Bella Rakha is a retreat centre and creative venue, set at the base of the Waitakere Ranges in Oratia. The property is owned by Yvette and Simon Feasey, who live on site with their family.
The property, previously called Knock Na Gree, was owned by the Catholic Church since the 1930’s, and had hosted many generations of children, families, and retreat groups, until it went up for sale in 2007.
Looking for a semi-rural property on which to create a new lifestyle for themselves and their (then) pre-school children, Simon and Yvette fell in love with this piece of land with its long winding drive and journey of discovery, and the possibilities of working from home and space for creative projects to keep them fulfilled.
The grounds were beautiful with the large established trees, well-kept lawns and maturing native bush. The buildings whilst tidy, were quite tired having had very little done to them since the 1980s. Not a couple to back down from a challenge (although it did feel a bit overwhelming during the first two years), they have been chipping away at renovations over the years and also installed a top NZ Disc Golf course on the land. After years of ‘making do’, living upstairs in the old lodge, they undertook their big ‘home’ build in 2020 (great timing!), converting one side of the lodge to a contemporary home and also upgraded the guest side of the lodge too.
Our name Bella Rakha comes from a combination of words and languages and translates to “the beauty of life”, living a beautiful life, being surrounded by the beauty . . . in all its aspects.
Our vision for the property has evolved as we have lived here. It started as a place to raise our family and share a lifestyle with others. We thought that this feeling of peace and inspiration would be wonderful to continue to share with others. With our strong interest in design and creativity, we have looked to use each upgrade as an opportunity to express this.
We seek to live with ecological awareness, with respect for the land and her resources and preservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of our living space. We invite others to share our vision while living and visiting here at Bella Rakha, respecting and caring for the safety and well-being of oneself, others and this beautiful place.
A bit more about us
Bella Rakha is managed on a day to day basis by Yvette. Our girls are all grown up, both looking to embark on study in 2024, they still enjoy living surrounded by the beauty of Oratia. I balance my time working on the property, managing the business and exploring my creative endeavours in art and design. Our house build was completed during 2020, and we are still completing all the final touches inside and out as time and finances allow.
With my eight years of experience designing (pre-motherhood) and overseeing the construction of new shops and cafes, it has been great to have a new canvas to work on. We have completed lots of work over the last 15 years, and the new home is the icing on the cake. This has sparked off other projects, and there is never a dull moment.
Simon’s passion at Bella Rakha is the grounds. The first thing he did here was install a Disc Golf Course for him and his friends to enjoy. This has evolved and been improved to include some very challenging and picturesque holes to keep his skills sharp. With this being such an accessible game for people of all ages and abilities, we regularly have groups including this activity into their visit to our property. He loves the bush and is constantly looking at ways to enhance and preserve our special environment.
Simon is involved in all things Disc Golf. Manufacturing discs in NZ under the name RPM Discs (www.rpmdisc.com), they also make the target baskets, and design courses around the country, and he travels regularly overseas competing. In an age when children and families spend lots of time inside in front of screens, one of his goals is to introduce them to this new sport which gets them outdoors, enjoying nature.
Our girls have grown up here, surrounded by nature and have had wonderful opportunities to raise pets of all shapes and sizes. They have enjoyed being part of the creation of the new family home and putting their own creative stamp on their personal spaces. * noted – we need more up to date family pictures, they are much bigger now.
Marion Feasey (Simon’s Mum) moved to Bella Rakha in 2012. She loves the peace and tranquillity that surrounds us here and enjoys her involvement in the development of our joint visions for the evolution of Bella Rakha.
Marion’s life work is in promoting well-being through meditation, healing and movement therapies, and lifelong learning and education. She is creating opportunities to share aspects of these with others here at Bella Rakha.