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Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) is run annually by the Mental Health Foundation and has been since 1993.

MHAW is endorsed by the World Federation for Mental Health and is marked in over 150 countries at different times of the year.

In New Zealand, MHAW will be held on 8–14 October 2018 and the theme is Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga!

Why nature? 

Connecting with nature can uplift your wairua/spirit and promote mental health and wellbeing.

From learning about native birds and picking herbs from the garden to seeing the sunset from the kitchen window, we saw how you embraced nature last year.

So, this year we wanted to remind you how it can grow, support and nurture your wellbeing!

Simply apply the Five Ways to Wellbeing to your everyday life. Regardless of how much or little you interact with nature, you can make them work for you!

MHAW 2018 design

The design incorporates key Māori elements, created by an Auckland-based Māori design agency, Be Fly.

Ranginui/Sky Father and Papatūānuku/Earth Mother are key elements in the illustration. They represent the balance of the male and female roles in families and in nature. Ranginui is in a strong embrace in the illustration, acting almost as a shelter, and Papatūānuku is also embracing and providing kai/food. 

The illustration also expresses the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Give, Be Active, Take Notice and Keep Learning) from a Māori perspective.

It’s important to note that the illustrations are subjective. An image can represent multiple actions from the Five Ways to Wellbeing and people will interpret the illustrations in different ways:

Connect / Whakawhanaungatanga

The illustration shows the connection between people and nature, particularly in places of cultural significance. The marae and two people in a hongi represents people receiving and giving strength to each other. Their wellbeing is boosted through a community context.

Take Notice / Me Aro Tonu

The whānau/family on the hill are looking up at Ranginui/Sky Father, discovering his role and admiring his beauty. They’re learning about themselves and the natural environment as they do it. Another illustration representing ‘Take Notice’ is the woman in the middle of the poster, who is closing her eyes and paying more attention to the present moment, her thoughts, feelings and the world around her.

Keep Learning / Me Ako Tonu

Connecting to places that enrich cultural identity feature throughout the design. Maunga, awa, whenua and marae are all places that are spoken about in a pepeha (how Māori connect through their whakapapa/genealogy). The illustration encourages you to continue learning about your whakapapa, regardless of where you come from, and to reconnect with your family. You might find this illustration aligns well with ‘Keep Learning’, another action from the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Be Active / Me Kori Tonu

Featured throughout the illustration is fishing, running, playing, biking, hiking and being mindful. These are just a selection of common ways to be physically active in Aotearoa.

Give / Tukua

Giving is all about sharing the first of your harvest. Papatūānuku is gifting the kete/basket of kaimoana/seafood, and the sun is providing warmth and energy, and acting as a kaitiaki/guardian in the sky to support the work of Ranginui. 

The 5 natural ways

Five natural ways to wellbeing

Connect

Me Whakawhanaunga 

Maramataka: Mutuwhenua

Monday 8 October

The moon phase today is called Mutuwhenua – it’s the last day of the lunar cycle. We suggest focusing on connecting with your whānau, friends and community in nature.

Focus on connecting with nature to uplift your wairua/spirit and those around you.

 

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Give

Tukua

Maramataka: Ouenuku

Friday 12 October

This is the fourth night of the lunar month. Today is a good day to rekindle your connections with nature, re-tell stories with whānau and give back.

Nature provides for us – it gives us everything we need to not only survive but thrive. We, in turn, have a kaitiaki/guardianship role to give back to nature for future generations.

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Take notice

 Me aro tonu

Maramataka: Tirea

Wednesday 10 October

 

 

The new moon is beginning to expand ever so slightly and can just be seen. See nature through a different lens and take some time to Take Notice and be inspired by what’s happening around you.

 

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Keep learning

Me ako tonu

Maramataka: Whiro

Tuesday 9 October

The moon phase today is called Whiro, the new moon, the beginning of the new moon cycle. A day where activity was minimal, a day for wananga/learning. This makes Tuesday a great day to Keep Learning.

 

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Be active

Me kori tonu

Maramataka: Ohoata

Thursday 11 October

Today is a very good day for fishing, eeling and crayfishing, and a good day for planting which means it’s a great day to Be Active! Getting outside and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing and strengthens your connection with nature.

Remember to encourage people to be as physically active as their fitness and mobility allow. You don’t have to run a marathon to be active!

 

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