Touch rugby tournament held to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week
A rare day of sunshine reflected the mood at a community celebration for Mental Health Week.
A day of touch rugby games, stalls with free food and drinks, and fun activities for children was held in Hawera on Thursday to share this year's message of connecting with nature.
The day began with a rousing kapa haka performance from the youngsters of Te Kotahitanga (which translates as 'the unity'), then the first of a day's worth of touch games began.
Michal Caldwell, from Pathways Taranaki, said she was enjoying watching the camaraderie amongst the tournament participants.
"It's good to normalise mental health and wellness, and that it is ok to ask for help and that there are people out there to help you, especially for the young people."
The event was organised by Tui Ora, Sport Taranaki, Pathways, Progress To Health, Te Ara Pae Trust and Ngati Ruanui, with volunteers from the Rapid Relief Team providing food.
Eight or nine teams from health organisations and businesses had entered the touch tournament.
One of the people enjoying a day playing in the Sport Taranaki/Taranaki Retreat combined team was UK traveller Phil Carson who had been volunteering at the Taranaki Retreat.
"I've been working at the retreat putting up a shed, and they asked me if I wanted to come and play touch rugby," he said.
Hannah Kelly of Sport Taranaki was all smiles.
"It's going so well, the turnout is awesome, people are having fun, getting fresh air and the main thing is Hāwera has put on the sunshine."