Play@Aotea- Course Info

Retreat Review Reboot
Follow Up Alumni Course

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

Dear Alumni

Thank you for your support of Play CoLab. We are aware and deeply appreciative of the fact that this contemporary leadership practice is flourishing through the referrals of our alumni.

Being research-led and evidence-based, we listen intently to our alumni and consistently fine-tune the courses and the content in order to feed forward the insights about impact. Hence our Play@Aotea experience is shaped in collaboration with our alumni and part of this is to ensure there is an alumni offering to support continued growth.

Development has been likened to a rocking chair effect. At some points during and après course, you will have experienced a centering in that desired self-authored way of being, only to find that a situation triggers your return to reactivity. That’s normal – a real change in developmental stage is always preceded by a number of state changes. The alumni offerings are an opportunity to both review your progress and restart a new phase of growth; we will revisit core concepts and endeavor to reboot your inner operating system.

Our alumni retreat on Great Barrier Island includes two different levels of experience.

Indeed some cohorts may prefer to have their own alumni experience based on one of these two options, which we can easily accommodate but we also encourage individuals to be open to being part of a new alumni group. Trust that we will curate the group with care, to ensure the right mix: enough commonality in life experiences but enough diversity of sector/personality/background. And naturally, all will have had a similar Play CoLab experience.

If you have interest in continuing your professional development amidst the natural wonder that is Great Barrier Island, please contact us here or email jenna@playclc.com directly.

Once again thank you for warm, generous enthusiasm for the work we all do together.

Nga mihi nui,

Sandy Burgham

“If I am not for myself who will be for me? If I am not for others, who am I? If not now, when?”

– Rabbi Hillel


A 3-night Retreat experience on Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

Play CoLab considers Aotea a kind of playground for our work. It is a magical island and being off-the-grid in a breathtaking natural setting is not only rejuvenating but provides literal space for reflection.


Option 1: Luxury Indulgence

All guests stay at Trillium Lodge Tryphena with our hosts Lynda and Jo.
Four people have their own room and another four will share 2 x twin rooms. This is selected with care and sensitivity and each sharer receives a massage voucher to use on the island as a thank you.

Option 2: Waterside Adventure

This option sees the cohort as the only guests in a charming historic 1920s homestead on the water’s edge at Tryphena with Stand Up Paddle Boards and scooters & electric bikes freely available.

5 people have their own rooms, and others may share additional bunk rooms.


Wednesday Evening
Fly in to the island on the 4pm flight.
Platter dinner from 5.30pm

Morning session 8.30-1pm: GROUP COACHING
1pm -7pm free to explore
7-9pm dinner
9 pm-10.30pm; Dark Sky Sanctuary Experience (see later)

Morning session 8.30-1pm: GROUP COACHING
1pm – 6.30pm free to explore
6.30pm – optional “Island Gin” tasting experience
7pm dinner

Morning session 8.30-10.30am: GROUP COACHING
10.30am-4pm free to explore
5pm flight out


Play@Aotea is facilitated by Sandy Burgham and Jenny Devine. Read more about us here.

Getting Around

We will provide two rental cars for the group of 8pp.


The group has breakfast and morning tea together and a picnic lunch is provided to each individual to take on their chosen island experience. Dinner is provided at the accommodation on the first evening during the introductory session. We dine out together on Thursday and Friday.


The island is a natural paradise that offers outstanding beaches, bush walks, waterfalls, art and crafts trails, fishing charters amongst a variety of unique experiences. We will guide the group through options and strongly suggest group activities. Visit Great Barrier Island’s website here.

“Good Heavens” Dark Sky Experience

It is appropriate that to complement our enquiry into Self, the Thursday evening group experience is a special entertaining “knowledge journey” of the night sky. (After all, when you look up, it’s just the stars, the planets and you.) Off-the-grid and away from the lights of the big city, Great Barrier Island is one of the handful of places in the world that has International Dark Sky Sanctuary status which means it is amongst the best places for stargazing. With the specialist astronomical experts from “Good Heavens”, you can lean back in comfort and marvel at the universe.
Learn more here.


Luxury Indulgence: $2850pp + GST
Waterside Adventure: $2300pp + GST
Includes all course costs, flights, 3 nights accommodation, food, alcohol (within reason!), facilitation and venue costs, rental cars, and Dark Sky Sanctuary experience.

Photo credit: Great Barrier Island night sky by Siddarth Kumar, Play CoLab alumni