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Photo Challenge

The 2018 MHAW Wellbeing Photo Challenge has ended.

Aligning with the Maramataka and reflecting the Five Ways to Wellbeing, this year we wanted people to share with us how they see nature and how it makes them feel – out of their windows, at work and at home and everywhere in between.

The Wellbeing Photo Challenge ran for five days from 8–12 October, and New Zealanders were encouraged to head out into nature and show us what they saw and how it helped their wellbeing!

How does it work?

  1. Register for the MHAW Wellbeing Photo Challenge so we can keep you updated on the challenge launch! Daily winners will receive a Shakti Mat and a Mr Vintage MHAW tote bag worth $89. The People's Choice grand prize winner will take home a Nikon camera worth over $700! 

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

  3. Snap and share a photo based on the daily Five Ways to Wellbeing 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 Shakti Mat and a Mr Vintage MHAW tote bag at the end of the event.

    BONUS: People’s Choice grand prize winner! At the end of the five days, Nikon ambassador Esther Bunning will pick her top two photos from the five winning daily photos (plus a wildcard). A poll with three photos will be created on Wednesday, 17 October (through email and social media) for the public to pick their favourite photo and the winner will receive a Nikon camera worth over $700!

  5. Please see our prize Terms and Conditions.

MHAW Wellbeing Photo Challenge – Daily Themes

Post a picture each day using our daily theme prompt. Each day one lucky person will win a prize! 

Monday 8 October 2018 – Connect/Me Whakawhanaunga

Maramataka – Mutuwhenua

The moon phase today is called Mutuwhenua. This is the last day of the lunar cycle. We suggest today’s workplace activities focus on connecting with your tangata/people, rōpū/teams and nature to uplift your wairua/spirit and those around you.   

DAILY THEME: Post a photo on how you Connect/Me Whakawhanaunga and tell us about how it makes you feel.  

Tuesday 9 October 2018 – Keep Learning/Me Ako Tonu

Maramataka – Whiro

The moon phase today is called Whiro, meaning the new moon, the beginning of the new moon cycle and a day where activity was minimal and traditional Māori would wananga/learn. This makes it a great day to Keep Learning. 

DAILY THEME: Post a photo on how you Keep Learning/Me Ako Tonu in nature today and how it makes you feel. 

Wednesday 10 October 2018 – Take Notice/Me Aro Tonu

Maramataka – Tirea

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 mindful of what’s happening around you.

DAILY THEME: Post a photo on how you Take Notice/Me Aro Tonu in nature today and how it makes you feel. 

Thursday 11 October 2018 – Be Active/Me Kori Tonu

Maramataka – Ohoata

Today is a very good day for fishing, eeling and crayfish and a good day for planting. Today is a great day to be active! Getting outside and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing and strengthens your connection with nature.

DAILY THEME: Post a photo on how you Be Active/Me Kori Tonu in nature today and how it makes you feel. 

Friday 12 October 2018 – Give/Tukua

Maramataka – Ouenuku

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.

DAILY THEME: Post a photo on how you Give/Tukua in nature today and how it makes you feel. 


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 years old. There is no maximum age.

How many winners will there be?

There will be six 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 five days, Nikon ambassador Esther Bunning will pick her top two photos from the five daily winning photos (plus a wildcard). A poll will be created with the three 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’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 relating to the theme of ‘Take Notice’ on Wednesday, 10 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 MHF page (this is a requirement for Facebook posts but would be very helpful on Instagram and Twitter, too) and use the hashtag #MHAWNZ.  Please 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.

Need some inspiration for the daily themes?

Heading here will help you learn about the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Give and Keep Learning) so you can take some fantastic photos throughout the week

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 the 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 two photos (from the five daily winners) for the public to vote on for the People’s Choice grand prize winner.

What if I just want to do the Wellbeing Photo Challenge for fun?

Fun is key to this event and it’s why the photo challenge is back again! 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! While want you to Let Nature In, we hope you’ll focus on the ordinary, everyday nature you 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:

“The photo challenge motivated me to head outside more and to look for different things. It was enjoyable taking some time to capture the beauty of what is around us.”

“I am always curious about what I find in nature and the photo challenge enhanced that curiosity. Nature always makes me feel inspired, and at times peaceful and serene.”

“The photo competition made me get outside and look at the world with a new set of eyes.”

“Taking part in the photo challenge encouraged me to look at my surroundings rather than rush through them”

“I found that the themes for the day helped me to get out into nature and to have my eyes more open to what I might see. I made decisions about getting outdoors specifically so I could go hunting for a photo opportunity. I found the experience really positive overall - getting outdoors, taking the photo, being prompted to think and reflect, and sharing my photos and thoughts with others"


For updates about Mental Health Awareness Week


Connection to the land and roots 


Whenua is the place where you stand. It is your connection to the land – a source of life, nourishment and wellbeing for everyone.

Whenua includes soil, rocks, plants, animals and people – the tangata whenua. We are linked physically and spiritually to the land – it is the earth through which you are connected to your tūpuna/ancestors and all the generations that will come after you.

You can also think about whenua as your place of belonging – that means the spaces where you feel comfortable, safe and able to be yourself. It could be around your friends, at home with whānau, as part of a sports team or even at your place of study or mahi/work.

Why is whenua an important way to wellbeing?

Everything in the Māori world has a life force, the mauri, and when our natural resources are not looked after, this life force is weakened. This has a direct impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through the whenua:

Korihi te manu/ The bird sings

Tākiri mai i te ata/ The morning has dawned

Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea/ The day has broken

Tihei mauri ora/ Behold there is life.




Taha Hinengaro

Mental and emotional wellbeing

What is taha hinengaro?

Just like your physical health, your taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing needs to be taken care of. Taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings. It’s about how you feel, as well as how you communicate and think.

Why is taha hinengaro an important way to wellbeing?

Taking care of taha hinengaro is important for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced mental illness or distress.

When your taha hinengaro is strong, you can better cope with the ups and downs of life. You can express your feelings and reach out for support from friends, whānau and hoamahi/colleagues if you need to.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha hinengaro

Taha Tinana

Physical Wellbeing

What is taha tinana?

Taha tinana is your physical wellbeing. It is about how your body grows, feels and moves and how you care for it.
Taha tinana is just one aspect of health and wellbeing and cannot be separated from all others.

Why is taha tinana an important way to wellbeing?

Trying to nourish and strengthen your physical wellbeing will help you to cope with the ups and downs and life. Feeling physically well helps us to feel mentally well. Having strong taha tinana means we can be there for our whānau and take leadership in helping our loved ones live longer, healthier lives too.

It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes your taha tinana may not be as good as you’d like it to be, and this might be beyond your control. What’s important is that you take care of your taha tinana and do what you can to nurture it, regardless of your current physical abilities.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha tinana

• Make a commitment with your whānau, friends or hoamahi/colleagues to pick one thing you could each do to improve your physical wellbeing. It could be supporting one another to quit smoking, drinking more water, having regular lunch breaks or eating more fruits and veggies. Start small and encourage each other to keep working at it!

• Look at how accessible your surroundings are people who may be using wheelchairs or other mobility supports to get around. Visit www.beaccessible.org.nz for more information on how you can make life easier for people living with a disability.

• Make physical activity fun and social. Get the whole whānau together for a walk after dinner, hold a whānau dance-off, play tag with your tamariki after school or kura, take a bike ride to your favourite park for a picnic with a friend or try out an online yoga or tai-chi course.

• Challenge yourself and set a goal! Ever wanted to run a half-marathon? Start slow and build up from a walk, to a jog to longer bursts of running. If running isn’t your thing there are heaps other activities you could try – swimming, waka ama, dancing – choose something that makes you feel your best!

• Try a body scan meditation. Notice where you might be holding tension and learn how to breathe deeply and release the tension from your body. This is a great practise to do at the end of the day.

• Been to the doctor lately? If not, you might like to consider visiting your local GP or hauora for a general check-up. It’s also a good time to ensure you’re up to date on things like free screening programmes.

• Take time to learn about any health issues that may run in your whānau and what steps you can take to prevent or manage it.

• Kai nourishes your body. Take some time to prepare some healthy meals for the coming week. Check out YouTube for recipe ideas and demonstrations. You could hold a MasterChef competition with friends or whānau!

Taha Whānau

Family and social wellbeing 

What is taha whānau?

Taha whānau is about how who makes you feel you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with.

 Whānau is about extended relationships – not just your immediate relatives, it’s your friends, hoamahi/colleagues, your community and the people who you care about. Everyone has a place and a role to fulfil within their own whānau and whānau contributes to your individual wellbeing and identity.

 Why is taha whānau an important way to wellbeing?

 Spending time with whānau, doing things for them and getting involved gives you a feeling of purpose, connection and wellbeing. It benefits you and builds the strength of your whole whānau. As a core source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in your wellbeing.

 Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha whānau


Taha Wairua

Spiritual Wellbeing 

What is taha wairua?

Taha wairua explores your relationship with the environment, people and heritage in the past, present and future.

Your spiritual essence is your life force – your mauri. This is who and what you are, where you have come from and where you are going.

The way people view wairua can be very different. For some, wairua is the capacity for faith or religious beliefs or having a belief in a higher power. Others may describe wairua an internal connection to the universe. There is no right or wrong way to think of or experience wairua, but it is an important part of our mental wellbeing.

As part of exploring your way to wellbeing we encourage you to think about what wairua means to you and the things you can do to strengthen your wairua.

Why is taha wairua an important way to wellbeing?

Feeling comfortable in your identity, values and beliefs helps you feel secure in who you are and what you stand for. When you are content with yourself it is easier to cope with challenges, build strong whānau relationships and discover the things that uplift you.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha wairua