WIO Ways to Wellbeing

by Bree Arnott

During our time of lockdown, most of you will be finding it a bit harder to do the things you would normally do to take care of yourself. I know that for most of the team at Whenua Iti Outdoors (WIO), that is most certainly true, given our love of the outdoors! But there are still lots of things we can do from home to look after our wellbeing. 

Hopefully you are already familiar with the ” 5 WAYS TO WELLBEING” that are encouraged by the Mental Health Foundation. We thought it would be a good idea to share how you and your whānau can still apply the same ideas during Lockdown, with a Whenua Iti twist, of course. 

Enter our super-instructors at WIO who have come up with some great ideas to get you through your lockdown experience with your wellbeing intact! Our team are also putting together a few videos for you to watch and enjoy which takes you through some positive steps you can take during your time at home. 


The Supermarket Adventure

While we are asked to stay at home, we are still able to leave the house for two things. To get food and to exercise. Why not combine both? Grab a pack and if you live close by, why not take the long way to the supermarket. Walk down a road you wouldn’t normally, spot some teddy bears perhaps? If you live a long way from a supermarket, this adventure will certainly help keep you active. Walking is so good for your health, walking with a little weight on your back is great for your fitness. Remember to keep your 2m distance if you pass anyone on the way, and to give them a smile and a wave! 

For other ideas on how to stay active and stay well, have a look at All Right? – an online resource divided into subjects such as parenting and whānau, workplace wellbeing, te ao Māori and identity and culture, and offers written articles, tips, questionnaires, activities and games delivered in a range of formats. This is a great tool to help us get through, together.



Thankfully, with modern technology, there is no barrier to staying connected with our loved ones during this time. Why not call one of your kaumatua that you haven’t spoken to for a while? You could find out something you never knew about them. Like when they first fell in love, or how they used to get to school. You will feel connected and so will they.  



Manaakitanga is one of our founding principles at Whenua Iti, and means that we show respect, generosity and care for others. Joni Tomsett, one of our fabulous team of instructors, looks at how the simple act of giving – in particular our words, and our time – can foster manaakitanga in our relationships with friends and whānau. There are lots of ways that we can give at this time. Whether it’s a shout across the fence to our neighbour, a card in their letterbox or a phone call to a friend, a little aroha will go a long way. 


A great way to centre yourself, is to step outside and take notice. In this video, Joni takes you through a couple of her favourite activities that help her maintain her wellbeing, especially if she’s feeling a bit stressed. One is called ‘The Five Things’. Step outside and tune in to what’s around you, and think of 5 things that you are grateful for in that moment. It could be the love you get from your whānau, or it could be the taste of chocolate! No matter how small they might seem just focus on those 5 things. Her other great tip is when you ‘Drop Anchor’. Head outside, breathe deeply and focus on your senses, and take notice of the world around you. Thanks Joni!

There are lots of things to take notice of in the changing seasons too, such as the falling leaves, and their amazing colours. Our instructor Adrienne suggests you could create your own mandela design using colours from nature. Or you could walk your backyard and collect fallen leaves for your garden. In this way you nourish yourself with a little fresh air as well as the soil for the spring to come.


One of the Ways to Wellbeing which is at the core of what we do at Whenua Iti, is to Keep Learning. Helen is a wonderful gardener, and has kindly shared her knowledge of using mulch, so that we can all learn to do something quite simple in our gardens that will not only grow us some wonderful veges, but also grow our sense of kaitiakitanga (guardianship, taking care of) the whenua (land). These are all principles that we hold dear. Hopefully you can share this with your friends and whānau too.

There are lots of ways we can keep learning. Maybe it’s time to learn to weave that kete you’ve always wanted to, or look outside in your garden and find the names of those birds that keep visiting? Why not have a look at some of our Go Wild Challenges and learn a few knots for your next outdoor adventure? Better yet, share your learning with your whānau and you can all learn together.

Remember to take of yourself, and each other during your time at home. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Whenua Iti Outdoors! 

Noho ora mai. He waka eke noa.


For further information on wellbeing during Covid-19, have a look at All Right?, head to the Mental Health Foundation who have a page on the top tips to get through, or the Ministry of Youth Development webpages. All of these sites offer great sets of resources and advice.

Want to find out more about a programme or have a question for us? Talk to one of our friendly team - we're happy to help.