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New Economics Foundation (UK) 5 Ways to Wellbeing: Connect (2008)

Aked, J., Marks, N., Cordon, C., & Thompson, S. (2008)

The evidence emerging from the Foresight Challenge Reports indicates that social relationships are critical for promoting well-being and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health. This seems to be the case for people across all ages.

Evidence supporting the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’

This resource outlines the following points relating to the importance of connection:

  • Friendship is one of the highest positive correlations with self-rated happiness. 

  • People with stronger social relationships have a 50% increased likelihood of survival from conditions such as coronary vascular disease and cancer. 

  • The magnitude of having good social relationships is comparable with quitting smoking, and it exceeds many well-known risk factors for mortality (e.g. obesity, physical inactivity). 

  • The most significant difference between those with mental ill health and those without is social participation. 

Holly Walker: The Heightened Risks of Loneliness Following COVID-19

Holly Walker at the Helen Clark Foundation looked at loneliness in NZ, and suggested the following elements (some of which relate to aspects of “connection”) be incorporated into a policy response:  

  • Help communities do their magic 

  • Create friendly streets and neighbourhoods 

  • Prioritise those already lonely 

  • Invest in frontline mental health services. 

20 Habits For a Healthier, Happier Life

(2018, January 4). Blue Zones

From research in the healthiest and happiest places in the world, here are some habits to take up. 

The Association between Neighbourhood Social Capital and Adolescent Self-reported Wellbeing: A Multilevel Analysis

Aminzadeh, K. (2012)

The aim of this research is to assess the relationship between neighbourhood social capital and adolescent subjective wellbeing in New Zealand, and its interaction with adolescents’ socioeconomic status. 

Social Relationships and Health: The Toxic Effects of Perceived Social Isolation: Social Relationships and Health

Cacioppo, J. T., & Cacioppo, S. (2014)

Evidence indicates that loneliness heightens sensitivity to social threats and motivates the renewal of social connections, but it can also impair executive functioning, sleep, and mental and physical well-being. Together, these effects contribute to higher rates of morbidity and mortality in lonely older adults.

Can Your Friends Help Prevent Heart Attacks? 

(2019, September 25). Blue Zones

While heart health is greatly impacted by your lifestyle, there more factors, maybe even “softer” factors, that also predict heart disease. This post discusses the Roseto effect, which suggests that positive social factors may reduce the incidence of heart disease.   

Does the Quantity of Social Interactions Affect Happiness?

Markman, A. (2018)

This post discusses the research by Mehle et al., 2010 and Milek et al., 2018. The author concludes that “spending time around other people is a benefit. Even ordinary interactions may reinforce your bond to other people, which can make you happier and more satisfied with your life.” 

An active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life might protect against dementia

Fratiglioni, L., Paillard-Borg, S., & Winblad, B. (2004)

This review systematically analyses the published longitudinal studies exploring the effect of social network, physical leisure, and non-physical activity on cognition and dementia and then summarises from the current evidence that an active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life protects against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The link between self-esteem and social relationships: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

Harris, M. A., & Orth, U. (2020)

The findings of this study suggest that the link between people’s social relationships and their level of self-esteem is truly reciprocal in all developmental stages across the life span, reflecting a positive feedback loop between the constructs.

Why Social Relationships Are Important for Physical Health: A Systems Approach to Understanding and Modifying Risk and Protection

Holt-Lunstad, J. (2018)

Social relationships are adaptive and crucial for survival. This review presents existing evidence indicating that our social connections to others have powerful influences on health and longevity and that lacking social connection qualifies as a risk factor for premature mortality.

How to Be a More Effective Listener (and What’s in it For You)

(2019, October 29). Blue Zones

There is truth to the maxim that a great conversationalist is a good listener. When we’re in the presence of an active listener, we feel heard, valued, and attended to. 

The impact of social activities, social networks, social support and social relationships on the cognitive functioning of healthy older adults: A systematic review

Kelly, M. E., Duff, H., Kelly, S., McHugh Power, J. E., Brennan, S., Lawlor, B. A., & Loughrey, D. G. (2017)

The results of this review support prior conclusions that there is an association between social relationships and cognitive function but the exact nature of this association remains unclear. Implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research provided.

Holistic wellbeing 

New Zealand’s engagement with the Five Ways to Wellbeing: Evidence from a large cross-sectional survey

Mackay, L., Egli, V., Booker, L.-J., & Prendergast, K. (2019. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 14(2), 230–244

A survey was undertaken with 10,012 adults throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand, to assess individual wellbeing and participation in the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Give, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Be Active). Wellbeing was assessed with the Flourishing Scale.

Relationship between volunteering and perceived general health of individuals with serious mental illness

Held, M. L., & Lee, S. (2020). Community Mental Health Journal, 56(2), 348–354

Volunteering has been found to be a significant predictor of improved health among the general population. Yet, little is known about the relationship between volunteering and perceived general health among individuals with serious mental illness. This study examined the extent to which volunteering is associated with perceived general health of individuals with serious mental illness. Study findings indicate that individuals who engage in volunteering are more likely to report better health status when compared to those who do not engage in volunteering.

Subjective wellbeing around the world: Trends and predictors across the life span

Jebb, A. T., Morrison, M., Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2020). Psychological Science, 095679761989882

Using representative cross-sections from 166 nations (more than 1.7 million respondents), differences in three measures of subjective wellbeing over the life span were examined. Globally, and in the individual regions of the world, it was found that only very small differences in life satisfaction and negative affect. By contrast, decreases in positive affect were larger. 

Sleep duration and psychological wellbeing among New Zealanders

Lee, C. H., & Sibley, C. G. (2019). Sleep Health, 5(6), 606–614

This study identified the prevalence of short and long sleep duration and examine the relationship between sleep duration and psychological well-being among New Zealand adults. Participants were asked “during the past month, on average, how many hours of actual sleep did you get per night?”. Most New Zealanders reported having optimal sleep duration, but more than a third reported having short and 4.5% reported long sleep duration.

Are we making a difference in the lives of New Zealanders – how will we know?: A wellbeing measurement approach for investing for social wellbeing in New Zealand

Social Investment Agency. (2018). Social Investment Agency (SIA)

This working paper is written for analysts, policy advisors and social service providers to introduce the Social Investment Agency’s wellbeing measurement approach. 

Activities for flourishing: An evidence-based guide

VanderWeele, T. J. (2019). Journal of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 1-13

The paper reviews various evidence-based activities that can be easily employed to promote human flourishing. The evidence from numerous randomized trials has now established a number of do-it-yourself activities that can be used to improve various aspects of wellbeing. Moreover, various relational and institutional commitments can be voluntarily pursued which likewise have been shown to have substantial effects on wellbeing.

Social wellbeing. Social Psychology Quarterly

Keyes, Corey Lee M. (1998). 61(2), 121. 

The proposal of five dimensions of social well-being, social integration, social contribution, social coherence, social actualization, and social acceptance, is theoretically substantiated 

Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies.

Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013).                    BMC Public Health, 13, 119. 9

The results of this meta-analysis show that positive psychology interventions can be effective in the enhancement of subjective well-being and psychological well-being, as well as in helping to reduce depressive symptoms.

Wellbeing and mental distress in Aotearoa New Zealand: snapshot 2016.

Kvalsvig, A. (2018). Retrieved from Health Promotion Agency website:

This snapshot report summarises key findings from the 2016 Mental Health Monitor and 2016 Health and Lifestyles Survey. Participants reported that the experience of mental distress was common (personally or among people they knew) and that mental distress was more than depression and/or anxiety, and included feeling isolated, overwhelmed by stress and not being able to cope. Awareness of mental distress in self or others was associated with more positive attitudes but participants indicated a reluctance to disclose mental distress in some environments, such as workplaces. Social isolation (also known as loneliness) emerged as an important concern. It was strongly associated with depression, anxiety and other forms of distress, particularly among young people.

The health and wellbeing of Māori New Zealand secondary school students in 2012 = Te Ara Whakapiki Taitamariki, Youth’12.

Crengle, S., Clark, T., Robinson, E., Bullen, P., Dyson, B., Denny, S., … Adolescent Health Research Group. (2013)

This report presents Māori-specific findings from Youth’12, the third national health and wellbeing survey of secondary school students in New Zealand. This is New Zealand’s largest and most comprehensive survey of the health and wellbeing of taitamariki Māori in high schools. Included in the survey is a range of factors that impact on the healthy development of taitamariki Māori, including whānau/family, community, education and social environments. The information presented in this report was provided by 1,701 students who reported Māori ethnicity in 2012 (20% of the entire sample). Also reported are Māori data from the 2001, 2007 and 2012 surveys to identify trends over time.

New Zealand Treasury Guest Lecture Series: Measuring Māori wellbeing.

Durie, M. (2006)

Discusses aspects of Māori wellbeing and how to measure it. Presents a framework for measuring, incorporating 3 levels of wellbeing – individual, whānau, and population. Also discusses a matrix of outcomes, including wellbeing aspects of connection to culture, te reo and land.

Oho mauri: cultural identity, wellbeing, and tāngata whai ora/motuhake : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Pere, L. M. (2006). (Thesis, Massey University)

This study seeks to understand the experience of mental illness from the perspective of those it affects most- the consumer. In order to test the assumption that mental health depends as much on culture and identity as psycho-biology, Oho Mauri examines the worldviews of 17 Indigenous people – Māori - who have had experience of mental illness.

Te oranga hinengaro - Māori mental wellbeing: results from the New Zealand Mental Health Monitor & Health and Lifestyles Survey

Russell, L., & Health Promotion Agency. (2018)

Te Oranga Hinengaro uses Māori mental health data from three population surveys to highlight findings about whanaungatanga, and belonging, cultural connectedness and reconnection, and cultural identity for Māori mental wellbeing.

Te Kaveinga: Mental health and wellbeing of Pacific peoples: Results from the New Zealand Mental Health Monitor & Health and Lifestyles Survey

Ataera-Minster, J., & Trowland, H. (2018)

Te Kaveinga presents results from the New Zealand Mental Health Monitor and the Health and Lifestyles Survey related to the mental health and wellbeing of Pacific peoples. Published by the Health Promotion Agency, Te Kaveinga is the first in-depth analysis of Pacific mental health using a nationally representative dataset since Te Rau Hinengaro, New Zealand’s last Mental Health Survey. Overall, the findings show that Pacific adults experience psychological distress at higher levels than non-Pacific adults. The findings also tell us that Pacific  peoples report high levels of wellbeing and family wellbeing, and are well connected socially and culturally.

Flourishing, positive mental health and wellbeing: how can they be increased? International Journal of Leadership in Public Services

Norriss, H. (2010). 6(4), 46–50. 

The author (who is a former MHF member of staff) outlines the view of mental health in New Zealand, and presents an overview of factors that will influence this in the future, arguing that leadership is required to further a nation's positive mental health. Recent analysis is then presented on the concept of ‘flourishing’ in people and communities and how this has explored positive states of experience and functioning. The personal and social benefits that this approach can give as part of a full spectrum approach to mental health are considered. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand proposes a range of potential activities as examples that could contribute to an increase of flourishing and positive mental health in the wider New Zealand population.

Five Ways to Wellbeing: The evidence: A report presented to the Foresight Project on communicating the evidence base for improving people’s well-being. 

Aked, J., Marks, N., Cordon, C., & Thompson, S. (2008). Connect... take notice... be active... keep learning... give: 

The New Economics Foundation is a people-powered think tank. It works to build an economy where people take control. This report documents the evidence base for each of the five ways to wellbeing.

Good for your soul? Adult learning and mental well‐being. International Journal of Lifelong Education

Field, J. (2009).  28(2), 175–191

This paper provides a background analysis of research into the relationship between adult learning and wellbeing. It notes that there is a general paucity of rigorous research that focuses specifically on this topic. Studies covered in the review include both those which examine the effects of adult learning upon factors that are directly relevant to wellbeing (such as self-efficacy, confidence, or the ability to create support networks), and those that address factors that are indirectly associated with wellbeing, such as earnings or employment. It argues that evidence from current research suggests that adult learning appears to have a positive, albeit qualified, effect on attitudes and behaviours that affect people’s mental wellbeing.

Learning for life: Adult learning, mental health and wellbeing.

Robotham, D., Morgan, K., & James, K. (2011).

Learning and education can affect mental health and wellbeing. A partnership between Northamptonshire Teaching Primary Care Trust and Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning Service resulted in the Learn 2b programme; a series of community-based adult learning courses for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

Giving leads to happiness in young children. 

Aknin, L. B., Hamlin, J. K., & Dunn, E. W. (2012). PLoS ONE, 7(6), e39211.

The study finds that before the age of two, toddlers exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves. Further, children are happier after engaging in ‘costly giving’’ - forfeiting their own resources - than when giving the same treat at no cost.

Volunteering predicts happiness among older Māori and non-Māori in the New Zealand health, work, and retirement longitudinal study. 

Dulin, P. L., Gavala, J., Stephens, C., Kostick, M., & McDonald, J. (2012). Aging & Mental Health, 16(5), 617–624. 

This study provides evidence that volunteering is related to increased happiness, irrespective of ethnicity. It also provides evidence that the relationship between volunteering and happiness is moderated by economic resources. Older individuals at the low end of the economic spectrum are likely to benefit more from volunteering than those at the high end.

Wellbeing literacy: A language-use capability relevant to wellbeing outcomes of positive psychology interventions

Oades, L. G., Ozturk, C., Hou, H., & Slemp, G. R. (2020). The Journal of Positive Psychology, 0(0), 1-5

Wellbeing literacy is a capability, rather than a positive psychology interventions per se. Wellbeing literacy may provide novel ways to consider two key challenges to positive psychology interventions justified by randomised controlled trials: (1) the problem of generalizability of skills and knowledge claims across contexts; and (2) the problem that gains from interventions are not sustained. 

Focus on Generosity – a discussion paper series – Community Research.

These NZ papers examine the benefits that stem from generosity for givers, receivers and the community as a whole.

A qualitative study into Pacific perspectives on cultural obligations and volunteering

Tamasese, T. K., Parsons, T. L., Sullivan, G., & Waldegrave, C. (2010).

This research explored Pacific people’s motivators and barriers to volunteering, and the relationship with their cultural obligations. It includes a series of “projects of pride” to illustrate each Pacific group’s perspective.

An overview of mindfulness-based interventions and their evidence base

Mental Health Foundation. (2011).

This paper reflects on the merits of mindfulness to enhance our wellbeing, looks at mindfulness-based interventions, and the application of mindfulness in our education system.

Mindfulness in education: Evidence base and implications for Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

Mental Health Foundation. (2012).

This paper looks at what mindfulness is, how it works, mindfulness-based interventions, and evidence.

Let’s get physical report. 

Edmunds, S., Biggs, H., & Goldie, I. (2013).

This UK report explores the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2013, physical activity and wellbeing.

Green prescription active families survey report: 2016. 

Research New Zealand. (2016).

This report presents the findings of the eighth survey in an on-going monitor of participants in the Green Prescriptions Active Families (Active Families) programme. As in previous years, the survey sought the views of participants about how well the programme worked for their child and family. Contains statistics.

Does social connectedness promote a greater sense of well-being in adolescence over time? 

Jose, P. E., Ryan, N., & Pryor, J. (2012). Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(2), 235–251.

The results suggest that youth who reported higher levels of social connectedness at one point in time would subsequently report higher wellbeing (i.e., life satisfaction, confidence, positive affect, and aspirations).

Evaluation of Know Your Neighbours: An initiative of Lifewise & Takapuna Methodist Church [executive summary]. 

Metzger, N., Myers, A., & Woodley, A. (2012).

Findings suggest that Know Your Neighbours has contributed to creating stronger, connected and more inclusive neighbourhoods in North Shore communities. This includes increased feelings of safety and community (93 per cent) and a reduction in reported burglaries. Local street and neighbourhood events have contributed to residents’ feelings of wellbeing.

Social relations, health behaviors, and health outcomes: a survey and synthesis: social relations and health. 

Tay, L., Tan, K., Diener, E., & Gonzalez, E. (2013). Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 5(1), 28–78.

This analysis revealed that social relations are beneficial for health behaviours such as chronic illness self-management and decreased suicidal tendency. The salutary effects of general measures of social relations (e.g. being validated, being cared for, etc.) on health behaviours are weaker, but specific measures of social relations targeting corresponding health behaviours are more predictive. There is growing evidence that social relations are predictive of mortality and cardiovascular disease, and social relations play an equally protective role against both the incidence and progression of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, evidence was mixed for the association between social relations and cancer.

Te Whare Tapa Whā

Māori health models - Te Whare Tapa Whā

(2017). Ministry of Health NZ

The four cornerstones (or sides) of Māori health are whānau (family health), tinana (physical health), hinengaro (mental health) and wairua (spiritual health).

Rebuilding a ‘whare’ body of knowledge to inform ‘a’ Māori perspective of health

Heaton, S. (2015). MAI Journal, 4(2), 164–176

This article explores and expands the discourse around the whare tapa whā which has been depicted in New Zealand curricula and in educational literature as a contemporary Māori model of health, as a Māori perspective of health, as a Māori philosophy of hauora and as a four-sided meeting house.

Whare Tapa Whā: A Māori model of a unified theory of health

Rochford, T. (2004). Journal of Primary Prevention, 25(1), 41–57

Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have suffered social and economic deprivation as a result of colonisation. Māori suffer worse health then their Pākehā (non- Māori) cohort. Māori are using their traditional worldview to develop a model of health that can be used as a holistic or unified theory of health. The model, Whare Tapa Wha, can be used as clinical assessment tool. The model is part of Māori seeking to regain control over our health services. It has supported the development of a Māori health sector, which has led to gains in both health and community development.


Connection to wider whanau is crucial for Māori wellbeing

Myftari, E. (2015)

Telling a coherent, elaborate, and meaningful life story is a vital part of adolescent narrative identity development and of psychological well-being. The current research investigated the development of three levels of personality (narrative identity, dispositional traits and characteristic adaptations) for Māori adolescents in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Ngā Hua a Tāne Rore: The Benefits of Kapa Haka

Pihama, L., Tipene, J., & Skipper, H. (2014)

Kapa haka contributes to many aspects of NZ’s cultural, social and economic contexts. One of the many  components of kapa haka is its link to culture and Māori identity and whanaungatanga, the importance of people and connectedness. Waka ama plays a similar role. 

Manaaki Tāngata - The Secret to Happiness: Narratives from Older Māori in the Bay of Plenty

McDonald, M. (2016)

A Māori view of happiness includes various dimensions of connection: “happiness is viewed in a holistic way that enhances ‘mana’ and promotes a meaningful existence through Mana Atua A connection and commitment to the larger universe; Mana Tūpuna – Strengthened genealogical relationships; Mana Tangata – Realisation of human potential and Mana Whenua – Harmonious integration and unity with the environment. 

COVID-19 related

Social isolation during COVID ‐19 lockdown impairs cognitive function

Ingram, Hand, & Maciejewski, 2021

This study considered the effects of COVID-19-induced social isolation on cognitive function within a representative sample of the general population. Social isolation that became necessary for many during lockdowns has adverse effects on cognitive function. 

AUT Policy Observatory has curated lists of New Zealand COVID-related research in their Covid Research Notes.

COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Survey

Ministry of Health. (2020). of Health NZ

The COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Survey provides information about how New Zealanders have been impacted by COVID-19.

Protecting and promoting mental wellbeing: Beyond COVID-19

Poulton, R., Gluckman, P., Menzies, R., Bardsley, A., McIntosh, T., & Faleafa, M. (2020). Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures.

Discussion paper from the Koi Tū ‘The Future is Now’ Conversation Series, Protecting and Promoting Mental Wellbeing: Beyond COVID-19, focuses on mitigating the threats posed by COVID-19 to the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders.

COVID-19: Insights Tracker: Interactive Dashboard

Perceptive Group. (2020)

A weekly COVID-19 Insights Tracker and interactive dashboard which gives a glimpse into what New Zealand organisations are thinking and feeling during the coronavirus crisis.

Life in lockdown: The economic and social effect of lockdown during Alert Level 4 in New Zealand

Prickett, K. C., Fletcher, M., Chapple, S., Doan, N., & Smith, C. (2020)

In March 2020, New Zealand completed a 48 hour transition to an Alert Level 4 lockdown, a state which severely restricted people’s movement and their social interactions in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19. To examine the effects of lockdown on economic and social wellbeing in New Zealand, the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of Families and Children and the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies conducted a survey between April 15-18. 

The impact of lockdown on health risk behaviours

Health Promotion Agency (2020)

Results from a survey of alcohol, tobacco and gambling use during the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown.

Short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a nationwide lockdown on institutional trust, attitudes to government, health and wellbeing

Sibley, C. G., Greaves, L., Satherley, N., Wilson, M., Lee, C., Milojev, P., Bulbulia, J., Osborne, D., Milfont, T. L., Overall, N., Houkamau, C., Duck, I., Vickers-Jones, R., & Barlow, F. (2020). [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. 

This study investigates the immediate effects of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 by comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before (Npre-lockdown = 1003) and in the two weeks following (Nlockdown = 1003) the lockdown. It examines two categories of outcomes: (1) institutional trust and attitudes towards the nation and government, and (2) health and wellbeing. 

He oranga hou: Social cohesion in a post-COVID world

Spoonley, P., Gluckman, P., Bardsley, A., McIntosh, T., Hunia, R., Johal, S., & Poulton, R. (2020). Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures

Discussion paper from the Koi Tū ‘The Future is Now’ Conversation Series, looking at societal resilience and the impact of Covid-19 on New Zealand’s social cohesion.

Covid-19 coronavirus: Prejudice against Asians in NZ lower than elsewhere, study finds

Tan, Lincoln. (2020, June 23). NZ Herald

Discusses a Massey University study about discrimination and Covid-19.

New Zealand Asian mental health & wellbeing report 2020: A snapshot survey

Zhu, A. (2020). Asian Family Services

This study shows the impact of Covid on the Asian community in New Zealand. Also includes findings about discrimination.

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Reconnect with someone you care about / He hononga tangata, he hononga aroha


When life gets busy it’s easy to forget to check in with the people in our lives, butwe know connection is important for our wellbeing. Having a kōrero with others nurtures our relationships and helps us to feel happy, connected and secure.
Over time, these chats help us to understand each other better and ensure we have people we can count on when times are tough. Today we encourage you to reconnect with someone you care about. Whether it’s with whānau, friends, hoamahi/colleagues, iwi or community, a little chat can go a long way.

A few ideas for reconnecting:

  • Check in with whānau you haven’t spoken to in a while. Have a chat on the phone, send them a text or catch up kanohi ki te kanohi/face to face if you can. Ask them how they’re going and really listen.

  • Write a letter or email to your whānau sharing what you appreciate about them.
  • Look back through your photos and share a happy memory to reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with.

  • Have a think about whether there is someone in your life who may be going through a tough time. Take time to kōrero and ask them how they are, empathise and listen. You can find more support for how to have a safe and supportive kōrero on page 16 of the Mental Health Awareness Week guide.





Get outside in nature with someone / E puta ki te taiao


It’s often the little things that bring us joy. The singing birds, the grass beneath our feet, the wind on our faces. Kōrero doesn’t have to happen indoors. Today we encourage you to get outside in nature with someone else. Take a moment to chat about the things that support your wellbeing and appreciate the beauty around you. You might be surprised by what you notice!

A few ideas for connecting in nature:

  • Have your lunch outside with a friend or hoamahi/colleague, take notice of the
    nature around you. Even if you work outdoors, it’s great to take a break and
    spend some quailty time together outside of your work space.

  • Connect with the whenua; grab some mates and get into the great outdoors - go on a bush walk, walk up your local maunga, breathe in the salty fresh air of the moana. Take time to kōrero and get to know each other whilst you’re there.

  • Head down to your local beach with a friend or whānau member and pick up any rubbish you come across. It’s a great way to spend quality time together outside and keep Aotearoa beautiful! Check out the Department of Conservation
    website for more ideas.

  • Take tamariki on a nature walk and get them to point out the things they see, smell and hear. Ask them how being in nature makes them feel. Or, head to the school field, park or your backyard and have tamariki lie on the grass and do this tummy breathing Sleeping Statues activity from the Sparklers website.

  • Have a cuppa and a kōrero in the garden with your whānau, listen to the birds, be present and enjoy each other’s company. You might like to take off your shoes and feel the grass beneath your feet.

  • Go outdoors, snap a photo of some nature that catches your eye and send it to someone to brighten their day.



Have a kōrero about Te Whare Tapa Whā/ Tōku Whare Tapa Whā


Now that we’re halfway through MHAW, why not use this day to explore your wellbeing through Te Whare Tapa Whā and have a kōrero with someone else about what you learn? Consider the four pou and think about the different ways you can boost your wellbeing.

A few ideas for exploring Te Whare Tapa Whā:

  • Learn about Te Whare Tapa Whā and its four dimensions of wellbeing. Reflect on which areas you feel are going well for you right now and which ones you need to focus on for your hauora/wellbeing. Share your thoughts with someone else.
  • If you’re in an office or shared workspace, get hoamahi together and have each corner of the room represent one of the four dimensions of Te Whare Tapa Whā. Ask them to stand in the corner of the dimension they feel is strongest for them at the moment. They might like to then share why they chose this dimension with the group.
  • Print out and fold this Chatterbox to encourage tamariki to have a kōrero about their wellbeing using Te Whare Tapa Whā.
  • Add a song to our MHAWNZ playlist on Spotify. It might be a song you love to work out to for your tinana, that uplifts your wairua, soothes your hinengaro, or a whānau favourite that you sing along to in the car!




Connect through kindness / Takohatia ki tētahi


When we do something nice for someone else, be it a friend, colleague or stranger, not only does it make them feel good, it gives our wellbeing a boost in return. Whether it’s a big gesture or just a smile, everyone has a little act of kindness to offer. Think about someone who might need some extra support right now, because today is all about giving: our time, our kindness, our aroha, our kōrero, to others.

A few ideas for spreading kindness:

  • Send a kind message to someone in your life and let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Visit a friend, neighbour or family member who could do with some company or tautoko/support. If you’re unable to visit, give them a call.
  • Volunteer your time to others in need – join a community group, pick up someone’s groceries or simply drop off a hot meal to someone who could do with a helping hand – not only will it create a moment to kōrero, it will give you and them a feel-good boost.
  • Make a kaimahi a cup of tea or bring in some biscuits and create a moment to kōrero in the lunchroom – look for opportunities to put a smile on someone’s face
  • Introduce yourself to a new parent at your child’s school, new kaimahi at your workplace or a new neighbour in your community. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them settle in.


Come together and reflect / Noho tahi, kōrero tahi


Come together with others at school, work or home, or find a moment on your own to reflect on the week just gone. Be present and take time to kōrero about the things you’ve learnt, and the wellbeing tools you’re going to continue with. What little chats have you had this week? How does connecting with others and talking openly about wellbeing make you feel?

A few ideas for reflecting together:

  • Try switching off the TV for a night and play a game with your partner or tamariki instead. You could even make music together, or just talk.
  • Organise a virtual dinner date. Set a time to eat and jump on a video call with someone else. Share kai, reflect on your weeks and chat about how you’re going to keep up the kōrero.
  • Plan a whānau activity day - create a moment to kōrero about what makes each person feel good and plan an activity that focuses on each of those things. It could be getting out in nature for a walk, cooking a favourite meal, or video calling a relative overseas. 
  • Share kōrero and kai with your team at work. Everyone bring a plate and chat about the things that you do to look after your wellbeing. If you’re working from home, have lunch and chat together over Zoom. Afterwards, have kaimahi fill in the wellbeing action plan at the end of the Mental Health Awareness Week guide to help them stay mentally healthy at work.
  • For tamariki, end the week with this How Am I Doing? activity by Sparklers. It’ll encourage them to think about their wellbeing and all of the things they already do to care for it.