Back to top anchor

Brought to you by Te Whatu Ora Southern and WellSouth primary health network

Open main menu Close main menu

$52k boost for Southern Lakes mental wellbeing initiatives this summer

Issue date:

An extra $52,000 is being invested in initiatives to improve mental wellbeing across Southern Lakes communities this summer.

Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group has supported 54 groups via its latest Connecting Communities funding round, with each receiving up to $1,000 to help facilitate community-led activities.   

Recipients included the Fiordland Community Kai volunteering initiative, Age Concern’s brain health seminar for over 65s, Cromwell Community House Christmas BBQ for vulnerable older residents, LUMA wellbeing workshops for schools, Happiness House gardening group materials, MINT Trust’s music therapy workshop for Central Otago people with intellectual disabilities, and Head Light Trust’s ‘Let's Chalk about Mental Health Queenstown’ project, as well as various cultural get-togethers and community Christmas events.  A full list is available online.

Adell Cox, Chair of the Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, was delighted to see another surge of fresh ideas in this round, particularly from cultural groups across the region.

“It’s wonderful to see different cultures focusing on how they can bring their communities together and support each other in a way that works uniquely for them. But there are still common themes around celebrating diversity, welcoming newcomers to the region, forming stronger networks, and creating forums to openly discuss issues that affect their mental health and wellbeing.

“We’re also thrilled to support more Māori hauora initiatives in this round including three free hui for men's hinengaro/mental wellbeing in Queenstown and a Te Ao Māori workshop which builds on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, Te Whare Tapa Wha and Dr Rose Pere’s principles,” said Ms Cox.

Laura Johnstone, the Community Family Worker at Fiordland Community House, says their funding will be used to purchase outdoor games and activities which can be used at community events and by groups throughout the year.

“The games will be invaluable as a way of encouraging people to connect, give activities a go, and have some fun together. There’s also potential to lend items to businesses for team building and workplace wellbeing activities in exchange for a donation to the community food bank.”

Kahu Youth Trust manager Anna Sutherland says they’ll be putting their funding towards a welcome event at the new youth space at Lake Hāwea Community Hall on Friday 9 December.

“It’s a great way to bring the community together, build connections and create a sense of belonging for rangatahi.  They can meet our Youth Development Workers and start building trust, knowing that these are safe adults who they can go to for support through life challenges. We’ll also be sharing information about the new drop-in service at Hāwea and our mentoring and youth development programmes.”

Te Hau Toka introduced the Connecting Communities fund a year ago as part of its efforts to combat the ongoing negative effects of COVID-19.  Since then, there have been four funding rounds, 185 recipients and nearly $180,000 injected across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Fiordland to help people improve mental wellbeing, social connection and resilience in their own communities.

The next Connecting Communities funding round is 20 February to 2 March 2023. Eligible not-for-profit groups can apply for up to $1,000 including GST to support community-focused mental wellbeing initiatives. 

For more details about the fund or other Te Hau Toka initiatives, visit