Wanderlust Festival – Lake Taupo – Wellpark reports back.

Wellpark College sent Sonja Potts to the Wanderlust Festival at Lake Taupo to discover all the Yoga delights that the 4 day event has to offer. The experience took her way beyond the Yoga Mat.

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Wanderlust Festival – A place to be.

The event that makes big promises.

“Wanderlust  is an experience that will leave you different than when you came — with new ideas, new friends, newly discovered abilities, and greater peace.”

And delivers.

“Unplug from the ordinary,” they beckoned…

After 5 hours of road tripping from Auckland to Taupo we checked in, checked out, and proclaimed our intentions for the four days on a cardboard card collective wall. Mine was simple: Be.

I wanted to unplug from the excess (thinking, doing, eating, sleeping, drinking, working, sitting in front of a desk – you get the idea!) and access my core. This was to be my four-day re-boot for my mind, body, heart AND soul. No small request.

This may be an international event but it has Aotearoa in its veins. The festival took place over Waitangi weekend and did not disappoint in paying homage to the homelands. Traditional karanga and powhiri welcomed all outsiders to the festival and area. The Haka was performed. Karakia and waiata sang out over hundreds of attendees, teachers, artists and staff. Kaitiakitanga was upheld throughout – minimal waste, recycling, and goods sold that benefit our environment. Whanaungatanga was recognised – we became one large family, one tribe.  The mauri of Taupo was evident throughout this American-born festival. The collaboration, the line-up, the staff, the attendees, all created the perfect prescription for my personally diagnosed need to retreat – to re-discover my reality. And I wasn’t the only seeker of such.

It’s not all Lululemon lycra and trends over tradition. As Xavier Rudd said himself, “we need events like this that spread the word and are able to be marketed. We need to raise consciousness”. Wanderlust Festival plugged into the Anahata Chakra of Aotearoa and used its name, media, its presence and its sound system to inspire all those that attended, those that received messages from those who attended and those who simply enjoyed the photographs and footage. The inspiration and intensity was infectious to all.

To put it into a modern metaphoric recipe:

Step 1: Take your full memory, slow system, and old programme running computer somewhere that promises to help.

Step 2: Download, organise, sort data by date and relevance, and backup what empowers you.

Step 3: Delete what isn’t serving you.

Step 4: Purchase more space, upload new applications, upgrade to the latest programme, and fully charge before unplugging again.

Step 5: Restart.

There’s something magic about being surrounded by like-minded people; people that understand, genuinely; people that not only share your appetite but also introduce you – intoxicatingly – to more. There’s a shift that happens on every level as you experience Aha! moments, get clear, receive guidance, and find either a new direction or gain confidence in your current one.

I danced in rain, sun, in choreographed groups, and on my way back to my room. I sang, participated in life-affirming meditations and yoga classes, walked barefoot everywhere for 4 days, learned about Te Ao Maori, Ayurveda, and medicinal natives. Most importantly I moved my body, cleared my blockages, and found comfort in being myself.

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My 2016 Wanderlust Taupo hero’s are Taane Mete, Abria Joseph, Elana Meta, Arihia Latham, Matiu Te Huki and Shiva Rea who each created such powerful space and delivered such strong, real, raw performances and presences that are still reverberating today.

The most memorable statements, all of which connect to the idea of Whanaungatanga, that we are all related, are as follows:

“Tread lightly on Papatuanuku. Be aware of her changing state.”

– Arihia Latham, Medicinal Native Plant Hike, Naturopath and Ayurvedic Practitioner

“Pronounce the words correctly!”

– Matiu Te Huki, Lively Up Yourself: Prana Vinyasa & the Spirit of Bob Marley, Musician, Waitangi Day

“I must look after this vessel. I have a job to do.”

– Xavier Rudd, Speakeasy, Musician

So let’s watch our step, take the time to pronounce Te Reo correctly (any language actually!), look after and show respect to our bodies, our people, our culture, our history, our future, and anyone we come into contact with.

Unplug when you need to.

Be.

Restart whenever.

Oh, and attend Wanderlust next year! See you there!

Leading by example,

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Sonja Potts for Wellpark College