Healthy Nature Healthy People initiative
Healthy Nature Healthy People aims to encourage and enable Kiwis to connect with nature to maintain and improve their health and wellbeing.
Healthy Nature Healthy People is based on four principles:
- Protected areas nurture healthy ecosystems
- Community wellbeing depends on healthy ecosystems
- Contact with nature is essential for improving emotional, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing
- Protected areas are fundamental to economic growth and thriving communities.
Nature encompasses all parts of the natural world: land, water, sky and sea.
Research tells us that contact with nature enhances general wellbeing; people with access to natural settings are healthier overall and have increased levels of life satisfaction.
Green and blue spaces help communities thrive.
Nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime (Mental Health Foundation 2016, see www.mentalhealth.org.nz).
DOC and the Mental Health Foundation partner to raise awareness about the positive effects of spending time in nature for your mental health and wellbeing.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in November 2015. It forms the basis of our enduring relationship and a commitment to work together. We look for ways to amplify and promote the importance of nature for the mental health and wellbeing of people.
Value of connecting with nature
There are many amazing wild and natural places in New Zealand for people to visit and enjoy. Personal experiences and connection with nature on a regular basis provide, amongst other things, powerful benefits for people's health and wellbeing.
Connecting with nature has been shown to improve concentration, emotional functioning as well as buffering against stress, lowering cortisol levels (flight or fight response) and improve the immune system. It significantly improves mood, enhances wellbeing and provides greater life satisfaction.
If you would like to discover more about the Healthy Nature Healthy People initiative or explore opportunities to get involved in it, we’d love to hear from you.