Global Inspirations: Leonie Wise

Reporting from:  Otaki Gorge, New Zealand

Local Contact:  Leonie Wise, Carol Neilson

What kind of work are you doing in New Zealand?

Our dream is for a place where you can feel creative freedom and acceptance; somewhere that is just for you; where you are guided in perhaps some new directions for your creativity to wander. We want this place to be a stepping stone, so you can take a first (or another) step into exploring your creativity.

We have prepared a space for you to do this. We will feed you, nurture you, allow you creative time and time to simply be.

We call this dream New Zealand Creative Retreats. And we would love to have you join us.

What have you seen there that inspires you artistically, creatively or otherwise?

The Riverslea Retreat Centre, where the first of the creative retreats will be held, is a peaceful place, nestled in the native bush of New Zealand. The space is the perfect place to gather and engage in creative play and is also ideal for taking some time out for yourself to rest, relax, take walks, bathe in the river (if it’s warm enough!)


Where did the inspiration come from to launch this creative venture?

It began after Leonie attended the Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire a couple of years ago. It was the first place she’d been where not only was creativity allowed, it was received in a fierce embrace and given free run of the Rockywold Deephaven camp. It changed her… and it got her thinking about how it might feel to read about a retreat like that and then feel a real longing for something similar but not be able to find it in a local area. And so the dream took shape. She said YES, Carol said YES and here we are…


Leonie Wise is a poet, photographer, adventurer and life enthusiast. She currently lives in London, though will always call New Zealand home. She has self-published a book of poetry and has had her photographs featured in charity publications and her writing & photographs published in the Squam Art Journal. You can follow her at


Christine Mason Miller is a writer and mixed-media artist who loves to travel, wander and explore, whether on her own or vicariously through others. Her latest book – Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World – is now available. Visit her at


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