations to educators in Australia so that it could be distributed to schools across the nation in order to encourage them to look at The Virtues Project as an important tool for meeting their values education goals.

Other countries like Vanuatu and the Marianas Islands, and Nicaragua are expressing the same level of interest from government and educators wanting their countries to develop programmes similar to those in Fiji where the media launched a “Virtues in the Media” weekly campaign and the Ministry of Education has been using The Virtues Project for two years now.  This focus has led to other groups in Fiji such as the Ministry of Corrections and businesses like the telephone company and electrical authority using Virtues workshops as professional development.

Marianas Islands

In the Marianas Islands several workshops were organized.  In Saipan, the Virtues Project Saipan Multi-disciplinary Team organized many workshops for youth, educators, families and community leaders and arranged for Linda and Dan to meet with the governor for several hours. With the assistance of local facilitators, Dan and Linda led a workshop for 85 children and youth. The next day the same presentation team began a workshop on Tinian with teachers and community leaders.

Suddenly, six youth who had attended the workshop on Saipan, entered the room.  One of the facilitators greeted them and inquired if they had come to be part of the workshop. They asked permission to speak to the group. These young men and women had attended the previous days workshop and had been so moved that they wanted to encourage the leaders in their own community to take this Virtues Project very seriously. Each one recited how their lives had been touched and already changed by the project. People were in tears, including as you can imagine, Linda.


In Yap, which is located in the northwest Pacific in the Federated States of Micronesia, an Educator’s workshop of three days was organized by Henry Falen, the National Director of Education for high school teachers, school superintendents, parents and students.  During the workshop, the poignant issue emerged of how to retain traditional cultural values of the past while moving into the demands of the modern world. 

The group of more than 100 was divided into community leaders, high school teachers, parents and students to explore the virtues foundational to their culture. Each group identified the virtues of Respect, Unity, Honour, and Endurance. They hoped to do special training with the student leaders of each school and then support the other teachers in using the strategies of The Virtues Project.  The students gave an impassioned speech, saying they wanted to start a Virtues Club and asked for the support of the Director of Education and all the teachers.

The Virtues Project was received with much enthusiasm and joy and many tears, even among the men.  During the celebratory feast on the last night, a young man came up to Linda and said “I’ve been a trouble-maker all my life, Linda, but I promise you, now I want to become a man of virtue.” Linda said, “Well, you just take the creativity you have used to make trouble, wrap it around service and you will become a leader of this community.” “Really?” he said. He began crying and literally jumping up and down for joy. A half dozen of the students turned up at the airport in the middle of the night and waited with Dan and Linda until their plane took off. At the airport another young man told of how he was a model student with excellent grades but that he had been bored and felt his studies were without meaning.  “Yet, during this workshop I was all ears!  Suddenly I am excited and interested.  I want to know more about all the Virtues I need to develop.”

As more and more youth attend Virtues trainings, the idea emerges of forming an International Virtues Youth Corp. 


Gilbert Paki visited Vanuatu in November, running educators workshops and meeting with people from the Ministry of Education and community sectors.  As a follow-up, Mrs Easuary Deamer has been asked to run a series of presentations for teachers and to organise a presentation to the Vanuatu Parliament.


In late November, Gilbert Paki  and Nina Perez of New Zealand  traveled to Nicaragua's capital city - Managua, and gave introductory mini–workshops over four hectic days to government officials, media reps, corporate groups, community development workers, police commissioners and educators from a local orphanage.

Each 2 hour presentation covered background info on the history of The Virtues Project; a power point presentation on successes and challenges where the VP has been used in various community development programs throughout the Pacific; a virtues strategy -  (virtue pick or "darkest hour/shining moment") activity.  Consultation and evaluations followed with emphasis on gauging support for the introduction of The Virtues Project into Nicaragua. Without exception there was positive support especially from the education sector, the media and surprisingly Nicaragua's equivalent to the N.Z "Business Roundtable".

Nicaragua's  First Lady has decided to endorse The Virtues Project as way to help bring  morals and values back to her countrymen’s lives.  Nicaragua is keen to  have someone come to run educators workshops with their teachers and hope to set up a similar process to Fiji in supporting their Ministry of Education to use The Virtues Project for values education.


Transforming Prisons in Fiji

In early February this year Gilbert Paki returned to Naboro Prison in Suva to continue the work of the Prison Commissioner whose is goal to have The Virtues Project integrated at all levels within the Fiji Prison system.   The Virtues Project was introduced last year as one of the strategies to assist  Fiji Prisons achieve their primary objective: the humane treatment and rehabilitation of inmates.  Training for officers and selected inmates from both the male and female prisons are showing improved relationships between inmates and officers.  The women's prison in Suva since introducing the "Virtue of the Week" have noticed a significant decrease in reported cases of violence amongst inmates.   Further training for Officers in Charge of each of the Fiji prisons is planned for later in the year.

Verona Lucas, coordinator for Virtues Project Fiji, writes about the prison training in February:

“Gilly's work was amazing. Shirley Matau worked with Gilly with the prisoners, and I went to the last afternoon for the closing. I wish I had seen the prisoners on the first day. I understand that their whole demeanor changed, and when I saw them, you would not have known they were not ordinary people. On the first day they came in hang-dog and looking like prisoners.  They were the worst criminals in Fiji's gaols and are there for a long time. There were so many amazing stories from them - most were too horrific ever to leave the room, but one comment that came out was that this was the first time in all the interviews and meetings they had been to in prison, that anyone had wanted to know who they were, what village they came from, and what their lives were like in the past. There were a lot of healing tears those three days.”

There was one wonderful story that emerged from this workshop which can be told without infraction of privacy.  At the end of the first day one of the participants picked "obedience" for his virtue pick.  He was very upset and angry about that as it challenged everything that was happening and had happened in his life.  At the end of the day the prisoners are locked in their cells at 5.00, lights out at 8.30 and they are released again in the early morning. This participant found himself with 'obedience’ on his mind after being locked up. He could not get rid of it and struggled with it all night, not even getting much sleep. When he arrived at the workshop next day, he went straight to Gilly and asked  "Could I have the card you gave me yesterday?"  Gilly replied that he would be given the whole set at the end of the workshop, but he insisted he wanted just that card and he wanted it now.

Gilly went through his 'spare' cards and found the obedience card and gave it to him.  The participant kissed the card - he was so happy with it.

“If you seek what is honorable,

what is good,

what is the truth of your life,

all the other things you could not imagine

come as a matter of course.” 

 Oprah Winfrey


National Values Summit

In October a second National Values Summit was held in Wellington.  The first summit happened about three years ago setting the stage for Values Education programmes in schools.  At this focus meeting for educators, government officials, and interested citizens, the direction for values education was discussed and several workshops and papers were presented.

The Virtues Project offered two workshops with information presented by Jan Gaffney, principal of Wa Ora Montessori school, Bronwyn Nola, head teacher of St Andrew’s Middle School, and Nancy Underdown, principal of David Henry Primary and previously of Matata Primary School.  The key note speaker of the Summit was Rosalind Hursthouse, Head of the Department of Philosophy who spoke about Virtues and Values.  She was intrigued to see The Virtues Project on the programme of workshops, encouraged people to check this out and she herself attended the first workshop.

Later on, Beth Lew and Lindi Pelkowitz presented  Prof. Hursthouse with a Family Virtues Guide and an Educators Guide on behalf of Virtues Project NZ.  Lindi Pelkowitz has continued discussions with Rosalind about The Virtues Project.


Research Project: How do Virtues affect the school climate?

St Andrew’s Middle School began using The Virtues Project as their Values Education programme last April.  They decided to approach this whole school initiative with an ongoing research project.  After the teachers participated in a two-day Educators’ workshop, the School’s annual plan was reviewed and Virtues were added to it.  The students were then surveyed using the tool provided by Virtues Project New Zealand which asks questions relating to respect, caring, assertiveness, and responsibility. This information was put into several charts and graphs and shared with the school community.  The staff chose 5 virtues to focus on for each term and teachers began using the Virtues  strategies in their approach with students.  At the end of each term, teachers were asked to assess the project with questions like:  How has the Virtues Programme benefited you as a teacher?  How do you feel that the Virtues Project is benefiting our students?  How well has the programme been working?  What could we do to improve the programme?  Students were surveyed again at the end of the school year and one more student survey is planned mid-2003.  The results are really heartening!

The first student survey showed the possibility that the students didn’t really understand what respectful or responsible behaviour could really mean.  For instance, 50% of the students reported that peers respected other people’s property but a significant percentage of older students felt this wasn’t true.   Students also reported that they are very rarely disrespectful of their parents while the staff had a very different perception. 

The school researchers predicted this sort of inconclusive data for the first survey showing the need for more learning about virtues. 

The second survey showed a much sharper perception of what was really happening on the respect scale at school and home and while the graphs have taken a sharp drop– again this is what the researchers was expecting.

The crunch will happen mid-2003 when the student surveys will show what has happened in the school climate because of the presences of The Virtues Project.

 Teachers Assessment

   The teachers assessment is  very positive and encouraging.  Some of the findings of the first assessment:

*              Teachers are focusing on being specific, this seems to be helping teaching practice.

*              They are finding it easier  to turn negatives into positives.

*              They see that students now have the language to express themselves more confidently and coherently.  Students and teachers are speaking the same language more often.

*              Virtues language is being heard in the playground and inside and outside the classroom.

*              Students are more confident and open when discussing their problems—naming feelings and emotions

*              It’s giving students skills for life.

How well is the programme working?

*              Students love the poster work around the school

*              Students are starting to think of goals for themselves that relate to the weekly virtue and actively working towards them. Also giving encouragement to each other as they strive for theirs.

*               Identifying and using teachable moments gives real meaning to the virtues.

Teachers suggestions for Improvement

*              Start each week with a school wide time

*              Involve parents

*              Need free time to teach other virtues—students asking about idealism, unity etc

*              Do some teacher sharing during the week to help identify further interesting follow-up activities

*              Doing classroom work about the virtues helps; but insisting and encouraging the practice of them is even more important


Refresher Courses for Schools

 Following discussions with N Z facilitators and further consultation with Principals who have had full staff workshops, VPNZ is offering follow-on refresher courses.  A half day course will facilitate the opportunity to share how the school has been using The Virtues Project; to discuss what is working well and what is not; to  review the strategies of The Virtues Project and to develop a plan of action for strengthening the use of The Virtues Project within individual classrooms and in the school as a whole.  Schools have the option to choose a full-day refresher as well which will allow for further review and practice in the 5 strategies.  So far schools expressing interest in this professional development opportunity.

 International Perspectives

 Building Virtues Communities

Throughout the world The Virtues Project is experiencing a high level of interest from many different groups, government agencies, and communities.  In order to begin to meet this interest, the Transition Team is encouraging local Virtues enthusiasts to form regional Virtues Connections that can consult about local needs and focus the direction of energy at a regional level.  These groups could use the model of Virtues Project NZ or Virtues Project Fiji—local initiative groups who hope to promote, support, network and provide locally appropriate Virtues materials. These regional groups then could keep a database of those who have done training; keep VPI informed of local activities and interests; coordinate further training opportunities; encourage the development of local facilitators and eventually local licensed trainers.  Regional groups should be made up of a diversity of people representing different ethnic and religious groups.

Virtues Project Global Mentorship Retreat  

 May 1 -4, 2003

Queenswood House Retreat Centre, Victoria, B.C., Canada 


Global Mentorship gatherings are held each year in at least two areas of the world - North America and New Zealand.  They are held in beautiful retreat spots, and offer ample opportunities for Facilitators and others who have attended Virtues Project™ Intensives to share ideas, experiences and best practices.  Participants reflect on their own lives and goals, and have many opportunities for personal companioning.  They receive updates of the latest developments in the Virtues Project global network and often a chance to preview the latest materials.  There are inspiring keynotes as well as breakout sessions on specific areas of interest such as Virtues in Business or Community Development.  Each person departs with personal and professional action plans for the year ahead.

Queenswood House is a beautiful retreat center with chapel, heated pool, lovely grounds and only a short walk to the beach. Come and share stories, best practices, companioning and a global update with Dr. Dan Popov, Linda Kavelin-Popov and facilitators from around the world.

We advise early registration to ensure your accommodation with the rest of group. Accommodation options include single and double rooms.  All meals are included.  The Queenswood House can accommodate a maximum of 25.  The remainder of registrants will be lodged at the University of Victoria dormitories.

For detailed information, options, and prices, contact:

Registrar Sylvia Lomanski,                         

Phone:         1 (780) 451-1136                              extension 25

Fax:              1 (780) 452-2204

Home:          1 (780) 962-0964

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. 

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: 

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. 

NZ Regional Mentorship Conference 2003

A delightful conference was held at the end of February in Wellington.  Although small in number, the participants were unanimous that the conference was good value in offering everyone the chance to share what they were doing, and go home with greater knowledge, confidence, a feeling of unity and collaboration—and a PLAN of ACTION.  The April edition of the Virtues Aotearoa newsletter will cover the conference in depth.



News from around New Zealand and the Pacific

KoreaClaire Ngwira of Hamilton was contracted by USO Korea to create a programme of English as a Second Language lessons about Virtues for Korean primary schools which will be delivered by American servicemen as a USO Korean American Virtues Project.  After creating the booklet, Claire conducted training on how to use the lesson plans on The Virtues Project with Korean teachers and American servicemen - and 11 American teachers from the elementary school on base.  Claire writes: "The group of about 50 Korean teachers was really happy and loved the presentation a LOT.   The Command Sergeant Major  came to the presentation and wants MORE of the training for his soldiers.  One group gave really good feedback and said that it had given them a totally new way of listening to others without judging them. 

The final day of the Korean group presentation was AWESOME.  Quite a few said that for the first time they saw that knowledge is not as important as educating the person with virtues. One said that it had cracked her world open and now she was going to implement the virtues .  For the first time she had peace in her mind about teaching.  ALL said they would implement it in their everyday lives and classes.  And they all went on the spirit walk!"

Claire tells that the Korean teachers did not have much nature to walk in - but still walked outside under a blue Seoul sky in about zero degree weather.  Seoul playgrounds are a patch of dirt, not grass, and there was one tree with a bird's nest in it and a wintery-looking creeper in the playground and a little snow.  All the teachers were walking quietly inside this small area of nature.  When they came back, one teacher said that the fallen leaves reminded him of the dead from the Taegu subway fire the week before.  More than 300 people had burned to death because the driver of the train had not helped the passengers get out - he had just fled the fire leaving his passengers to burn in a locked train.  The teacher continued that the leaves were the nutrients of the next generation and the virtue he connected with this was 'responsibility'.  From now on he was going to make sure that his children learned how to be responsible to others - not only to themselves and their families.

The principal of one of the elementary schools wrote exquisite calligraphy about the virtues and gave it to Claire as a gift. At the end of the presentation, there was a principal and vice principal from another school at the door asking for the Virtues Project to come to their school.

EuropeSue Richards, RTLB par excellence, formerly of the Whakatane region, is now living in the UK.  Once people found that she could facilitate Virtues Project workshops, her talents and energies have become in high demand.  Look at this schedule!  You might want to recommend them to your relatives in Europe.

Since January  Sue has run 2 x 2 day courses......One in Oxford in the UK and one in Mannheim in Germany. She’s now booked for

2 x 1 day        

"taster courses" for couples

Feb. 22, 23

2 day course

Strasborg Germany

March 21, 22, 23

2 day course


April 4, 5,6

2 day Educators course

Peatmoor UK

April 25,26,27

2 day Educators course

Whitney UK

May 24, 25

3 day Facilitators course

with Margaret  Mohamed

May 30,31, June 1

2 day parent course

Manchester, UK       

June 14, 15

2 day course with Government officials

Swindon, UK

June 28,29

2 day course

Bristol, UK     

July 12,13

2 day parent course

and 3 day course

with Margaret at a Bahá'í Summer School in UK

July 18-24

There are tentative dates for Sweden, Wales and Scotland.

Sue reports she has a venue to run Educators courses at the school where she has been teaching and she’s negotiating to set up the school as a model for the virtues in Matata but different.  “I also have had talks with a World Citizenship group who are interested in looking at training.  This is so wonderful and almost unbelievable.”


Workshops and Conferences

Mark your Calendars


Conference 2004

January 23-24

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



April 14-15 2003

Shaping Character-2 day Intensive for Educators at Berhampore School in Wellington  $160      

Facilitator- Beth Lew

May 9-10-11, 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 8-9, 2003

Facilitator Skills

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

companioning $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 



            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






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           $15.00

Virtues USA Poster               $18.50

Virtues Wallet Cards (each)    $0.60

The Family Virtues Guide        $24.95

Sacred Moments                       $29.95- out of print L

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 .              $19.95


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.