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Casting for Recovery New Zealand Retreats


Casting for Recovery (CFR) provides retreats at no cost to participants, which allow people whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to gather in a beautiful, natural setting and learn to fly fish.

It offers participants an opportunity to experience the peace and solitude and the chance to be in the moment that fly fishing provides. The retreat also incorporates a range of other services to promote well-being. The 2.5 day retreat weekend is one of fun and support with the mission of our trained volunteers being that of empowerment and achievement to what ever level you are capable of.

FAQs Visit the FAQ page for answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the retreats.
CFR contact details

North Island Co-ordinator, CFR New Zealand

Wendy Caldwell

183 Newman Road

Te Awamutu

Hm: 07-872 2686

Mobile: 027 279 6766

Sally Robertson - Nelson

Email: sally@castingforrecovery.org.nz

Sally Robertson
63 Kerei St
MOTUEKA     7120


On the web:

CFR NZ: www.castingforrecovery.org.nz (you are here)

CFR International: www.castingforrecovery.org

2019 retreats

Three retreats are planned for 2019

  • North Island at Te Awamutu
  • South Island at Murchison 26 - 28  April 2019

  • Otago at Lime Tree Lodge at Wanaka 26 - 28  April 2019
Eligibility and selection

The Casting for Recovery retreat accommodates 14 participants who have or have had breast cancer. You need not ever have picked up a rod in your life and only need to get to the location in Rotorua. Once there, you will be outfitted with fly fishing gear from head to toe for use for the duration of the retreat.

The selection of the 14 participants from all those applying is through a random lottery. The only condition is that you provide a medical certificate that confirms you are fit to participate.

Staffing Retreats are staffed by trained men and women volunteers. Our fly fishing instructors, medical and hospitality team are all here to make your weekend one of fun, empowerment and achievement.

You will be immersed in the world of fly fishing, learning to cast, tie the basic knots and all about the bugs - what fish eat. On the last day of the retreat, you'll be in the water practicing catch and release fishing assisted by our CFR volunteers, whom are passionate fly fishing anglers with years of experience to share with you.

Note that you are free to participate at whatever level you feel comfortable and are free to break from any activity.

Other services

In addition to your fly fishing experts, you will have pampering sessions. The pampering sessions will contain a variety of the following services:

  • Reiki
  • Massage
  • Manicures
  • Prosthetic advice
  • Compression garment fitting
  • A resource table that includes lymphoedema advice.


Great healthy meals (note the plates of lobsters!)

We provide you with comfortable shared lodgings. In our gathering area you will find all day refreshments with seasonal fruit and snacks. Our CFR volunteers will be sharing meal times with you, taking care of your needs and sharing in your daily recollections.


Video clip of CFR

Watch a short video clip and listen to women talk about what the American programme of Casting for Recovery has meant for them and their families. See what is involved and hear how this progamme, made possible by many volunteers and sponsors, has had a profound effect on women recovering from breast cancer.

Sponsorship and support As the program is non-profit and offered at no cost to the participants, CFR relies on the generosity of individual donors, foundation grants, companies and organisations. If there is any way you can help with loans or gifts of fishing gear, outdoor clothing, or any other good or services, please contact Wendy or Sandra at CFR.
Become a "River Helper"


The River Helpers of 2013

Casting for Recovery relies on the generous donation of goods and services as well as the time and expertise of anglers. If you would like to be part of this fun and important programme please check that you are able to fulfill the requirements as laid down in the "job description"

Tie some flies

Next time you're at your fly-tying bench, how about tying some flies that work in your region and send them through to CFR.

All donations will be gratefully received and acknowledged.

Please send flies to:
Wendy Caldwell
National Programme Co-ordinator, CFR New Zealand

183 Newman Road

Te Awamutu

Lynda assists on the Hamurana Stream

Special offer to CFR alumni

Come fishing with a CFR Accredited Fly Gal Pal

If you are a CFR alumni and plan to come to New Zealand, the women at CFR New Zealand offer to take you fishing and accommodate your needs. These are people who are passionate about fishing. If no-one is available at the time, or if you'd prefer a professional guide, they can assist you with a guide from the New Zealand Professional Fly Fishing Guides Association (NZPFGA).

Zero Limits


CFR globally practises compulsory catch and release and the education of humanely releasing trout with soft nets and barbless hooks.

CFR also teaches the concept of leaving no footprint on our pristine waterways and so has been awarded the sustainable tourism tick of approval.

Endorsement for CFR NZ

"I heartily support Casting for Recovery as one of the best programs for breast cancer survivors that I know."

Susan Love, MD
Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Message from "The First lady of Fly Fishing", Joan Wulff

Joan Wulff

Message of support for the New Zealand CFR programme

I'm delighted to know that you have started a Casting for Recovery "chapter" in your lovely country. There isn't a better cause and I love New Zealand. I was there in 1994 for your first One-Fly contest and we had a 4-person woman's team from the US. We didn't win, but thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Altogether I was there three whole weeks and fished as far south as Te Anau.

I wish you all the best with your Casting for Recovery program and, too, sharing fishing adventures with sister anglers. I'd be happy to hear from you as you move on.

Warmest wishes! Tight lines!!

Joan Wulff

Message from the Right Hon John Key, PM

Trout Fishing and Recovery from Breast Cancer in New Zealand

As a keen trout fisherman and the Minister of Tourism it is my great pleasure to encourage you to enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the world.

Breast cancer affects a growing number of women and recovery from treatment can be a long and sometimes traumatic experience.

It’s great to see organisations like Casting For Recovery running innovative programmes that help breast cancer sufferers get better while teaching them one of the world’s most relaxing and rewarding pastimes.

New Zealand is world-renowned for our trout fishing. Our sparkling rivers and lakes, our healthy trout fisheries, and our fantastic scenery complement our warm Kiwi hospitality and the wide range of facilities available for our visitors.

If ever there was a part of the world designed to help people recover from an illness – while making them feel at home – it must surely be in New Zealand.

Best wishes and happy fishing!

Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Minister of Tourism

International organisation

Casting for Recovery was founded in the USA in 1996 and has its headquarters in Manchester Vermont. See www.castingforrecovery.org for more details.

Casting for Recovery

The Casting for Recovery team thank all those who give up their time and resources to assist the participants during their retreat weekend.




Retreat photos

Ready for Action



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