our teachers

Birgit Saunders – Resident Teacher, Amitabha Centre

Birgit has been a student of Kadampa Buddhism since arriving in New Zealand ten years ago. She began teaching with the Kadampa Meditation Centre in Wellington where she was also Admin Director (AD) for three years. Since moving to Palmerston North in 2016 she has been working closely with Gen Demo as the Education Programme Co-ordinator (EPC) for the Amitabha Buddhist Centre and teaching classes in Dannevirke, Feilding, at the Cancer Society and Massey University, while also working at the Cancer Society. She was appointed as resident teacher of the centre at the beginning of 2020, and brings sincerity, bubbly enthusiasm and kindness to her teaching. She is always looking for ways to make dharma practical, relevant and meaningful - so that students are able to see how to use dharma and meditation to make a positive changes in their lives.

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 is our Education Programme Co-ordinator and also takes care of the monthly programme of special prayers and pujas at the centre, teaches Simply Meditate classes on Thursday lunchtimes, co-ordinates Prayers for World Peace on Sundays, as well as stepping in as teacher where and when he is needed.

Tracey McLaughlin

Tracey has studied and practised Buddha's teachings with Gen Demo since 2010, and has taken over teaching the Feilding class in 2020. She is thoughtful, kind and generous, and these qualities are evident in her approach to learning and teaching. She explains that: " Buddhism is a path to inner peace and happiness with maps, signposts and fellow travellers to show the way. I would like to teach to share these maps and signposts (Buddha's teachings) so that we can share this journey together."


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 those who come to class.