Ecosanctuary setting for film

The wilds of Orokonui Ecosanctuary lent themselves to a short film this week on the importance of a holistic approach to mental health.

The theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, from September 23 to 29, was "Explore Your Way to Wellbeing" in five different ways: giving, being active, continuing to learn, connecting and "taking notice".

The group Mental Health Awareness Dunedin contacted high schools, tertiary institutes and alternative education providers in Dunedin to find people interested in creating a #Fiveways movie, created and edited over several days.

King's High School pupil Taumana Pene and Kokiri Training Centre kaiako (tutor) Tama Samuel acted in the clip, which was based on a stressed family's trip to the ecosanctuary, and were also creative directors, collaborating with film-makers from NHNZ.

Cast and crew of a short film created for Mental Health Awareness Week  (from left) NHNZ crew...
Cast and crew of a short film created for Mental Health Awareness Week (from left) NHNZ crew members Ora Simpson, Berenice Mathieu and Tom Koykka, Orokonui educator Tahu Mackenzie, Kokiri Training Centre tutor Tama Samuel with his daughter Isabella (3), actor and Kokiri student Lisa Candace Obbeek and her daughter Billie Ellison (5), King’s High School pupil Taumana Pene (17) and his younger brother Kaiahi Waititi (8) stand outside the skink enclosure at Orokonui. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Taumana said he felt "pretty happy to have been a part of this kaupapa".

"As a rangatahi [younger generation] Maori male, I fall into the group most represented for suicide in New Zealand.

"As a people who recognise people as being the most important thing - this is an exceptionally important issue to us all. "

During the filming he was able to think about how the five ways to wellbeing applied to himself, he said.

Connecting with his culture, being active everyday, taking notice of his siblings, learning new skills and giving to others - whether it was time, attention or something else he had to give - would help with his overall wellbeing.

Orokonui educator Tahu Mackenzie, who appears in the film and helped to workshop ideas, said she was "honoured and privileged to be asked to take part" and often worked with therapeutic groups at the ecosanctuary.

"I really love the `take notice' one ... It's about seeing the beauty of everything around us."

The ecosanctuary had also offered discounted "Forest Bathing" during the week, she said.

The Dunedin City Council and Southern District Health Board were also involved with the production of the clip, which is available to view on YouTube.

Add a Comment