In this inspiring interview Tony Achtzehner outlines the shifts he has made from accountancy to running a successful beer garden (in his homeland of Germany) to an organic self-sufficient lifestyle and community creation in New Zealand. The self-healing modality of Body Electronics is discussed in the second half of the show.
My special guest Wednesday, October 14, 2009 on Voices from the North was Tony Achtzehner. Tony has made dramatic transformations in the course of his life. He spent his first twelve years in an idyllic German village in the Bavarian mountains near the Austrian border. He began his working life in accountancy. After a few years of working at a desk with numbers his desire for change kicked in and he ultimately attained great success running a beer garden at an old chateau with period furnishings in a picturesque setting of large established trees on a lake. He employed upwards of 30 people and weekends could see as many as 2000 patrons happily imbibing the local brew. Tony pointed out a startling fact: in eight summers this outdoor drinking establishment never experienced a fight or violent outbreak. Beer is like food for Bavarians and they treat it and each other with respect, it would seem.
Tony was exposed to the philosophical teachings of the friend and contemporary of Mark Twain, Prentice Mulford (1834-1891). For more on this little-known and read nature-inspired new thought pioneer click here. The viewpoint and words of Mulford proved to be perhaps the first trigger in Tony’s mind that there would be more to his life than being the successful proprietor of a drinking (and eating) establishment. When he read a book summarizing the prophecies of many seers and religions all pointing to a grand age of enlightenment (after some discomfort on the part of humanity) around the beginning of the new millennium, he realised he wanted to participate in this planetary shift somewhere other than in Europe. A serendipitous meeting and friendship with a Kiwi working for him brought him to New Zealand for the first time. He knew almost instantly this would be his new home.
He settled initially near Opua in the Far North, by happenstance adjacent to the famous European artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000), who became a good friend. Hundertwasser was escaping his continental fame and notoriety and was relishing the opportunity to plant trees and live simply and as closely as possible to nature. He proved to be a great inspiration to Tony, who himself became a lover and planter of many trees and who has incorporated Hundertwasser-inspired earth roofs and mosaics into his many subsequent building projects.
In the last decade and a half Tony has created an amazing property of organic orchards and gardens, retreat huts and dwellings. This inspirational place on the edge of Kerikeri, recently reclaiming its ancestral name, Pukewhau, has morphed into a thriving community of like-minded souls. There is now a hall available for a preschool and for meditation gatherings and a plethora of eclectic workshops.
Tony spoke with admiration for the friendship he had with an amazing man, Dr. John Whitman Ray, the founder of a healing modality called Body Electronics.
Dr. John wowed his audience of 120 during the tea break of a talk he gave at the Union Church in Kerikeri when in the fifteen minutes of the break he healed the swollen and broken leg of one of the attendees. When she began to jump around with delight on her previously broken leg (and there was an X-Ray to prove it) Tony knew he wanted to spend more time with Dr. John and his knowledge and skills. Doug Morrison continues to lecture and write on Body Electronics today, carrying on the amazing work of John Ray, who died a few years ago. I’ve personally experienced the seemingly miraculous results of Body Electronics and I encourage you to look further here.
The beautiful song played in the middle of the interview has been identified as performed by Israel “Iz” Kaۢanoۢi Kamakawiwoۢole (May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997)). My special thanks to Karoline Dehnhard who researched and found the name of this amazing artist. I’ve added a video of him singing another version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow to the end of the blog.
Like his mentors Hudertwasser and Mulford, Tony Achtzehner has chosen to live a simple life closely attuned to nature. I have a feeling his work and that of others around him will inspire many to lead organic and more self-sufficient ‘closer-to-nature’ lives in the years to come. Listen to the complete interview here:
John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.