Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Holidays with a purpose – in Fiji

Sun, sand, surf, tropical sunsets, friendly smiles... That’s what a holiday in Fiji is about for most New Zealanders.

But now there’s the chance to mix up the traditional holiday with some learning thanks to a range of courses available at Daku Resort which is located overlooking Savusavu Bay on a Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.

Daku has been presenting courses on a range of subjects, from yoga to writing, art to music, since 2004 and is this year inviting New Zealanders to sign up for a holiday with a purpose.

A number of Kiwi teachers will present courses in the 2010 programme (see below), in addition to Australian and international presenters.

Courses at Daku are usually one week long and presented by teachers well-respected in their fields. They all aim to inspire guests afresh, showing new ways to look at old techniques or learn new ones.

While yoga enthusiasts may well have greeted the dawn with a salutation to the sun, the day for most course participants starts with breakfast beside the pool before their morning workshop. Afternoons and evenings are free for the more usual holiday pursuits of total rest and relaxation – either by the resort pool or on a remote beach – swimming, snorkelling, or exploring the tropical rainforest or the township of Savusavu, which calls itself the hidden paradise.

A scenic 50 minute flight from Nadi, Savusavu has been drawing repeat visitors for years, some of whom have become full or part-time residents with their own slice of paradise.

Among the New Zealanders presenting courses at Daku Resort this year are the celebrated a capella singer and teacher, Tony Backhouse. He will lead a gospel singing workshop November 13-20. He recently returned to live in New Zealand after making his mark in Sydney and has presented sell-out courses at Daku Resort in the last couple of years. November’s course includes visiting some of the local villages to experience the rich tradition of church choirs in Fiji and sing with them.

For further details about the 2010 range of courses at Daku Resort, Fiji, visit

Kiwi presenters at Daku in the coming months are:

In tune – singing and yoga

Both singing and yoga centre on nourishing yourself with breath – a singer must harness the breath, and a yoga practitioner must use the breath to control the vital energy flowing through the body. From March 20-27 Clare Martin and Amanda Prasow, both of Auckland, will teach workshop participants key yoga and singing techniques, leaving them with an enhanced feeling of harmony and well-being, perfect for a retreat from a busy world.

Clare Martin began her singing training in her native New Zealand before being awarded scholarships to study at the Royal Northern School of Music in the United Kingdom where she went on to sing professionally and teach for 10 years. She is now based in Auckland working with all levels of singers including beginners, rock and classical performers.

Amanda Prasow is a certified Sivananda Yoga teacher and an ayurvedic nutrition therapist, as well as being a professional actor. She finds yoga is essential to releasing emotional and physical blocks in the body and voice, creating a vital, open instrument for performance.

Learning to draw – from scratch!

Husband and wife artists Richard and Diana Moore, who hail from the Bay of Islands, will be teaching guests how to draw (March 28-April 4). The Moores have developed a programme that works quickly and efficiently with those who feel they have no natural talent, taking them only a few lessons to see that anyone can draw if they have the correct tuition. They have already inspired over 2,000 students with their teaching skills.

Or go green with botanical art

Two of New Zealand’s internationally respected botanical artists presenting back-to-back courses in April. Guests can sign up for both at discounted rates or simply select one course.

Susan Worthington, based in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, is New Zealand’s most acclaimed botanical artist and presents April 18-25. She recently earned the extraordinary distinction of having three of her paintings selected for inclusion in the Prince of Wales’ internationally acclaimed Highgrove Florilegium, a set of two books of exquisite botanical art.

Terrie Reddish, who lives in the Hawke’s Bay, presents April 24-May 1 and has established a reputation for her rich and beautifully realised colour pencil drawings. Her course covers key aspects of pencil drawing and techniques – choosing colours, shading, layering, producing highlights and textures

Achieving pure balance

Deidre-Lee Allen, creator of the Pure Balance blend of yoga and pilates, presents a course May 30-June 6. She has designed Pure Balance to provide strength, tone, flexibility and absolute relaxation. Workshop participants will benefit from her easy communication style, her background in dance and choreography and knowledge as a registered natural therapist. Deidre-Lee was the aerobics instructor who put together the Les Mills Step programme, which is now taught around the world. She presents Pure Balance on TVNZ’s Good Morning Show and at her studio in Plimmerton, north of Wellington.

Find your voice

Have you ever been convinced that you know the way to do something, but you just can’t get people to listen to you? Or wanted to speak out against something but found your own words just sounded lame? If the answer is yes or even maybe, the Voice of Leadership workshop presented by life skills expert Sally Mabelle July 10-17 is for you. Through Sally, who is based in Auckland, participants will learn how to find their true voice as a leader and learn to project that voice with authority, passion, and vision.

They pay you to do what?

From August 7-14 workshop participants will learn travel writing from Heather Hapeta, setting themselves up to get paid to travel. Known in New Zealand and internationally for her travel stories and blogs, Christchurch based Heather will teach research and writing techniques, as well as providing guidance on how to pitch and sell stories and accompanying photographs. The same skills can be used for creating a setting in a novel, or short story, and to greatly improve your blogs, letters and emails.

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