Initiative teaches mindfulness to rangatahi in schools

By Mare Haimona-Riki

A programme teaching mindfulness in primary and intermediate schools across the country is giving rangatahi across the motu, the skills to navigate everyday life.

The Pause, Breathe, Smile initiative is Southern Cross’s flagship social responsibility programme and is trying to reach half a million tamariki aged 5-12, equipping them with the practical tools to overcome stress within their lives.

“We are living in quite stressful times, and it’s having an impact on all of us but especially our tamariki,” programme advocate Rawiri Hindle says.

“So the programme is looking at ways we can monitor our own ability to be calm through breathing, especially when we are upset, anxious, angry, and giving us other ways to deal with those things.”

With 73% of parents of young children worried about their coping abilities, this initiative is a welcome addition to the classroom which is helping students (and teachers) learn the basics of mindfulness, gratitude, and resilience while incorporating the Māori holistic wellbeing model, Te Whare Tapawhā.

“It’s important that all the aspects of our hauora are considered in our approach to helping our tamariki  – Our social, physical, mental, and physical wellbeing.”