The first one will look like the standard Marriage Retreats we always offer:
The second one is specifically for couples involved in Christian Ministry:
Refresh the love and intimacy that is vital to the success of your relationship.
Strengthen the unique bond you have with each other, as you explore what does and doesn’t work well for you as a couple.
Enrich your relationship as you enjoy one on one time together in a fun, relaxed environment.
With an open mind, your marriage can be renewed and transformed to a level you never thought possible.
You can expect a fun, relaxed environment.
To get the most out of the retreat we offer main sessions with a mix of informative teaching by Matt and Belinda Stott, a stunning time of worship and a bit of fun with our MCs, Bruce and Sarah O'Brien.
A range of optional workshops are available led by our team of experts in the field of healthy relationships. You choose what works for you!
Our desire is for you to walk away feeling absolutely looked after, so we provide top-notch meals, including a three-course candle-lit dinner where you will be served by our waiters and waitresses, enjoy live music and have the opportunity for a dance afterwards.
To make sure you can maximise your time away together, we offer several fun dating opportunities; dancing, movies, horse riding, archery, rock climbing and of course there is plenty of opportunity to explore the beauty of Waikanae! There are local reserves, gorgeous beaches, great cafés and local museums, check out further options here.
Throughout the retreat we also run our own café with free barista-made coffee!
Our team is made up of caring individuals who have a passion for enriching marriages. Their aim is to both nurture and support couples, as well as be available for couples should any issues arise throughout the retreat.
There will also be an experienced team available for prayer, private counselling and prophetic ministry.
Matt and Belinda run life and relationship workshops in Australasia in a variety of contexts. They have been married for over 20 years and have two children, Jasper and Scarlett. Every time they speak there is an overwhelming response from attendees as to how personable, insightful, fun and captivating they both are. Matt and Belinda offer a wealth of knowledge and very practical tools for building a healthy marriage. They have a very unique and needed ministry in Aotearoa and are leaving a legacy of countless strengthened, rebuilt and renewed marriages in their wake. It is a deep privilege to have them with us again.
Once part of the Attitude team and The Parenting Place, he now works alongside Belinda running life and relationship workshops all over the country and Australia.
As a counsellor, novelist and public speaker she has helped couples work through a wide range of areas effecting their relationship, including: trust and forgiveness issues; struggles around rejection, jealousy, infidelity and shame; depression, anxiety and addictions; past trauma; sexual struggles and more.
|Bruce & Sarah O'Brien
Bruce and Sarah have been the directors of El Rancho since 2016. Previously they directed Camp Columba in Gore for six years and before that were involved in Hume Lake Christian Camp in America.
They both have a heart for seeing marriages and families strengthened. They are gifted at discerning needs in others and minister with grace and love to usher in healing and strength.
Bruce and Sarah are both dedicated to seeing El Rancho offer programmes that serve Aotearoa and empower our communities. They have been married for 28 years and have four children.
|Tapu & Sarah Tuisuga
Tapu & Sarah originally met while attending Bible College in Fiji way back in 1997. They have lived in Fiji, Samoa & Christchurch over the last 22 years that they have been married, and have seven children & five grandchildren.
Tapu is a professional Counsellor (member of NZAC) and has over 13 years experience working with families, individuals, couples and children. He has extensive experience working in the field of family harm. Sarah has a background in administration and pastoral care but first & foremost loves her role as a Mama. They have both served in many areas of ministry over the years.
They have a passion to see families & marriages thrive and to see people restored, healed & following Jesus. They truly believe that if a marriage is strong, the whole family will be strengthened and this in turn will impact the community.
|Damon & Rachel Fitzpatrick
Damon and Rachel have been married for twenty one years and they still like being married to each other!
Much of their married life has been dedicated to their three children and to youth pastoring. For them, one of the biggest privileges in ministry has been counselling and marrying couples that were once their young people.They think marriage is an essential building block to family and society. They are passionate about seeing love bind and last so they are Prepare and Enrich trained and are at this Retreat to help you invest in your marriage. Both Rachel and Damon are very good listeners, offer thoughtful insights and offer a safe, gentle and effective approach to helping others.
|Gordon & Johanna Rosewall
Gordon & Jo first met as teenagers in their church youth group. Gordon confesses to being totally surprised when Jo said yes to going on their first date. They never looked back and were married while still at university and have been married now for 48 years. Their three adult children and seven grandchildren are scattered between Timaru, London (UK) and Phoenix (Arizona).
They both come from a background as High School teachers and together have served as Youth Pastors, planted churches, assisted and advised churches while living in The Netherlands. Until recently they were the Lead Pastors at Life Church Timaru, which they led and served for 25 years.
As local church pastors and Prepare Enrich Marriage Assessment facilitators they love the involvement in couples lives and the opportunity to support couples in building resilient and loving marriages that can go the distance.
|Phillip & Margaret Witehira
Phil and Margaret have been together for thirty nine years and married for twenty five. They lived a colourful, drug-centred life in the far north before radically coming to faith in 2003. Since then, Margaret and Phil have been very active in sharing their healing journey with others. In 2019 they started the first of three missions to take the gospel back to their marae in Ngatiwai territory, Te Wairahi, Whananaki. They also founded and run Property Mini-Makeovers in Porirua and both volunteer their time to Prison Fellowship and El Rancho camps. They have a wealth of experience in mental health; Phil works for Pathways Health Limited. They have six children and eight grandchildren.Margaret and Phil have a powerful testimony about how God has transformed their lives and their marriage. They come with a depth of both practical and spiritual tools for marriages.
|Brendon & Alison Harrex
Brendon & Alison aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed so within 6 months of a long distance relationship as their foundation, became engaged; 6 months later they were married; then 6 months later became pregnant. That confused them, giving rise to them having 3 children 3 and under. They added a 4th of their own genetics 3 years later, and enlisted the help of a teenager who became like a daughter to them. Five years on they welcomed a 3 year old boy and his 1 year old sister in to their whānau and just recently have begun caring for a 4 year old boy.While it may appear Brendon & Alison didn’t take enough time to build the foundation of their marriage, they continue to be deeply in love 21 years later. Their strength lies in their dedication to becoming intimate allies. When you’re both standing for a common purpose and fighting together with one heart, there is much less chance (let alone time or energy) to take each other out. Brendon and Alison’s story is one of a love built by finding and honouring Jesus in the trenches amongst children’s allergies and traumas, business challenges and much opposition.
This retreat is for newly weds and oldly weds, for strong healthy couples and any that might be struggling their way through their relationship.
It is our hope that all those coming will benefit from the seminars, time alone and fun activities, as a means of enriching their relationship.
The full cost for the weekend is $390 ($195 per person).
The Retreat includes the following:
• Two nights accommodation in your own room. Linen, bedding and towels are provided.
• Four catered meals – kicking off the first morning after your overnight stay...including breakfast and lunch, then a candle lit, three course meal in the evening (feel free to dress up) and then breakfast on the last morning.
• A great line up of seminars and workshops.
• Two onsite cafés with baristas (making complimentary coffees!) and live music.
• An exciting range of onsite activities!
(Please note you may be sharing bathroom facilities with at least one other couple).
***For some couples, financial hardship is a barrier to them attending. If you are in a position to sponsor a couple to come, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org***
Past guests have mentioned that having no children has been a real highlight for them.
We have been to many events for married couples and this was by far our favorite event. The weekend was the best time we have ever had as a married couple.
Thank you for the most incredible weekend. This is the most fun we have ever had and we have had so many revelations together.
This has saved our marriage.
Incredibly well organised! Blown away by the hospitality, kindness, attention to detail, care, thought and prayer. Such a blessing to us as a couple.
We felt respected and welcome. We were just hanging on to our marriage after ten years of struggling. It has been both challenging and hopeful to see what we can do to start building intimacy, trust and friendship again. Nice to be with people on varying stages of their journeys. Our marriage would not have survived until Christmas - now we have some ideas on what to do. Thank you so much.
A truly amazing weekend. We loved every bit of it. The whole team went well above and beyond what we bargained for! You are amazing people!"
A very well run weekend. Strengthened our relationship with each other and God.
What a wonderful, romantic and comfortable atmosphere you have created. I almost felt undeserving of all this love and attention.
I really enjoyed the realness and authenticity of the speakers. Marriages are hard work and coming to a marriage retreat can make you believe your marriage is not up to scratch...this was very non-threatening, husband-friendly and most enjoyable, I would definitely recommend.