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New Zealand’s first Laughter Wellness Conference

30 July 2014

“Staying well in times of adversity”, New Zealand’s first Laughter Wellness Conference 13-14 September 2014

“There is a reason why this conference is being held in this city at this time. There's no doubt about it, Cantabrians have been through a lot over the last four years and will continue to do so, as we rebuild our city, homes, businesses and lives. We know how to connect with our communities, be positive and tap into our inner strength and we want to reinforce this and keep it going, through workplaces and the community. Cantabrians are leading the way in positivity and workplace wellbeing by hosting New Zealand's first Laughter Wellness Conference.” says conference organiser Hannah Airey, Director of “Workplace Wellbeing”.

“We also want to share our city and show people just how amazing it is. We have an event planned on Saturday evening, which includes Gap Filler's internationally renowned Dance-O-Mat and Cycle Powered Cinema (, we will also give a brief tour of our city on foot - the best way to see it!”

The event focuses on positive psychology, social connectivity and community engagement, play, mindfulness, nutrition and exercise, stress relief tools and of course, laughter.

“When we laugh together we connect, ego and judgment fall away and we get a good boost of serotonin and endorphins, our ‘feel good’ hormones. In fact when we laugh, we stop our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, in their tracks and allow these chemicals (which are harmful to our bodies) to dissipate.” says Ms Airey.

Hannah Airey has been facilitating positive psychology and laughter workshops since the beginning of 2007. The Five Ways to Wellbeing is the framework which underpins the ethos of Workplace Wellbeing. Hannah is such a strong advocator of these actions, she flew to the UK for just 3 days in 2012, to attend a workshop with Nic Marks, to become a practitioner of his ‘Happiness at Work’ survey tool also related to the Five Ways. Nic is the founder of the Centre for Wellbeing, New Economics Foundation (NEF), which is a think tank the UK government commissioned to come up with the evidence based actions, to increase the population’s wellbeing in 2008, after 400 experts spent two years researching the latest findings in wellbeing.

“Connect, Take Notice, Give, Keep Learning and Be Active are five actions that support and increase our wellbeing, no matter where our starting point.

During the conference you’ll hear more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing from Carsten Grimm, Mental Health Foundation.

Gap Filler’s Coralie Winn will be presenting on “Playing in the gaps: city-making in Christchurch". Coralie says “Urban regeneration, Gap Filler style, involves volunteers, connecting with your community and exploring what it means to play in urban space. All these things have a profound effect on our wellbeing.”

Other speakers include Malcolm Robertson, Clinical Pscyhologist from Auckland University, Pat Armitstead – the world’s first Joyologist, also from Auckland. From Melbourne, Merv Neal, CEO Laughter Yoga Australasia, will be sharing the latest research conducted with Deakin University, Monash Health and Southern Health in Australia. Shalani and Bruce McCray, Directors of Live Alive, Sydney will share “The Guts of Wellbeing”. Linda Woodgate, International life coach will be offering tasters from her ‘Success of the Authentic You’ series, and Hannah Airey will also be presenting along with other locals, musician Lisa Tui Jonathan, performer Olli Ricken and Raglan musician Gareth Edwards will also have some treats in store for participants.

The conference will be held on 13-14 September 2014, at EPIC, corner of Tuam and Manchester Streets. Tickets and more information are available through, Early bird special available until 15 August 2014. Limited tickets. Pre conference workshops and post conference trainings are also available.

Proceeds from this event will be going to Lotus Community Wellbeing Trust, an organisation dedicated to delivering positive psychology and laughter workshops throughout the community to groups in need. This event is sponsored by Pegagus Health. If you are an organisation who would like to be involved in this event by sponsoring it, please contact Hannah Airey


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