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Good mental health promoted through nature

Hon Maggie Barry

Minister of Conservation
10 October 2016 Media Statement

Good mental health promoted through nature

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has encouraged New Zealanders to get outside and enjoy our special places this Mental Health Awareness Week.

“The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is Connect with Nature for health and wellbeing, and there’s nowhere better to do that than on our conservation lands,” Ms Barry says.

Through its Healthy Nature, Healthy People programme DOC is working with the Mental Health Foundation to encourage people to spend more time in nature.

On World Mental Health Day today the MHF encouraged all New Zealanders to empty out of their work places, schools and households from 12pm – 1pm to connect with the nature that surrounds us.

“There’s no doubt of the health benefits people get from the outdoors,” Ms Barry says. “Fresh air, being in and around nature is restorative and life-enriching.”

Malcolm Law, who raised $500,000 for the MHF by running up 50 of New Zealand’s peaks in 50 days is an advocate for the power of nature for restoring mental health and wellbeing.

“Mr Law is an inspiring example of the Healthy Nature, Healthy Peoplephilosophy and someone we can all look to emulate in our own way,

“This week I’d encourage everyone to enjoy our nature. DOC looks after some great places to go to relax, unwind, recharge and connect with friends and family – from picnic spots and short walks to camp grounds, day hikes and multi-day tramps.”

DOC and the MHF will look to develop their partnership further in the coming months, with new projects to improve mental health and wellbeing and benefit conservation efforts across the country.

For more on Healthy Nature, Healthy People visit

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