Celebrating Youth Week: Tertiary Students’ Dive into Hauora Retreat 

Last week, as part of Youth Week NZ celebrations, our tertiary students embarked on a new initiative: a four-day Hauora Retreat designed to promote wellness and foster connections among our students. 

During the retreat, our students left their phones and laptops at home and immersed themselves in activities that nurture holistic well-being. We don’t just talk about hauora in a classroom—we live, eat, and breathe it.  

Each day began with an AM routine that included yoga, mindfulness training, and journaling. They practised healthy eating, engaged in daily fitness sessions, and committed to a four- to eight-week programme where they set personal hauora goals. Some goals included maintaining a morning routine, following a paleo or vegetarian diet several times a week, participating in cold water immersion, or targeted fitness training. 

Engaging in diverse activities from yoga to HIIT sessions, mindful journaling to exploring the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Well-being model, every day of the retreat was dedicated to exploring the pillars of hauora. 

One unique aspect of the retreat was the Diploma student-led presentations. Our students shared their knowledge on various topics, ranging from the Te Whare Tapa Whā model to breathwork techniques, nourishing nutrition, and habits that promote overall well-being. During these presentations, students empowered one another to prioritize self-care and mental health. 

Students were also challenged to eat a plant-based diet during the retreat and eliminate any foods that were highly processed or high in sugars—the rule of thumb was, if it wasn’t around 100 years ago, then leave it out. Cooking in groups helped them discover new recipes and ways of cooking, strengthening bonds that only sitting down together and sharing kai can create. 

The motivation behind this retreat was to equip our students with essential tools to navigate the complexities of modern life, especially as anxiety and mental health challenges rise among youth. By openly discussing wellness and providing practical tools we aim to empower them to prioritise their mental and emotional well-being. 

It was inspiring to witness the personal growth and transformation that unfolded during the four days, and to champion the well-being of our rangatahi! 

Thank you Ara Taiohi for providing a grant in support of the Hauora Retreat.