Ayyā Tathālokā Therī 

is the founding abbess of Dhammadharini‘s Sonoma Mountain Bhikkhunī Monastery in Penngrove and the Aranya Bodhi Awakening Forest Hermitage on the Sonoma Coast in Northern California. In 2009, Ayyā Tathālokā became the first Western woman to be appointed as Theravādin Bhikkhunī Preceptor – one who is authorized by the Buddhist monastic community to serve as an advocate for women’s full  acceptance (ordination) into the monastic Sangha. She has contributed to the going forth and full ordination of women as bhikkhunī in the USA, Australia, India and Thailand and serves as Senior Monastic Advisor to the Dhammadharini Support Foundation, the Alliance of Bhikkhunis and Sakyadhita USA. In 2012, she was invited to New Zealand for sharing Dhamma teaching and for the first intensive session of the Bhikkhunī Vibhaṇga Project held in the Central Plateau area. After this time, the NZ Bhikkhunī Trust was formed, with Ayyā Tathālokā’s return to New Zealand in January of 2017 for the third intensive session of the Bhikkhunī Vibhanga Project and meeting with the Trust the Trust began their journey to provide a place for bhikkhuni.


Some of her Dhamma talks are available at


Willa Thaniya Reid (formerly Ajahn Thaniya), has been Thaniya as Willa.compressed for webpracticing formal Buddhist meditation since the 80s. Her primary training has been through the Thai Forest Tradition of Luang Por Chah.  For 18 years she was part of the monastic community of Cittaviveka, as the senior nun for eight years, she offered support to the lay and monastic community; teaching retreats in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia.  She brings to her teaching  a love for the original suttas of the Buddha. For six years she served the community in Melbourne, offering spiritual support to the dying and their families. She has a Masters degree in relationship counselling, and clinical pastoral training. In 2015 she returned to New Zealand to develop the Kihikihi Meditation and Yoga Centre with her partner Eliza.

Some of her Dhamma talks are available at



Dr Elizabeth (Cintamani) Day has been practicing meditation and  yoga for over 25 years, during which time she spent six years ordained in the Buddhist monastic communities of Ajahn Chah in England. Extensive travels through India to spiritual teachers of Buddhist and Advaita traditions concretised her commitment to a life of awakening. Since leaving the robes she has held leadership positions in the Health and Higher Education sectors, including as Academic Head of a faculty of Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has a Doctorate in intersubjectivity, and is a qualified yoga teacher and Gestalt psychotherapist. She offers meditation and yoga teaching at Kihikihi Meditation and Yoga, established in 2016 with her partner, Willa. She brings to this advisory role on the New Zealand Bhikkhuni Sangha Trust her experience practising within and beyond the monastic context, skills in leadership, management and Board participation, and a commitment to support the capacity for women to flourish in Buddhism as practitioners and teachers.            


Penelope Trevathan – Chair

Erica Weerekoon – Secretary

Janice Hill – Treasurer

Dushyanti Samarasinghe

Prasanthi Amerasinghe