Exercise project also a fundraiser

University of Otago students (from left) Te Kahurangi Skelton (22), Tasha Burton (23), Nick...
University of Otago students (from left) Te Kahurangi Skelton (22), Tasha Burton (23), Nick Parata (21) and Lisa van Halderen (32) are exercising for 31 minutes every day during May, to raise funds for Youthline. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Te Kahurangi Skelton is amazed at how easy it is to ensconce herself in front of a laptop and not move for hours at a time.

So the Maori science master’s student and 15 fellow University of Otago Te Koronga Maori research excellence programme students have banded together to kill two birds with one stone — get some exercise and raise money for Youthline.

She said a lot of their research was about the wellbeing of the community and how to keep it flourishing.

A lot of time was spent talking about what could be done to improve things such as mental health in the community, but less time was actually spent doing it, she said.

"We’re walking the talk and actually doing it — doing the do-ey.

"You can sit in the offices and talk about it all day, but we thought it was time to go out and actually apply those notions of wellbeing."

The group signed up to Walk the Talk, to raise money in a bid to help make a difference for young people who are struggling with their mental health, she said.

Every year, thousands of young New Zealanders reach out to Youthline for support during some of the toughest moments of their lives.

Young people reaching out to the organisation for support, spend an average of 31 minutes chatting to a Youthline counsellor online.

"That’s why for every day in May we’ll be exercising for 31 minutes to help raise awareness and much-needed funds to let young people know they aren’t alone."

She said the group had been exercising by playing Ki o Rahi (a traditional Maori ball game), running, swimming, cycling, dancing and even jazzercise.

"It’s very varied. It’s great for our own mental health."


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