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The happiness of New Zealanders in Drawings

Press Release
Seize Your Moments World Tour arrives in New Zealand

International Social Arts Project to aims to discover what the happiness of New Zealand looks like as Dutch artist Janne Willems goes on a journey to discover the beautiful moments of the world, bringing her Social Arts project to New Zealand.

“Seize your moments” is an international social art project by Janne Willems, which collects beautiful moments from all over the world in order to discover what happiness looks like across the globe. The Netherlands-based artist asks everyday people to draw a beautiful moment from last week. They cheer up after such a question and start talking to each other. After collecting almost 3000 beautiful moments in Europe, Asia and Australia and giving a TEDx talk on her project, Janne touches down in the 25th country on her journey: New Zealand.
Janne will be collecting beautiful moments from New Zealand until 23 September. Most of the moments will be drawn by passengers in trains and the ferries as she travels with KiwiRail Scenic, and Interislander. The other moments will be collected on the street from passersby. After New Zealand, Janne will travel further into North and South America with the aim of collecting 1000 beautiful moments per continent, out of which she will launch a book and travelling exhibition.

Seize Your Moments World Tour - Background
During a year long journey, Janne Willems, the initiator of ‘Seize Your Moments’, investigates how beautiful moments and happiness in other cultures come around. She does this by asking people to draw a little moment of happiness from the past week. Most people cheer up after such a question and start talking to each other. It is her goal to collect 1000 beautiful moments per continent. She started her investigation in her Dutch hometown Utrecht on 6 July 2013 and has since collected in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. During her travels she has found many differences between countries and cultures, and within a country the moments in a city differ to those in the village, since the drawings reflect day-to-day life. Kathmandu for example had beautiful moments concerning the traffic in rush hour, while in Kathmandu valley the growing of the crops was being drawn. The Dutch are the only ones who like to draw receiving compliments. And you find a lot of boyfriend related moments in Belgrade. In Vietnam the amount of family related moments is extremely high.

New Zealand is at the top of happiest countries. In the world happiness report by the UN New Zealand ranks number 13 and it ranks 15th on the Gallup Positive Experience index. This makes New Zealand an interesting country to collect beautiful moments. What is the secret of the happiness of New Zealand? Do they have different beautiful moments than in other countries?

Why collecting beautiful moments?
When Janne started her studies in 2002, she experienced a breath of fresh air. All these new impressions, friendly people and joyful events and she wanted to capture them. That is why she started to initially write them down and later also draw them. It is her way of making a world with many minuses feel like a big plus. After all, these little beautiful moments happen every day – even on bad days. “Beautiful moments are like bouncing balls”, she says. When she reads or sees the ones she captured again, she relives the joy. Captured beautiful moments continue bouncing and they keep coming back, like a boomerang of positivity.”
For many years, Janne collected beautiful moments just for herself. However, at one point, she felt that the power of cherishing beautiful moments should be shared with others. That is the reason why, in 2010 Janne started the project “Seize Your Moments”. Ever since, during her daily train journeys, she approaches people and invites them to draw their beautiful moments. After having collected thousands of moments in the Netherlands, she started her World Tour in the summer of 2013.

In trains, busses and ferries
Janne’s invitation appears to have a beautifully contagious effect on train, bus and ferry passengers worldwide. “Being confronted with their beautiful moments makes people happy. All of a sudden, you see train passengers interacting and exchanging ideas about beautiful moments, and strangers who didn’t know each other before start talking. As it happens, beautiful moments don’t stop at the border of a country. Happiness is universal and I am grateful to share this with my audiences.”
Janne isn’t the only one to share. The Seize Your Moments World Tour is possible in New Zealand because KiwiRail Scenic Journeys and Interislander generously support tickets.

More information about Janne and her project can be found on or

Collecting Schedule New Zealand
Monday 8 September
Train Collecting Capital Connection
Tuesday 9 September
Train Collecting Capital Connection
Ferry Collecting Inter Islander

11-12 September
Collecting in Dunedin

15 September
Collecting in Queenstown

Friday 19 September
Train Collecting TranzAlpine

20-22 September
Collecting in Christchurch


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