New Zealand literature about the benefits of connecting with nature
van Lier, L. E., Utter, J., & Denny, S., et al. (2017). Health Promotion Practice, 18(1), 34-43.
Gardening was positively associated with healthy dietary habits among NZ students, such as greater fruit and vegetable consumption. Gardening was also positively associated with physical activity and improved mental health and wellbeing.
Jeffery, H., & Wilson, L. (2017, April). New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(1).
With additional training occupational therapists are well equipped to integrate adventure therapy into mental health practice.
Measuring blue space visibility and ‘blue recreation’ in the everyday lives of children in a capital city
Pearson, A. L., Bottomley, R., & Chambers, T., et al. (2017). International Journal of Environmental Research and public Health, 14(6), 563.
The study aims to quantify and understand trends in visual exposure to blue space and participation in blue recreation among children in Wellington.
Assessing the relationship between greenspace and academic achievement in urban New Zealand primary schools
Beere,P., & Kingham, S. (2017). New Zealand Geographer, 22 May 2017.
The authors conclude greenspace can have a significant positive effect on improved concentration duration, behaviour in the classroom, and educational and social development for school-aged children.
Cox, D. T. C, Shanahan, D. F., & Hudson, H. L., et al. (2017, February 9). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(2), 172.
Nearby nature offers huge potential as an easily accessible and cost-effective approach to illness prevention.
Increasing resilience in adolescents: The importance of social connectedness in adventure education programmes
Scarf, D., Hayhurst J. G., & Riordan, B. C., et al. (2016, September 27).
The findings demonstrate the positive impact Adventure Education Programmes have on adolescents’ resilience and a mechanism through which this occurs.
The impact of children's exposure to greenspace on physical activity, cognitive development, emotional wellbeing, and ability to appraise risk
Ward, J. S., Duncan, J. S., & Jarden, A., et al. (2016, July). Health & Place, 40, 44-50.
Findings support the theory that for children, greenspaces are an important environmental influence on physical activity and emotional wellbeing.
Colmar Brunton. (2016). Quality of Life survey 2016: Topline report (41-53). A report prepared on behalf of Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Christchurch City Council, and Dunedin City Council.
The most common reasons across seven cities for having a sense of pride was that their city or local area provides a good lifestyle, there are plenty of parks/green open spaces and the beautiful natural environment, or good climate.
Egli, V., Oliver, M., &., Tautolo, E. (2016, June). Preventive Medicine Reports, 3, 348-352.
The research develops a model that communicates the many benefits of community garden participation as described in the academic literature, to a diverse audience of laypersons.
Jensen, A. (2016, May 7). Nurture in Nature, Auckland, New Zealand.
The seminar outlines the importance of risky play in the outdoor environment for children’s developmental growth.
Fleming, C. M., Manning, M., & Ambrey, C. L. (2016, May). Landscape and Urban Planning, 149, 1-10.
The authors conclude given the considerable level of public investment in providing and maintaining greenspace, there is a clear need to address fear of crime in the neighbourhood in order to ensure that the full benefits of policies directed at promoting the use of neighbourhood greenspace for health and well-being can be realised.
Pause, breathe, smile: A mixed-methods study of student wellbeing following participation in an eight-week, locally developed mindfulness program in three New Zealand schools
Bernay, R., Graham, E., Devcich, D, A., Rix, G., & Rubie-Davies, C. M (2016, March). Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 90-106.
Results suggest the importance of offering mindfulness-based programs for potential improvements in students’ wellbeing.
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.
(2016, 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.