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Photo Challenge

Last year we received thousands of stunning entries for the Photo-a-day Challenge and loved seeing nature through your eyes.

The Photo-a-day Challenge was so popular last year we’re doing it again this year. It will run for 15 days from 1–15 October! Head out into nature, look at it with fresh eyes and show us what you see!

How does it work?

  1. Register for the Photo-a-day Challenge and go in the draw to win a DOC hut pass voucher. (Daily Photo-a-Day Challenge winners will receive a Mr Vintage MHAW tote bag worth $20. The People's Choice grand prize winner will take home a Nikon camera worth $1,299!) 

  2. Like or follow our Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter pages.

  3. Snap and share a photo based on the daily theme, upload it to your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account (make sure your post is "public" or the MHF team won’t be able to see it) with the hashtag #MHAWNZ. On Facebook, please tag us @MentalHealthFoundationNZ for your post to be seen. If you're not sure how to make your post public, it's super-easy (see FAQs below).

  4. Win Prizes. A winner will be picked each day by MHF staff, through a staff majority vote. The winning photo will be posted the following day on the Instagram account @MHFNZ. Winners will be contacted through social media and receive their prize of a Mr Vintage MHAW tote bag the end of the event.

    BONUS: People’s Choice grand prize winner! At the end of the 15 days, Nikon ambassador Esther Bunning will pick her top five photos from the 15 winning daily photos (plus a wildcard). A poll with six photos will be created on Wednesday, 18 October (through email and social media) for the public to pick their favourite photo and the winner will receive a Nikon camera worth $1,299! 

  5. Please see our prize Terms and Conditions.

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge 

Post a picture each day using our prompt. Each day one lucky person will win a prize! #MHAWNZ @MHFNZ @MentalHealthFoundationNZ  – Please note, the theme on 10 October relates to the MHAW Lockout.

MHAW PhotoLaunchTile FB


Why is the Mental Health Foundation running a photo challenge?

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature is Key because we know spending time with nature is fantastic for our mental health and wellbeing. We wanted to find an easy way for lots of people to unlock their wellbeing and share how they see nature – out of their windows, at work and at home and everywhere in between. A photo challenge seemed achievable for most people and is adaptable to most environments and abilities.

Do the photos have to be taken on the day they are posted?

No, we have no way of knowing when you took the photos. We know looking at scenes from nature can boost wellbeing so even going through photos you’ve taken in the past will be a great thing to do! However, we do hope most people who take part in the competition do so with a goal of reconnecting with nature and seeing it through fresh eyes and expect most entries will be taken on the day or close to it.

Is there an age limit for competition entries?

You must be the minimum age for the social media platform you are using to be eligible to enter this competition. The age limit for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is 13. There is no maximum age.

How many winners will there be?

There will be 16 winners in total (one winner each day plus the People’s Choice grand prize winner). Winners will be contacted and will receive their prize at the end of the event. Daily winners will be picked by MHF staff. At the end of the 15 days, Nikon ambassador Esther Bunning will pick her top five photos from the 15 daily winning photos (plus a wildcard). A poll will be created with the six photos and the public will vote for the People’s Choice grand prize winner.

What is the judging criteria?

While we’re looking for great photos and interesting interpretations of each day’s theme, we are the Mental Health Foundation so we’ll also be keeping an eye out for photos and captions that explore the connection between nature and mental health.

How do I get involved?

You must post your photo on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) on the relevant day (e.g, post a picture of water on 4 October). You're welcome to post on multiple social media platforms, but it won’t increase your chance of winning. When you post your photo you need to tag the Mental Health Foundation page (this is a requirement for Facebook posts but would be very helpful on Instagram and Twitter, too) and use the hashtag #MHAWNZ. And make sure your post is public. If your post is not public, the MHF won't be able to see your image and you won't be eligible to win.

Do I have to use the hashtag?

Yes, only photos that use the correct hashtag #MHAWNZ will be eligible to win.

How will I know my photo has been seen?

We will have staff members searching through the hashtag every day to ensure we see every entry. We can’t promise to like or comment on every entry but we are conducting this competition in good faith and will judge every photo entered.

How do I find out about daily themes?

Take a screenshot or print off the challenge to remind yourself. The MHF will be posting the next day’s theme every day on its Instagram account @MHFNZ.

How do I make my post or profile public? 





What if I miss a day, or get the themes mixed up?

You don’t have to post every day to be eligible to win! You can only win a daily prize if your entry aligns with the theme of the day AND is posted on the correct day. Don’t worry if you miss a day – start again tomorrow!

Will all photos with #MHAWNZ be voted on by the community?

No. We encourage you to post your favourite photo each day. The MHF will vote for the daily winners and Nikon ambassador Esther Bunning will handpick the final photos (from the 15 daily winners) for the public to vote on for the People’s Choice grand prize winner.

What if I just want to do the Photo-a-day Challenge for fun?

Fun is key to this event and it’s why the photo challenge is back for a second year! So, if you'd rather not enter the competition and keep your photos private, we would still love you to take part by sharing your snaps with family and friends.

Does my photo have to be taken outside?

No! Nature is key to wellbeing but we hope people focus on the ordinary, everyday nature we live and work around every day. Feel free to explore the nature you see from your window or inside your home, office or school. Please note that all photos do have to incorporate nature in some way to be eligible to win.  

Here’s just some of the feedback from last year:

“Thanks so much for doing this photo challenge, it was a lot of fun and got me out and about when I didn't want to!”– Matt

“Loved the challenge. Will there be another one? It has been very good for me, struggling with anxiety and depression at times isn't nice, but together exercise and nature are a very good cure!” – Jessica

“Nature has helped me so much in my recovery. It may seem like a small little photo competition but it's little things like this that give me encouragement and hope for change. It's very cool!” – Suzie






The 5 natural ways

Five natural ways to wellbeing


Me Whakawhanaunga 

Connecting with nature is great for you! The beauty is in how simple it can be. Remember if you can’t get outside, you can always bring the outdoors in.


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Nature provides, it gives everything needed to not only survive, but thrive. Here’s some cool ways you can give back to nature:


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Take notice

 Me aro tonu

It's common to go about your daily life, oblivious to your natural environment. Take some time to be mindful of what’s happening around you.


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Keep learning

Me ako tonu

There’s always something new to learn and discover when you interact with nature:


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Be active

Me kori tonu

Getting outside exposure and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing, plus it strengthens you connection with nature:


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