“Noho penei i te rerenga o te awa”

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Welcome to Live Like the River Flows Charitable Trust.


The purpose of Live Like the River Flows is to provide education on the benefits to mental, physical and spiritual well-being by being out in and connected with nature. In particular:

  • Provide guided Ngahere (forest) walks, hikes and workshops that align with our core principals
  • Introduce participants to bush craft skills, safe outdoor practice and forest knowledge


Live Like the River Flows is committed, in attaining its purpose, to:

  • have a practice which promotes the connections between Te Ao Maori and the early European worldview of an interconnected living world.
  • respecting the cultural and spiritual diversity of people and encourage people from all backgrounds to utilize our facilities and services.
  • inspiring people to maintain their mental (Hinengaro), physical (Tinana) and spiritual (Wairua) well-being.
  • working with like minded others; and
  • maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

Founder and Guide Michael Woodcock (Woody) says;

The science now confirms what we know in our DNA, be out in nature and we improve our physical (Tinana) and mental wellbeing (Hinengaro). And while these two aspects of our wellbeing are becoming more freely talked about, many of us do not talk about the importance of our spiritual wellbeing (Wairua) too. It’s in this space of bringing together these three elements of our being, that I work.

What calls me, is that nature is not just a backdrop to our lives, but an active participant in our wellbeing. That we are all descendants of nature-based peoples, but for most of us the modern world has alienated us from what for millennia was home. As a Pākehā, I know it’s a long way back to when my people were connected to the all living non-human world. But in this land, to speak of your connection with a mountain or river, your maunga and your awa, to know that mauri, (life force) and wairua run through everything, it is all still possible.”

For us, to live like the river flows, is a guide, a way to live, a way to be. It is not a passive life of waiting to see what the day brings. It is a celebration of the imagined sparking into life, of being aware of the fleeting synchronicity offered by the universe that can inform our unfolding.

Midweek newspaper article dives deeper into the philosophy of Live Like the River Flows. 

Come spend some time with us in an accessible beautiful spot.


Michael Woodcock – Trust Chairperson, guide, pathfinder and seeker of the way.

“The physical landscape offers us waymarkers to follow. Waymarkers are a symbol, or signpost marking the route of a path, an object serving as a guide. The journey inward to our inscape has no physical waymarkers and we must learn to recognise the new signs that mark the way. I’m a guide in both the stunning landscape of the Wairarapa foothills and mountains, and that inward journey to self.”  More on waymarkers and other sacred connection on his blog.

W offer a range of forest (ngahere) based nature connecting activities and workshops and are happy to discuss tailoring something specific for your group. Through our principal guide and founder Michael Woodcock we have Department of Conservation consents to guide on a range of tracks within the Tararua and Remutaka Forest Parks – all on the Wairarapa side of the ranges.

Being out in the forest we need to be aware of the people who have lived and walked there in the past, and we must enter the ngahere in a way that honours the shared stories of Tangata whenua – Rangitāne O Wairarapa and Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.

Forest of Wellbeing where we combine the forest experience with elements of connecting with the sacred. These are single day events or part of a series.

Guided overnight tramps (hikes) which include an overnight stay in one of the three Department of Conservation huts in the area, are also part of our offer. These tramps require a level of fitness that means you can walk up and down hills for 4-5 hours per day. You will need your own pack and sleeping bag.

Workshops and Retreats which have a personal development theme, where access to the outdoors offers a chance to slow down, reflect and absorb the learnings and reflections of the day.

We believe

  1. That the evidence-based research for the restorative effects and enhanced wellbeing from being in nature is overwhelming.
  2. That all people are descended from nature-based cultures. That through a deeper connection with the natural environment we reconnect with the interconnectedness of the planet and all living things.
  3. Given the threats of climate change, mass extinctions and the risk humankind will destroy the thread of life that holds us all together, rediscovering and staying connected with the natural world gives us hope that we can turn this decline around. In the words of Joanna Macey – The Great Turning.
  4. Above all, the concept of interconnectedness of our internal scape and the external environment – landscape, is now central to how we see the world and our sacred integration with it.


DOC approval and consent to guide participants on ten consented tracks here in the Wairarapa – nine are in the Tararua Forest Park and one in the South, in the Remutaka Forest Park. Approval means having passed the environmental standards set by DOC, as well as safety standards set by an independent auditor, and are approved to operate in public conservation areas. The use of the logo also confirms that Live Like the River Flows pays fees to DOC to support conservation.

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Live Like the River Flows has a Safety Management System that has been audited and certified by OutdoorsMark against the Safety Audit Standard for Safety management Systems Document Review. It complies with Department of Conservation Guidelines 2014, Health and Safety at Work 2015 and all relevant activity safety guidelines.

Guides are First Aid trained with Red Cross. Through Outdoor Training NZ guides are able to access comprehensive training courses. Senior guide Michael Woodcock has also passed the Police vetting check to be able to work with young people to enter into the OTNZ trainer programme. OTNZ is a pathway for our ongoing professional development. We recommend if you are looking to build your outdoor skills, then ONTZ is a great option. Click here for courses in your area.

Perhaps you will find amongst our nature based, guided hikes, workshops and retreats, something to sustain, refresh, revitalise you, and enable you to claim your sacred nature.

We are not therapists. We offer group facilitation and support to those who wish to journey on their own course of self-reflection and unfolding, as part of a nature based experience.

“Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au:
I am the river and the river is me.”

-Whanganui Iwi

Learn More

Home Page Pages Section

Writer’s Retreat

Do you have a writing project to start, finish or somewhere in between. Need some space and quiet to work on it? perhaps our small farm with its meandering stream, shade and spots to rest or write will be just what you seek.

Learn More

Forest of Wellbeing

If you are reading this page you probably know something of the human Rewilding movement – to rewild the inner person, to connect with nature more fully and our lost nature based traditions.

Learn More


All our workshops and retreats are nature based. Ideally all of the daytime is spent outside, our at least has an element of being outdoors regardless of the workshop focus. Workshops will be offered  at various locations throughout the year.

Learn More

Home Page Contact Section

Get in touch

Use the form below to send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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