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Retreat, memoir and film for Bearpark

By Hayley Gastmeier
[email protected]
Andy Bearpark’s spiritual retreat will go ahead despite last week’s fire setback.
And the former chief of staff for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is also to launch a memoir, with a British filmmaker set to base a documentary on it.
Mr Bearpark planned to open the yoga centre in his Featherston home next month.
But an early morning blaze last Friday destroyed the interior of the Renall St house which, bar some “finishing touches”, was almost complete.
Since the fire, Mr Bearpark has moved into a “tiny house” that is less than 10m2, which he built in his garden initially for guests.
“And that’s where I’m going to live for the rest of my life,” he said.
Mr Bearpark, who was also a private secretary for Mrs Thatcher, moved to Featherston last November.
He said the retreat would still go ahead, but not as originally planned.
“As soon as I can get the insurance company to agree, the main house will be demolished and then in its place will come some more tiny houses and a plunge pool for the retreat centre.”
He said the house could be repaired, but pulling it down was the option that suited him best.
“It will be a long job to repair it, and I just don’t care really… I live alone with the dogs so I don’t actually need a house.
“I don’t want to spend six months rebuilding a house that I don’t actually want.”
Before becoming a yogi, Mr Bearpark had a 40-year career as a war zone reconstruction expert.
On Sunday at 4pm he will launch his self-published book, Serendipity Rules — A Brief History, at Featherston’s Kiwi Hall.
The memoir tells of how Mr Bearpark was once responsible for a budget of $18.6 billion – “more than the GDP of half the countries in the world”.
It includes stories from his time in Zimbabwe, Kosovo and Iraq.
Mr Bearpark said the unintentional book was written in two halves.
About 25 years ago the University of London, where Mr Bearpark previously studied, asked if he would write an account of his career for their annual magazine. That was the first half of the book.
The second half, documenting his latter career, was written in response to a request by Mr Bearpark’s friend, English based filmmaker and humanitarian Bill Leeson.
Mr Leeson is to make a documentary film on Mr Bearpark’s life and will use the short book to attract funders to the project.
“It’s like the plot of the film. They can read that in 15 minutes and see what film it is he wants to make.”
Mr Bearpark said the book “is not really a book at all” and it was never his intention to publish it.
“But then I thought ‘what the hell, why not put the two [halves] together’. Then it’s a story for the grandchildren. They can see what I’ve done with my life, and for me it’s closure. It’s the end of a previous life and the start of a new life.”


  1. I had a privilege to work for Mr. Bearpark in Kosovo between 2000-2003. There are a number of brilliant lessons that I learned from him but I will mention only one. He would meet his senior staff every morning and listen to them. He would make them all feel that he was impressed with their expertise but little did we know he was actually an expert on the topic.

  2. Had the privilege of being attached to Andy BearPark’s security team in Iraq for 10 days. He was Deputy head of the CPA & whilst others had no idea , what was achieved was generally because of Andy’s no fuss behind the scenes work.

    If we had had more Andy’s & less the normal bureaucrat (funnily enough the British mission did have quite a few very good people helped by some good Americans trying to make it work) & political appointments it all might of come out a lot better for the people of Iraq.

  3. Hi,

    I love hearing of this very unique man. I also have lead an unusual life. Seen many deaths and think I am okay. I really admire Andy in the fact he is doing something to help those who have been exposed to abnormal situations. When returning to New Zealand I was hoping I maybe be able to be of benefit to those returning with Post Traumatic Symptoms. Unlike Andy my financial situation leaves me with unfilled plans.

    I wish him all the best and hope at some stage in the future I have a chance to meet him.

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