Personal residential debriefing

We believe it is God's desire for all of us to experience deeper wholeness in all areas of our lives


Piringa: (Noun) shelter, hiding place, haven, refuge


Personal Debriefing

For families, couples & singles involved in cross-cultural, church and vocational contexts

Situated in Algies Bay (1 hour north of Auckland, New Zealand), Piringa provides a residential setting where people can come stay for a week for a personal debrief.

We provide a safe place for people to process the events of the past in order to grow emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, so they can move forward into the future in more healthy ways. The work is undertaken within a Christian framework as we believe it is God's desire for each individual to experience deeper wholeness in all areas of our lives.

Debriefing Training

For those wanting skills in Debriefing

Piringa offers a week-long, residential Personal Debriefing Training Workshop for those who want to be upskilled in caring for people in a mission or church context. It is a five-day Workshop ( Monday to Friday) where we cover the theory, knowledge, skills and practice of the Debriefing process.

+ More Information

The majority of the time we will be looking at personal debriefing but we will also give an introduction to critical incident, operational and family debriefing. A number of topics that often come up in a debrief will be covered in detail including: stress, loss, pain and grief, transition, forgiveness, needs and expectations, relationship breakdowns and paths to healing, Identity and shame, beliefs and lies, spiritual growth, discernment, images of God etc.

The Training Workshops are for those already with some experience and maturity in listening skills, and caring and helping people whether it be in a mission, church or professional context.

The next Workshop is scheduled for November, the 11th - 15th 2019, at Algies Bay. Please contact us for further details.

About Debriefing:

1. What is it?

Debriefing is a process whereby you will intentionally process the past, and as a result of this, be strengthened for the journey ahead. You still may be unsure what it's all about and whether it may be something that would help you on your personal journey, so next we look at who we debrief at Piringa.

About Debriefing:

2. Who is it for?

A Debrief is for anyone involved in ministry/vocational contexts who desires to grow in their understanding of God, themselves and the people and experiences that have shaped them, and to continue to live out of these aspects of life in an integrated way.

Kinds of debriefing that Piringa specifically focuses on:

  • Cross-cultural workers and families (including children) returning 'home' on home assignment or moving on to another assignment (more info below)
  • People who are moving into, out of, or in between different church or parachurch ministries
  • People who have, within a ministry/vocation context, experienced major disappointment and trauma or have faced a major crisis and are experiencing emotional, mental and spiritual distress
  • People who are questioning the direction of their ministry/vocation and are seeking external help in processing their thoughts, before possibly making major life directional/ministry decisions
  • Critical incident (trauma) debriefing. This crisis intervention is for people who have very recently been affected by a critical incident (e.g. forced evacuation, abduction, armed attack, natural disaster, break up of a team etc.)

+ Debriefing for Cross Cultural Workers

When returning from overseas it is best practice to have a physical check-up with your doctor. Likewise, it is considered that a personal Debrief is also important for an emotional, relational and spiritual check-up. This is especially so because of the major cross-cultural changes and transitions that are taking place.

+ Debriefing for Families

It is just as important for children returning from a cross cultural situation to have an environment to articulate their feelings and have someone to listen to them, as it is for adults. Children from 5 years + can benefit greatly from a debrief. A family debrief for children from 5 – 13 years of age is mainly ‘activity ‘ based.

  • A family debrief at Piringa could take different formats depending on the dynamics and needs of the family and each family member;
  • Best practice is that parents should come for a personal debrief first and then return for another debrief with the children. If this is not possible then;
  • Children and parents are debriefed together as a family with the possibility of some individual sessions. (When this happens then the debrief is focused on the needs of the children and aimed at their level of understanding.); and
  • In a family debrief because some of the time is spent with the children each day then time spent with parents separately is shortened.

In the situation when any of the younger children are not being debriefed then you would need to bring a babysitter/childminder to look after them whilst you are in the sessions. As well, processing/reflection work is given to do out of session and this is best done without the distraction of children.


About Debriefing:

3. Why is it helpful?

  • It helps the individual make sense of what has happened
  • Provides a neutral space to verbalise feelings and thoughts
  • It is a preventative process allowing the debriefee to verbalise emotions, helping to prevent deeper emotional issues from developing
  • Brings closure and/or celebration to things in the past
  • It affirms the individual and what they have been going through by being listened to
  • To give direction and more positive movement into the future
  • To allow God to bring healing into areas of pain, loss and disappointment

About Debriefing:

4. How is it structured?

People come and stay for a week – arriving Sunday evening and leaving after lunch the following Friday.
Time is spent with the two debriefers whether you are an individual, couple or family. These sessions are in the mornings. The afternoons and evenings are unstructured but these times are spent working on a variety of personal tasks given as a result of the morning debriefing sessions.
There will also be time to read, rest and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.


As a debriefee (whether a single, couple or family) you can expect:

  • to share your journey with two debriefers listening to you, who desire to be neutral and impartial.
  • to process your journey with the debriefers and also in your own personal time of reflection.
  • a debriefing structure that will be specific and sensitive to your own emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
  • a greater understanding of how you relate to yourself, others and God.
  • the debriefers to have training and/or qualifications, experience and skills in debriefing, counselling, spiritual direction and pastoral care.
  • full confidentiality as per normal counselling service.
  • independence from any church or mission organisation.

Ready to take the next step?

If you want to proceed then all you need to do is fill out an application form and send the completed form to us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Gavin & Michelle McConnell


We are the 'face' of Piringa, but behind us there is a team of people involved in many different capacities.

We are both Kiwis, who started off in professional careers and then went about applying those skills in a variety of international cross cultural situations over the best part of nearly 20 years.  Along the way these opportunities have meant that we have lived and worked in India, Mongolia, Cyprus, and Thailand and from April 07 to Sept 09 we worked as Debriefers in France at an international debriefing centre called 'Le Rucher'. We saw the value of debriefing so much, we thought 'Why not bring it back to NZ?' – Hence Piringa!

We have also managed over these years to squeeze some study in - theology / counselling / ESL / development and have both completed training in becoming Spiritual Directors. As well as all this cross cultural experience we have also been associate pastors of a church in NZ for a stint.

Piringa is registered as a Charitable Trust and operated by a Board of Trustees. This brings accountability and good management. Also we are accountable to an external supervisor for our practice.

Our Location


Piringa is located at Algies Bay, 10 mins out of Warkworth on the beautiful Mahurangi Peninsula.

575A Mahurangi East Road
Algies Bay
Warkworth 0920

Phone: 09 425 6394
Email: info@piringa.org.nz

Where to find us:

Piringa can be reached from central Auckland in 50 minutes (if no traffic hold ups!). Algies Bay is 10 minutes drive from Warkworth, which is on highway number one going north of Auckland. Algies Bay is situated just beyond Snells Beach on the Mahurangi Peninsula.

+ Getting to Piringa / Algies Bay by car:

As you head north on the motorway out of Auckland, you come to the motorway extension which is a toll road, when you are getting close to Orewa. The toll road is quicker and more direct than winding through Orewa. (The tolls can be paid on-line or by phone up to 5 days after you make the trip.) Both routes come together at the end of the tollroad and then it is about 15 minutes drive to Warkworth. Turn right at the third set of traffic lights on SH1 as it passes through Warkworth. Before this third set of traffic lights you will see the big sign saying ‘Matakana, Leigh, Sandspit and Snells Beach’. After you have turned off right from the main highway, go through the intersection and after about 80 meters there is another turn off to the right with a big sign saying 'Sandspit, Snells Beach, Algies Bay and Martins Bay’. Take this road. This will lead you to Snells Beach. Carry on through Snells Beach settlement and follow the signs to Algies Bay. Piringa is on this main road leading out of Algies Bay heading south. Our driveway is the first driveway on the left after you have passed Alexander Street (which is one of the streets that go down to Algies Bay). We are at 575A Mahurangi East Road. Piringa is the house straight ahead on the driveway.

+ Getting to Piringa / Algies Bay by Air / Bus:

If arriving via Auckland Airport you will need to catch the Skybus into the city. (It leaves every 10 minutes during the day and operates 24hours a day.) You will then have to catch a bus from Auckland central to Warkworth – about 1 hour duration. (You will need to book this bus online.) We will come and pick you up. There are a number of buses each day that go to Whangarei. They all come via Warkworth.



Effective as of 1st April 2019

  • The rates you will pay have been kept to a minimum due to the fact that they are subsidised due to the generosity of various individuals and Trusts who support Piringa and its vision

  • All bedding and linen is provided

  • The accommodation is self-catering (a fully equipped kitchen is available as part of your accommodation) therefore the rates do not cover the provision of food

  • The rates cover your stay of 5 nights at Piringa (Sunday evening through to early afternoon the following Friday)



For volunteers, students and those on mission support.



(With a ceiling of $1,480 per family)



Fees for salaried worker will be based on individual circumstances, who's paying etc. and will be worked out at the time of application in consultation with the debriefee.






If the above fees in any way hinder you from applying for a debrief at Piringa, please let us know.

+ Payment Information

No deposit is required in advance and you may pay during your stay (or before) by one of the following methods:

  • Bank transfer
  • Cash
  • Cheque

Please note: There are no Eftpos facilities and Piringa is not GST Registered

If your organisation prefers to be billed rather than you pay directly, then we will arrange with you how to do this.


Contact Us

Gavin and Michelle McConnell

575A Mahurangi East Road, Algies Bay, Warkworth 0920, Auckland, New Zealand

Phone: 09 425 6394 (International +64 9 425 6394)

Email: info@piringa.org.nz

In order to best facilitate your debriefing visit to us, we need to know a little about you and your circumstances. Please complete and submit an application form.