our teachers

Gen Kelsang Demo 3

Gen Kelsang Demo (Resident teacher – Amitabha Centre)

Gen Demo has studied, practised and taught Kadampa Buddhism since its beginnings in New Zealand. In 2004, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso appointed her as full-time resident teacher and spiritual leader at the Amitabha Centre in Palmerston North.

With kindness and clarity Gen Demo makes Buddha's teachings accessible and relevant to our modern daily lives. She is an inspiring Buddhist practitioner who encourages us to integrate these teachings into our busy lives in practical and joyful ways.


Birgit Saunders – Education Projects Co-ordinator

In addition to organising programming and events, Birgit teaches regular meditation classes in Dannevirke, at the Cancer Society, and at Massey, and is ready to step in and teach when other teachers are away. She moved to the Manawatu two years ago from Wellington where she was both Administration Director and an active teacher at the Bodh Gaya Buddhist Centre. She is encouraged by how practical and relevant Buddha's teachings are, and how easy they are to apply to our own lives. This enthusiasm comes across in her support for the centre's programme and in her own teaching.


Kelsang Phunwang

Phunwang has studied at Amitabha Centre for many years and ordained in 2014. He is sincere and kind, and has a deep understanding of Dharma which he puts into practice in all aspects of his life. Phunwang takes care of the monthly programme of special prayers and pujas at the centre, co-ordinates Prayers for World Peace on Sundays, and supports the teaching programme in Levin on a regular basis, as well as stepping in as teacher where and when he is needed.


Jan McPherson

Jan has been teaching the Levin class for some years now - albeit with a three-year break when she was working abroad. She loves the fact that dharma offers really practical ways of working towards becoming more peaceful and compassionate, no matter what our beliefs, background or current situation might be; and she appreciates and enjoys the chance to explore these ideas with the Levin group.