New Zealand literature about the benefits of connecting with nature
Residential exposure to visible blue space (but not green space) associated with lower psychological distress in a capital city
Nutsford, D., Pearson, A.L., Kingham, S., & Reitsma, F. (2016, March 11). Health Place, 39,70-78. Epub ahead of print.
Higher levels of blue space visibility are associated with lower psychological distress. Importantly, blue space visibility is not significantly associated with tooth loss.
The nature of wellbeing: How nature’s ecosystems services contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders
Roberts, L., et al. (2015). Wellington: Department of Conservation.
The evidence assembled in this report demonstrates that the ecosystem services that are delivered by indigenous biodiversity and natural landscapes contribute in a very wide variety of ways to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders.
(2015, November). Mental Health Foundation NZ.
Spending time in nature improves wellbeing. It’s not just something that’s nice to do, it’s good for your mental and physical health. That’s why the Mental Health Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the Department of Conservation to promote good mental health and protect New Zealand’s precious environment.
Mackay, L.M., Prendergast, K., Schofield, G.M., & Jarden, A. (2015, November). Auckland: AUT Human Potential Centre and Sovereign.
The survey finds those exercising in natural settings had a greater prevalence of being awesome, happiness, and high energy, than those who did not exercise outdoors in natural settings. Outdoor settings were associated with a slightly lower prevalence of depressed mood than indoor settings.
(2015, June). Department of Conservation.
Spending time in nature or enjoying scenery and spending time with family and friends are the most popular reasons for using a Department of Conservation area. There are also those claiming to want to get away from it all, have a physical challenge or to improve health.
The eco-friendly therapist: An interpretative literature review of obstacles and solutions to practicing ecotherapy
Selina, C. (2014). A dissertation submitted to Auckland University of Technology.
Ecotherapy uses the restorative qualities that nature offers by stepping outside the therapy room, or through bringing elements of nature indoors. This dissertation provides a history and overview of ecotherapy practice, along with a summary of ecotherapy modalities.
An ecological study investigating the association between access to urban green space and mental health
Nutsford, D., Pearson, A.L. and Kingham, S. (2013, November). Public Health, 127, 1005-1011.
The study finds that decreased distance to useable green space and increased proportion of green space within the larger neighbourhood are associated with decreased anxiety/mood disorder treatment counts in an urban environment.
Blaschke, P. (2013). Wellington: Department of Conservation.
The report identifies sources of data and expertise that are required to further analyse the relationships between conservation investment and human health, discusses the value of conservation investment as measured by health outcomes, and describes measures that would improve the alignment between conservation management and potential health and wellbeing benefits in New Zealand.
(2013). Auckland: AUT Human Potential Centre and Sovereign.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing were all strongly associated with higher wellbeing (connect, give, take notice, keep learning, be active). Flourishing scores increase linearly with taking notice. People who take notice more are flourishing more. Older adults take more notice of their surroundings and more Maori/Pacific people take notice compared to other ethnic groups.
(2011). Auckland: Mental Health Foundation.
The natural environment is fundamentally important to both physical and psychological wellbeing, so actions that promote and protect the natural environment help to increase the ability to flourish in life. In turn, people and communities that are flourishing, eg, have high levels of wellbeing, tend to be environmentally responsible in their behaviour and can, therefore, contribute to environmental sustainability.
Effective approaches to connect children with nature: Principles for effectively engaging children and young people with nature
Wilson, C. (2011). Wellington: Department of Conservation.
Frequent, positive early childhood experiences with nature have a major impact on the healthy growth of a child’s mind, body and spirit. The Department of Conservation’s National Education Strategy emphasises the importance of children and young people connecting with nature, and developing conservation knowledge, values and skills to enable them to get involved and make a difference.
(2011). Hamilton: Department of Conservation.
Parents, grandparents and/or guardians have a critical role in fostering that natural ‘sense of wonder’ that kids have. This booklet is designed to give families practical ideas to share and enjoy the natural world – whether it be in your own backyard or out and about in local parks, reserves and beyond.
(2011). Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.
The average time average time per day spent on all primary exercise or sporting activities is 19 minutes.
Regional Public Health (2010, March): Lower Hutt: Regional Public Health.
This paper has illustrated that the quality and type of open space provided within communities can have a significant and sustained impact on community health and wellbeing.
Public Health Advisory Committee. (2010). Wellington: Ministry of Health.
The authors note that there is some evidence that increases in stress and anxiety can be due to traffic congestion and related travel delays are linked to high blood pressure, more sick days off work, more days in hospital and poorer job performance. In contrast, access to high-quality green space is linked with quicker recovery from stress and lower rates of depression.
Linking farmer wellbeing and environmentally sustainable land use: A comparison between converting organic and conventional dairy farmers
Mortlock, B., & Hunt, L.M. (2008). Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability.
The report provides a description of the relationship between wellbeing achieved by farming and the care of the environment as revealed in interviews with dairy farmers participating in the ARGOS programme. Its purpose was to indicate how environmental care might be part of farmers' everyday life and become part of their sense of wellbeing and way of living a meaningful life.