Wellbeing focus of Conservation Week

New Zealanders are being encouraged this week, which is Conservation Week/ Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa, to boost their health and wellbeing by looking at and connecting with nature through new eyes. “As we work together to defeat Covid-19, many of us are looking at life and our world with different perspective,” says Lou Sanson, the Director General of The Department of Conservation (DoC), which leads the annual event from August 15 – 23. “Papatūānuku’s wellbeing is our wellbeing. Take a little time in nature for your wellbeing, and if you can, give a little back to nature for its wellbeing.”

Walking your dog is a great way to get out and appreciate nature

Many Kiwis, says Mr Sanson find solace in their daily exercise, engaging with nature through visits to their local parks, beaches and waterways. “Although we have to limit contact with each other during periods of lockdown, for many of us, nature is helping us through a pretty unusual time.” HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi says conserving our environment is central to our holistic health – social, economic, physical, cultural and spiritual wellbeing. “While very challenging, Covid-19 is a portal of learning through which we should advance to a new paradigm of humanity being inextricably one with the environment. “In this new reality, all human activities –economic and commercial included, and our relationship to each other as fellow world citizens, should be harmoniously achieved within the sustainability capacity of Papatūānuku -Mother Nature. This is the only choice, if we are to survive, thrive and flourish as a national and global community,” adds Mr Tu’itahi.

Soak up nature from the comfort of your balcony if you can’t get out and about

“With Tāmaki Makaurau going through the stresses of a renewed outbreak of Covid-19 cases, Conservation Week is a fantastic opportunity for us to get out in to nature and keep ourselves, our whānau and aiga (family) both physically and mentally healthy,” says Cllr Alf Filipaina, chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee. All activities must be done safely and sensibly, and in line with Covid-19 Alert Level rules. People enjoying time in nature should stay within their bubbles and ensure they maintain social distance from others. If you can’t get out, DoC is also inviting you to immerse yourself virtually or in local spaces if you can. Click here for some great nature experiences on its digital channels.